Sometimes having a visual impairment in a world set up for sighted people can be tough. I started losing my sight at the age of seven, and know first-hand what it’s like to face barriers, and feel upset and confused about my place in the world. But with the right support in place, things get better. Thanks to our funders, runners and supporters we are now able to reach more young blind and partially sighted people and their families.

Boys in a group - one has a guitar

 

Boys having fun playing table football

 

 

Two friends on a Look mentor week

 

We are now supporting almost 100 young people via our peer mentoring scheme. The enthusiasm, professionalism and altruism shown by our mentors never ceases to amaze me. Some young people have never met another VI person, and it can be a turning point. Over half of our staff team are blind or partially sighted, and all our volunteer mentors are VI too. We know that no one understands visual impairment better than the people who live with it every day. One of our 15 year old mentees recently said:

“Before the mentor programme, I was feeling depressed and stuck at home. Look has supported and encouraged me to make my life about me and not my blindness. 

I’m not the  only person who feels like this and now I feel less alone. Thank you for arranging this”   

Looks' Events manager Elin and her guide dog Jazzy roadtest a LOOKFest big bell tent

 

 

Doing yoga in the big barn

 

Group picnic

 

LOOK was founded by parents to support parents – connecting families is in our DNA. One thing parents always tell us is that LOOK events are a rare chance to meet other families going through similar situations. At a recent family weekend, one parent said:

“You are showing my daughter that there is life after visual impairment,” says one mum of a new mentee. She’s so much more positive now, even about using her cane!”

And it’s also really important parents get to share their struggles too:

 “I feel broken right now as I am watching my son lose his sight, and I am deeply touched to share experiences with others who have been through what I’m going through.” 

It’s easy to meet people online and lots of our mentor programme is internet based. But nothing beats spending time together. We love creating opportunities for people to connect, relax and have fun. That’s why we’re launching LOOKFest, our first-ever VI accessible summer festival. More information here and please share with anyone you think might like to join us.

So check out our News and Blogs – follow us on social media and come to our events. And if you’re up for a challenge then there’s lots of ways you can support Look – including running the London Marathon in 2020. We’ll be adding information to our website on a regular basis, so please keep in touch. Let us know of any glitches – accessibility or otherwise. The website is a work in progress, and we’ll be adding content over the coming months.

Girl playing in ball pit

 

If can’t find what you’re looking for here, then we’ll make sure to point you in the right direction. We are also part of a wider community of VI support, and are passionate about building a community where we all grow and learn together. 

Keep in touch,
Charlotte