Our Committee:

Our Chair: Andrea Scott

Photo of our Chair Andrea

I lost my sight in 2010 which has left me with no useful vision. I am a Mum, Guide Dog owner and I live locally in Stoke on Trent.  I have worked in the voluntary sector since 2011. My previous work was mainly in Customer Service.

I have been a trustee of Staffordshire Sight Loss Association since it formed in 2017 and I have held the role of Chair since early 2020. I am delighted to be part of this charity, I am very proud of how it has grown since 2018 and look forward to us being able to help lots of other people in the future. I only wish this Charity existed when I lost my sight.


Treasurer: Linda Dunn
NNEB BA (Hons) NPQICL MA.

Photo of our treasurer Linda

I live locally in Stoke on Trent and I became a trustee in 2017 when I was elected to the role of Treasurer. I had previous experience completing accounts for my husband’s business and in my career where I had overseen and managed budgets.

My career has spanned over 40 years working for Local Government in both the Education and Social Care Departments. My roles primarily were working with children pre-birth to adulthood, their families and with vulnerable people. I have worked in many roles and my later roles were as a Leader and Manager in which I have worked in partnership with many agencies and charities from the public and private sector.

I became involved with SSLA as I could see there was a gap in the provision of face to face services for visually impaired people. My own father became blind overnight after suffering a stroke.

I find volunteering for the charity highly rewarding and my skill set is transferable, so I have been able to use my many skills and abilities.

I am proud to be a trustee and volunteer at SSLA as I feel that the team provides extremely valuable services that make a lasting difference for people’s lives. We have some fantastic volunteers and it is a privilege to hear of people’s amazing journeys and be a part of their lives moving forward. I look forward to watching the organisation grow over the coming years.


Secretary: Sandra Barlow

Photo of our Secretary Sandra

I live in Stoke-on-Trent and have 2 children, I have an eye condition called Aniridia and both of my children have visual impairments. Due to this I became involved with a charity called Action for Blind People and started volunteering for them in 2014, this is where I met Staffordshire Sight Loss Association’s founder Suzanne. I later became employed by Action for Blind People before moving on to work for other organisations in the third sector, I now work for the NHS.

Suzanne and I kept in touch and I became Secretary on the board of trustees for Staffordshire Sight Loss Association in 2017. This means that I am responsible for organising Committee meetings and for making sure that accurate records of meetings are kept but I also try to help out in other ways including at events.

 

 

 


Trustee: Ian Wiltshaw

Photo of trustee Ian

In 1983 when I was 15 years old I was shot in my left eye with a bow and arrow; this blinded my left eye by detaching my retina. I later went to Queen Alexandra college for the blind in Birmingham studying woodturning and picture framing as well as business studies.

A few years later I started to develop problems with my right eye which consequently led to my being registered blind in 1992. In 1997 I started to work for the Stoke-on-Trent Workshops for the Blind and I stayed there for 17 years doing spot welding and packing in the Warehouse; it was the best time of my life until it closed down in 2013.

Around 12 months later I became a volunteer for Action for Blind People. I undertook long cane training with the Stoke- 0n-Trent City Council Rehabilitation Team whilst I was volunteering.  It was the best thing I ever did as it gave me the skills that I needed to get around independently.

Whilst at Action for Blind People I met Suzanne and in 2017 I was lucky enough to be asked if I would like to become a Trustee of Staffordshire Sight Loss Association. I told her that I would love to because it would give me the chance to try to help other people with sight loss.  I have received a lot of help from various organisations throughout my life and I would like to thank each and every one of them.

I very much enjoy volunteering for the charity, I help with administration tasks, I co-host the Triple-S show which is the charity’s radio show that airs weekly on a local Community Radio Station (Rainbow FM), I work in the Resource Centre in Hanley every Tuesday, run our monthly social group in Newcastle alongside another volunteer, I also help out at our Leek and Biddulph social groups and advice drop-ins as well as helping out at lots of other events throughout the year. We get a lot of wonderful feedback from people that the charity helps and my role is very rewarding. In 2022 I as shortlisted for a Volunteer Award at the BBC Radio Stoke Make a Difference Awards.


Trustee: Ian Knowles

I’m Ian, I’m originally from Wigan and I moved to Stoke in 2012 after meeting my now wife.

In the same year I was diagnosed with a condition called Leber Hereditary Optic Neuropathy or LHON and shortly after I was registered as Severely Sight Impaired.

Aside from my close friends and family I didn’t tell anyone about my eye condition for several years. I didn’t want to believe it was really happening.

After some turbulent years I was also diagnosed with MS and I spent some time in hospital. Whilst there I received some great support from NHS and the nurses there and this is how I discovered Staffordshire Sight Loss Association.

I started to attend social groups at the charity and getting involved with the charity has been a fantastic experience for me, meeting other people who are in a similar position to myself has really helped me and I have made some friends for life.

Being involved with SSLA and seeing the work they do and the people that they help made it an easy decision when I decided to apply to become a trustee.

Being a trustee and volunteering has given me a purpose, knowing that my part in the charity’s work, whilst I may be a small cog in a bigger machine, we are all part of a team making a real difference to people’s lives and this puts everything into perspective.


Trustee: Lisa Trickett

Information to follow


Our Staff:

CEO: Suzanne Roberts

Photograph of Service Manager Suzanne, wearing a pink Staffordshire Sight Loss t-shirt sat next to a Staffordshire Sight Loss roller banner

I live in Stoke-on-Trent with my partner and 5 year-old son Arthur. I was born in  Stoke-on-Trent but moved to Manchester in 2000 to study law at University, after studying for 4 years I stayed and worked in Manchester until around 2010 at which point I moved back to Stoke and began working for a housing association. In 2013 I got a job working for Action for Blind People, a national Charity and part of the RNIB group. I was based at their Hanley office and worked there for 4 years as an Independent Living Coordinator, which involved providing holistic one to one support services, organising and delivering confidence building courses and working with and managing volunteers.

Whilst working for the RNIB Group I was offered the opportunity to study for a Level 3 qualification in Leadership and Management and following this I was offered the role of part time Service Manager for the Action for Blind People East Midlands Team at the RNIB College in Loughborough. I continued to work as an Independent Living Coordintor in Stoke-on-Trent for 3 days each week and travelled to work in Loughborough for 2 days a week.

In 2017 I decided to leave the RNIB group following some changes to services there which would mean a reduction in local services. I set about looking into the viability of setting up a new charity that would provide in-person services chosen by the local community. I gathered together a committee of 5 other local people and as a result Staffordshire Sight Loss Association was created! In 2018 we were very proud to become a Registered Charity, this opened up funding opportunities which meant we were able to properly get started! In May 2018 we were very grateful to Seedbed Christian Charity for giving us £5000 to pay for such things as insurance and room hire costs and we were able to start to deliver some services.

I acted as the Chair of the charity from January 2018 until January 2020. This involved being involved in all aspects of running the charity, including planning and delivering services, organising events, funding applications, fundraising and governance.

In March 2020 I was appointed as Chief Exectutive Officer. Since 2018 the charity has grown from us being a group of 6 volunteers with no money and no office but a lot of ideas, passion and support to a team of 7 staff and over 30 regular volunteers, an office in Hanley, a community room, a resource centre and a multitude of community-based services. We are very proud of what we have achieved so far and we are very grateful to our funders, partners, volunteers and the local community as it would not have all been possible without every one of them.

We are very excited to see what the future holds for the charity and we are committed to ensuring that the charity’s activities are led by the needs and wants of the community and that it delivers high quality, accessible services that make a positive difference for people’s lives.


 Independent Living Coordinator: Beth Wilkinson

I joined Staffordshire Sight Loss Association as an Independent Living and Welfare Right Advisor in June 2021. I live in Newcastle-under-Lyme, and have an Undergraduate and Postgraduate degree from Keele.

I have an eye condition called Punctate Inner Choroidopathy (also known as the much-easier-to-say ‘PIC’!) in my left eye. PIC is characterised as inflammation at the back of the eye which damages the retina and choroidal layers. As a result, I have regular treatment to try and stabilise the condition, including eye injections, steroid implants and immunosuppressants.

I applied for the role with Staffordshire Sight Loss as I wanted to give back to the sight loss community who has provided endless support during my own experiences.

I have loved every minute of this role because it really is my passion to help people and sight loss is something very close to my heart.

My role is incredibly varied; one day I might be advising on PIP, the next on mobile phones, before helping to support a group trip to a ceramics festival, and then back to the office to complete grant applications, and bus pass applications, all before the end of the week. I love the variety of work, and it is always a pleasure to interact with our fantastic beneficiaries.

I feel very proud to work for SSLA, and I hope that in this role I can provide people the information and help they need to feel to feel supported, confident and empowered.


Independent Living Coordinator: Helen Dell

I was born in Harrow; Greater London and started work in 1981 working for the Dept of Health & Social Security processing and awarding sickness & incapacity benefit claims

I then relocated to Hertfordshire where I worked for both Hertfordshire County Council & Watford Borough Council providing welfare benefits advice to residents for over 15 years

I relocated to Stone in Staffordshire in 2005 with my Husband & two daughters and spent 2 years working for Age UK in Newcastle under Lyme providing an outreach project to residents to help increase the uptake of welfare benefits in the local area

My Dad also lives in Stone and is registered blind having lost his sight when he was young through an accident. He has had a total of six wonderful guide dogs over the years helping him to remain independent and mobile outdoors.

From 2008 to 2019 I worked for Staffordshire County Council in the education department dealing with school admissions and school admission appeals

I took early retirement from the county council at the end of 2019, but I was still looking for a part time role where hopefully I could use my previous work experience and meet new people too. When I was offered the part time role of Independent Living Coordinator this was the perfect opportunity to fulfil the above.

I started working at Staffordshire Sight Loss Association in May 2022, I am enjoying my new role very much and learning new skills along the way.


Administrator: Tricia Evans

I am Patricia Evans, known as Tricia, and I started working for Staffordshire Sight Loss Association at the end of May 2022 as a Customer Service and Administration Assistant. I work Monday, Tuesday and Fridays and my role mainly involves providing admin support to the team and I help demonstrate equipment to visitors of our Hanley Community Hub. You may have also met me at some of the social events or at Biddulph or Leek Social/Community Hubs.

I am married with two grown up sons and I am pleased as punch to have recently become a grandmother. I enjoy walking and like keeping busy and I like to think that I have a glass half full attitude to life.

I started my working life as a filing clerk at an Estate Agents but shortly after left to work in the Drawing Office of what was then Post Office Telephones, which later became British Telecom. I left Telecom 13 years later after having the first of my two sons. Whilst my sons were young, I worked in the evenings as a shop assistant at a wholesalers, in a local co-op and also as a Clerk in the Estates Department at Combined Healthcare. Around this time, I decided to go to college to retrain and passed NVQ2 Admin and RSA typing qualifications. I went on to work in Clerical positions for Stoke on Trent City Council in the Waste Management Dept. and later for 13 years in the office of a local primary school. I also work part-time, in a clerical capacity, for my husband’s company.

I left the primary school in October 2018 to spend some quality time with my 90-year-old mum, although she had a number of ailments she loved to get out and about with her family. In her 80’s mum had been diagnosed with Best disease, also known as vitelliform macular dystrophy, which we were told is an inherited retinal disease causing macular degeneration. My mum passed away in August 2020 and instead of flowers we had donations towards inherited sight loss research.

At the beginning of 2022 I decided that I wasn’t yet ready to be a lady of leisure, which led me to apply for the job with Staffordshire Sight Loss Association. I was thrilled when I was offered the position and thoroughly enjoy working here.


Assistive Technology Coordinator: Wayne Pugh

Information to follow


Volunteer Coordinator: Jess Ball

Information to follow