Lived experience matters

Change is on the way for me professionally which is exciting and a little nerve racking at the same time. I have accepted and start a new role next month with Visionary, an organisation that supports the sight loss sector.   
Since losing my sight my two passions have been supporting people with their wellbeing and volunteering within the VI Community, and it is important to me to keep doing both of these. So this new chapter means my therapy room will be open on a Saturday once a month so I can continue to provide massage therapy alongside my role with Visionary.

I have been involved with the sight loss community and volunteering within the sector for a few years now so becoming Project and Campaigns Coordinator for Visionary feels like an extension of what I have been doing. However, the move to employment from working for myself feels big. I have taken the step by reflecting on my values and noticed that structure and security are my top priorities right now.

Self-employment has so many benefits including flexibility and freedom to create your own goals. I have enjoyed and learnt so much from owning and running my own business, I wouldn’t even change the hard work, set-backs and challenges – and as a blind woman there are numerous additional hurdles to overcome. When you are doing it alone it can be overwhelming at times. I’ve recognised that I am in a phase of my life where I crave stability so taking this step into employment feels like the right thing to do.

Going through the application process and writing my CV was tricky as it was all so out of date! My sisters were a welcomed support with this stage of my application. Getting through to the interview stage was exciting and I started to think about what skills and experience I would bring to the role. Not at any point did I think I can’t do this job because I can’t see or that they won’t consider me because I am blind. I have never thought of my sight loss as any type of barrier, I consider it to be more of a driver. I tell my son Dylan, ‘there is always a way around, nothing is impossible’ You wouldn’t have thought a blind woman could drive a car, but Mike from Speed of Sight thought differently and made it possible. I drove an adapted rally race car for my 40th birthday, whoop!

Researching my new employer, I came across their Make Lived Experience Matter Campaign. This really sparked my interest. I think our lived experience is a big part of what we can bring to any role. Whether that is lived experience of families, health challenges, disabilities, sexual preference, race, parenting, any experience that you have learnt and grown from is a part of you and something to offer. I think organisations should consider lived experience in all roles they advertise to bring alternative perspectives into the mix in support of change and improvement. 

The aim of Five Senses Therapy is connection and in my new role at Visionary and my monthly Saturday therapy practice I continue with this mission. When we bring people together it enables learning and understanding and helps us to grow as individuals and as a whole.

In light of this professional development Five Senses Therapy will be open every fourth Saturday from 22nd April. Just head over to Fresha to view the available appointments and make a booking.

Change, whether we choose it or not, is inevitable. How we work with it is what moulds our experience. I’ll see how this latest turn in my life plays out for me.

Take care and as always if you want to share anything please do comment below or send me a message on my socials at @blind_but_sound


Nina xx 


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