My award winning experience

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I am just about returning to earth from the excitement and adrenaline of last week’s London extravaganza. I was in the capital for two events, the RNIB See Differently Awards and the Sight Loss Council’s event at The Houses of Parliament where I was meeting Ministers to talk about the work of the organisation.

Photo of me receiving my award for Volunteer of the Year at the RNIB See Differently Awards ceremony.

Missing the train by 3 minutes wasn’t the start I’d planned, but thankfully an understanding member of the customer services team arranged free passage on to the next train, thank goodness! The day was close to finishing before it even started with the with the price of on the day train tickets these days.

The event at Parliament was a first for the Sight Loss Council (under Thomas Poklington trust) so it was a little nerve racking for everyone. If you’ve been, you’ll understand the feeling I felt when walking through the building, the sense of history was quite powerful. The event was held beside the river with a great view of Big Ben and the London Eye, or so I was told. About 20 MP’s and one Lord attended and over afternoon tea I spoke with the MP for Salford. I gave her an insight into our campaigns and if I helped her to look at things from a different perspective, it was well worth the journey.

Around 3.30pm we had to rush off to meet for orientation for the awards. This was an important part of the preparations as it enabled us finalists to understand what would happen if we won and to get a feel for the room which helps us manage becoming overwhelmed. There was time for a quick cup of tea and then I felt like super girl going into a phone box to spin around and come out, changed and ready for the night ahead.

The RNIB had put so much work into making the night fabulous and being in the room with all the amazing nominees was so special. Everyone there deserved recognition for what they do to support people living with sight loss, being one such person, I am very grateful. The award categories were;

Campaigner of the Year
Community Tribute of the Year
Best Social Media Impact of the Year
Team of the Year
Employer of the Year
Volunteer of the Year
Design for Everyone
Lifetime Achievement

I was a finalist for the Volunteer of the Year Award and I couldn’t believe it when my name was read out as the winner!

I am so grateful to the people who nominated me and to those who support me because without them I couldn’t volunteer and help others.

Some of the other winners who really made an impression on me included Sarah Leadbettr, who campaigned for accessible information from the government during the pandemic. I recommend you check our Claire Sisk on Tick Tock. Claire won the award for Best Social Media Impact of the Year for sharing how she lives with her visual impairment.

In the future I would love to work with Nathan Geering on a CBS project. Nathan won Community Tribute of the Year for his work to make the arts accessible to VI people. Working with the VI community, Nathan has developed the “Rationale Method of Audio Description, which assigns beat box sounds to specific dance moves and worked with a poet to add emotion to audio description. Nathan’s work sounded incredible to me, art is a part of my soul and has played a bit part in my life. I am also excited about the notion of watching a theatre production with dimensional audio description that has movement to help you get more involved in the production. He has also curated a break-dancing class that helps VI people to learn how to move and even fall through dance so that it is safer. I can’t wait for him to come to Manchester next year, watch out dance floor I will be busting the break dancing moves soon.

All in all, my London experience was very special. I felt the love from so many people, especially from my mum who accompanied me. I know she found it tiring but she stayed strong and smiley for me. So, “thanks Mum, I love you. I wouldn’t be me without you.”

All in all, my London experience was very special. I felt the love from so many people, especially from my mum who accompanied me. I know she found it tiring but she stayed strong and smiley for me. So, “thanks Mum, I love you. I wouldn’t be me without you.”

When I lost my sight, my initial thought was that I couldn’t visit London again without becoming an emotional mess. So, to go to Westminster to speak to Ministers and to receive an award and make an impromptu acceptance speech all in one day I know I have come so far on my journey. It proves for me that with a growth mindset and the right support and network change is possible. I truly believe that change is a part of life, and there is good even in what seems to be negative change at the time. It takes work and commitment but is worth every effort and setback.

Sending love and peace to you all,

Nina xxx

Through my volunteer work and my business Five Senses Therapy I help people going through and living with change. I want to help them to see that there is always a way forward, that you can lean in and find guidance, often from unexpected places and be the change you want to be, see and experience. If you want to find out more about the volunteering I do and my story you can sign up for my blogpost releases at www.blindbutsound.co.uk and if you want to work with me you can email fivesensestherapyuk@gmail.com.

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