Penny has over 26 years of experience working with visually impaired people. She has worked on contracts in local authorities and education and for national and local charities. For several years she ran her own rehabilitation and training company that was nominated for several awards.
During her career, she has worked closely with several special education needs departments within the North East and has assisted many children and young people to learn essential life skills such as mobility, independent travel, and kitchen/life skills. She has also worked with young visually impaired adults looking for employment and has a wealth of knowledge and a professional network of contacts in the visual impairment field.
Penny has a passion to create innovative programmes to support children and young people grow in confidence and realise their potential.
Being part of North East Sight Matters Ltd gives Penny and the team the opportunity to utilise their skills and experience and to offer the children and young people of the North East a great chance to learn and have fun along the way.
Caroline began her career working within Social Services, from this role she developed an interest in working with and supporting people with visual impairments. Consequently, she trained and successfully qualified as a Vision Rehabilitation Officer in 1989.
For several years, Caroline then worked in Cleveland. She worked within a specialist office undertaking assessments and providing rehabilitation training for individuals with visual impairments.
In 1996 she took the opportunity to join Henshaws Society for the Blind as a lecturer delivering modules on the Diploma in Rehabilitation Studies. At this time she also formed NEVIS (North East Vision Impairment Services).
She has undertaken rehabilitation/habilitation training with visually impaired people of all ages and has delivered vision impairment awareness training to a variety of staff including social workers, occupational therapists, teachers, lecturers and care staff.
She now solely runs NEVIS and has been involved in contract work for a number of Social Services and Education Departments across the North East.
Charlotte is the most recent member of the NESM matters team, although she has supported us since the beginning. Charlotte is a teacher, currently working for Newcastle Children’s Vision Team. Prior to this, Charlotte worked as a Class Teacher in a Primary School, but her goal was always to work with children and young people with a visual impairment (CYPVI).
Charlotte’s ambition and determination to make a difference within the VI world comes from lived experience. Charlotte has a condition called Septo Optic Dysplasia, as a result Charlotte is severely sight impaired. Charlotte has faced and continues to face challenges and barriers as a result of her vision, yet she has never let this hold her back. Charlotte graduated university, going on to do her teacher training, all with the support of her Guide Dog, Berry. Charlotte has volunteered for a variety of charities which has seen her travel to Costa Rica to volunteer in a care centre for children, she continues to volunteer for Guide Dogs and was awarded ‘Young Volunteer of the Year’ in 2014.
It was through volunteering opportunities that Charlotte and Penny’s paths crossed once again. Penny and Charlotte first worked together when Charlotte was only 13 and Penny provided Habilitation Support to Charlotte as she strived to be more independent. When Penny established NESM, Charlotte was keen to support the team,. Charlotte is now officially part of the team and can’t wait to be part of NESM’s journey!
‘I am passionate about making a difference to the lives of young people with a vision impairment. I am determined to raise awareness and acceptance within a sighted world’
We create bespoke packages of Visual Impairment Awareness Training and VI-friendly private parties for children. Contact us for more details. email@example.com
Images on this sight courtesy of Neil Brinsdon Photography and Claire Batey/Comic Relief.