Type of Fellowship: Specialist
Year of Fellowship: 2011
The RNIB Fellowship for a registered blind or partially sighted individual.
Update December 2012
With my active Fellowship rapidly wrapping up, I have spent the last three months juggling research, training and the increasing responsibilities of a relatively new job. Having started work at the University of the Arts London as Operations Manager for the Disability Service at the end of July, at the height of ‘2012 fever’, I have been learning new skills, the language of Higher Education and all about the provision for disabled students in the UK. Training, Development, learning and Leadership are at the heart of this new venture for me.
My research project got off to a very good start with an interview at a school in Hexham with an excellent reputation for providing an environment which promoted resilience and independence for their disabled pupils. I was welcomed and had access to several members of staff at all levels and pupils and the Resource Base too. However, I was subsequently unable to attract other similar participants and did not manage to secure myself a Research supervisor – a mix of unfortunate circumstances and prior commitments meant that those approached in both cases were not unwilling but unable to take part. I drew upon all my own resilience and independence and knuckled down to some hard, rewarding work. My project was finally completed in early December.
I undertook the Relational Dynamics coaching course for 8 days from October to December; an extremely inspiring and rewarding course. Coming right at the end of my Fellowship, I was able to participate at my most confident, gaining coaching skills as well as a deeper understanding of empowerment and leadership both in relation to myself and others. I am now proud to add an accredited coaching qualification to the raft of additional skills I have gained during my Clore Fellowship.
I have also made contact with two additional mentors who I shall continue to work with post Clore. I accepted a Trusteeship at the end of November on the executive board of You Can Do IT. This organisation provides free training for disabled people who use assistive technology on all things IT. Thousands of people throughout the UK have benefited from this training over the last 20 years, enabling them to gain employment, communicate with family and friends via electronic means and participate in voluntary and community activities.
Coaching, Action Learning and a desire to continue developing my own leadership skills and increase my confidence, empower others and share the knowledge and skills I have gained over the last two years are the legacy of my Fellowship. I aim, amongst other things, to develop a network to bring disabled people who wish to share similar skills and experience together.
I would like to thank RNIB and the Clore Social Leadership Programme for the richness and variety of opportunity and the experience I have had over the last two years.
Current principal role: Operations Manager of Disability Service
Current principal organisation: University of the Arts London
Other leadership role 1: Trustee
Other organisation 1: UCanDoIT
Other leadership role 2: Member
Other organisation 2: Disabled People's Involvement Forum ACAS
Research: Opening Doors; exploring best practice in encouraging independence and resilience in young disabled adults in mainstream schools
Research topics: Children and families; Education; Equality; Health and well-being; Young people;
Secondment host: Guide Dogs for the Blind