About Birmingham Vision

About Birmingham Vision

Who we are

Birmingham Vision is a registered charity that works with visually impaired people and their families. Our aim is to ensure that people living with a visual impairment in Birmingham can lead active and fulfilled lives. We were established in April 2015 and are based in Birmingham City Centre.

Our dedicated team can provide the answers to your questions; signpost you to support groups, offer advice for family and carers or make a referral for you to access support from one of our partner organisations. If you or someone you know is visually impaired, we’re here to help.

What we do

We want you to get the most out of life and enjoy yourself.

Our Social Inclusion Coordinator arranges regular trips to various places in and around Birmingham, as well as holding monthly groups such as 10 pin bowling, a Pub Night and a coffee morning.

Our Sports Coordinator offers a wide range of sports and leisure activities for all ages that suit every fitness level and ability. Our sports programme is busy and varied all year round which not only serves as an opportunity to increase your fitness, but also gives you a chance to get out of the house and meet new people.

Two dedicated Eye Clinic Liaison Officers (ECLOs) work at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham and Birmingham Midland Eye Centre. You may be referred to one of them at the hospital if your sight is deteriorating or after a diagnosis, or you can request and appointment yourself. The ECLO’s are there to support you and your family.

We believe that sight loss doesn’t mean job loss. Our Employment Coordinator will support employees, employers and job seekers to access all the help and information available.

If you’re over 18 and interested in finding more about volunteering with Birmingham Vision, you can contact our Volunteer Coordinator for more information.

Image shows a group of clients stood smiling at the camera before an event.

Meet the team

Emma Cruickshank, CEO Birmingham Vision

Emma has worked within the sight loss sector for almost two decades.

She has worked in Housing, Social Care and the Voluntary Sector. She has worked at a local, regional and national level.

Shazia Begum, Volunteer Coordinator

Shazia has been working with Birmingham Vision since 2014. She has been working in the Sight Loss field for over 15 years. She is visually impaired and so understands the impact sight loss can have on people, such as social isolation, low confidence and depression.

Shazia is passionate about empowering those with sight loss to engage fully with society and build their confidence, through volunteering opportunities.

Denise McCormick, Social Inclusion

Denise joined Thomas Pocklington Trust, an organisation that support Birmingham Vision, in 2014 as a Rehabilitation Officer. She is now a Social Inclusion Co-ordinator for Birmingham Vision.

As she is visually impaired , Denise is well aware of the barriers that people living with sight loss experience on a daily basis, such as the challenges they face with socialising. She uses her experience to motivate and empower individuals to actively get out and about and participate within their local community.

Hayley Smith, Project Administrator

Hayley has been the Project Administrator for Birmingham Vision since 2017. Previously she worked for a debt advice charity.

Hayley is responsible for ensuring the office runs smoothly and also creating the newsletter and updating our website.

Hayley enjoys being the first point of contact for many blind and partially sighted people.

Zoe Bates, Employment Coordinator

Zoe started with Birmingham Vision in 2017. Her background is in recruitment and training with a well-known retailer.

Zoe has a visual impairment due to Congenital Glaucoma and is supported by her guide dog Lucky. Zoe’s role as Employment Coordinator means she supports visually impaired people who are seeking employment or to retain their job.

Zoe’s aim is to support Birmingham’s visually impaired people back into work.

Zoe provides support with CV’s, applications and cover letters. Zoe also works with companies who give advice and training for interviews and conduct mock interviews.

Russ Stephenson, Eye Clinic Liaison Officer

Russ is the Eye Clinic Liaison Officer (ECLO) at Birmingham Midland Eye Centre at City Hospital. This role includes giving information, advice, guidance and offering emotional support to patients newly diagnosed with an eye condition.

Russ' role also involves discussing different kinds of support available to his patients in the community, then providing referrals to organisations that may help each individual lead a more independent life.

Russ processes all new Certificate of Visual Impairments. He is therefore able to explain the process of registration and the benefits it may provide.

Russ is visually impaired due to Retinitis Pigmentosa and is supported by his Guide Dog Sparks.

Talia Dewhurst, Eye Clinic Liaison Officer

Talia Dewhurst is the Eye Clinic Liaison Officer (ECLO) at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham.

Talia has been in her role since 2015 and is very passionate about her work and supporting patients with sight loss and encouraging them to be independent.

Talia’s gives information, advice, guidance and offers emotional support to patients with a newly diagnosed or ongoing eye condition.

Luke Hedley, Sports Participation Coordinator

Luke joined Birmingham Vision in 2015.
He is a sports and fitness enthusiast, working with blind and partially sighted people to increase participation in sport and active leisure. He works both locally and on a national scale.

Luke is responsible for supporting individuals with a visual impairment who would like to either try sport and physical activity for the first time, or to return to activity. His aim is to break down barriers to participation so that sport is available to all.