“Problems and Solutions to reducing isolation”
Thursday 11th May 2017
At the National Railway Museum, York

We are aware of the impact that a visual and/or hearing impairment can have on people, particularly when accessing services, building a network and forging connections for support, in rural areas and in cities.

In this Conference, topics include:
* Building links with people, to reduce or minimise isolation
* How technology can break down barriers and improve socialising
* What innovative working practices can be easily adopted
* How services can be delivered by keeping people at the centre of their care

Cost per person: £85 (includes buffet lunch and refreshments)

Speaker Profiles

Ian Burbidge – ‘Setting the Scene’ & ‘Solutions Workshop’
Ian is an Associate Director of Public Services and Communities at the RSA and has over 15 years’ experience in social research, consultation, programme delivery and strategy within local government and public sector partnerships. He has led the development of strategic plans, funding proposals, community engagement and wider research programmes and delivered a range of workshops, conferences and engagement events. At the RSA Ian leads programmes of research and analysis exploring such issues as health and wellbeing, the future role of the public sector and how to achieve social change in a community context. Ian is particularly interested in how to cultivate innovation within public services and on the importance of understanding people and place in order to design and deliver appropriate policy interventions. He holds an MSc in Behavioural Science from the London School of Economics. Follow him on twitter @ianburbidge or find him on LinkedIn.

Alison Bowes – ‘Linking people regionally & nationally’
I started my career working with people who are visually impaired with Guide Dogs in 1987. I worked for Guide Dogs for 21 years, initially covering the whole of the North West and latterly based within their Hull team. The majority of my work with them was as a Rehabilitation Officer. I worked with children, young people, people of working age and older people – guide dog owners, placements and local authority contracts. In 2009 I changed jobs to work for North Yorkshire County Council as a Rehabilitation Officer. This year I became employed as a Community Support Worker with Blind Veterans UK.
I have been lucky to work alongside hundreds of people who are visually impaired, their families / carers and colleagues, locally and nationally, from many different organisations – charities, community groups, local authority social care and educational establishments.

Christine Farion – ‘Have we achieved digital exclusion?’
Currently, I am a member of the Visual Impairment Services Team at The Wilberforce Trust, where I am responsible for technology research, advice and help for the team and wider community. I have always had a passion for technology and for teaching others how to use it effectively. I was awarded a 4-year scholarship from EPSRC to complete a PhD in Media & Arts Technology at Queen Mary University of London. My research interests include Assistive Technology, Distributed Cognition, HCI, Physical Computing, Wearables and Perceived Forgetfulness. I specialize in hardware and software innovation. I hold a Masters in Creative Technology (Distinction) from Leeds Metropolitan University, Leeds (2006) as well as a PGCE (Certificate of Education) from Huddersfield University (2005). Previously I developed iOS apps, worked at technology company Trifork for IoT projects, P&G Gillette and was a Lecturer at York College and Leeds Met University.
Paula Bee – ‘Providing community support to social need’

Having originally trained as a physiotherapist, Paula has been involved in the well-being of older people throughout her career, which has encompassed various community roles both in a voluntary and professional capacity. As Chief Executive of Age UK Wakefield District and a member of the Age England Association Executive Group, she has been fortunate to be at the forefront of local and national changes that have the potential to alter the experience of ageing for us all.

Most recently Age UK Wakefield District have developed a validated tool, LEAF-7 that supports a new way of assessing and responding to quality of life, they have also led the involvement of the VCS in the NHS Care Homes Vanguard and are a sector lead provider in the New Models of Care Programme in Wakefield, where establishing community-based solutions to the needs of vulnerable older adults is at the heart of the transformation of care.


Our Information Kiosk

Our Information Kiosk

Conference 2016

Our most recent conference took place in April at the National Railway Museum ….

The conference focused on research, information, and technology in eye health and sight loss. We also showcased our pop-up sensory room and our information kiosk.




Seeing what they say – Keir Young

Nutrition for AMD – Hannah Bartlett

Assessing the brain in patients with central visual loss – Holly Brown Rachel Woodall