Central to our work at Energize, lies a commitment to Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion. We prioritise these values in our efforts to address and eliminate inequalities. This means ensuring that we take steps to understand others, welcome the diversity they bring and to encourage inclusivity across everything we do in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin. 

In order to encourage inclusivity for people with visual impairments, Christina Morgan, Live Longer Better Manager at Energize STW, recently delivered a Visual Impairment awareness session to staff at Shropshire Wildlife Trust. The staff learnt so much from not only Christina but her two guests, Allan and Sheila, who are husband and wife both living with sight loss (and identify themselves as being blind) Their collaborative approach informed staff about the challenges and restrictions for visually impaired people when they are outside of their familiar home, visiting places and trying to be active in nature.

 Photo showing the awareness session taking place

To experience sight loss, the staff at Shropshire Wildlife Trust wore blindfolds and visual impairment glasses during the session. They listened to Allan and Sheila speak about their experiences, heard from Christina about the importance of inclusive environments and her experience of delivering physical activity to older adults with long term health conditions such as visual impairment and sight loss.  Staff were asked to guess different items using their touch and smell senses and having learnt how to respectfully guide a person with sight loss, they experienced this for themselves outside.

 People experiencing visual impairments and sight loss being guided around a garden

When staff were guiding each other outside, some people said:

"It was a very useful experience. It really makes you think about obstacles and how we could improve facilities for visitors to the Wildlife Trust's sites."

"It made us describe the environment we were in a lot more, making us see details to be able to describe them to the person we were guiding. It made me think about things which were within the path we were following."

Christina, Live Longer Better Manager at Energize STW, said:

"It is really important we increase activity providers' awareness of the difficulties some people can face when accessing facilities. This is about understanding others, the diversity they bring and doing what we can to help people to be active outside of their home."

Helen Trotman, Head of People and Wildlife at Shropshire Wildlife Trust, said:

“It was a great opportunity to see things from a totally different perspective and I think all the staff learnt something that they can use in both their work and personal lives.” 

 Photo of people experiencing sight loss and visual impairments being guided inside a garden

Shropshire Wildlife Trust is always working to be more inclusive across its sites and were very grateful to listen to the first-hand experiences from Allan and Sheila and Christina's expertise in helping people to live longer and healthier lives.