South Wales sight loss campaigner wins RNIB Campaigner of the Year Award

South Wales sight loss campaigner wins RNIB Campaigner of the Year Award

The RNIB See Differently Awards, supported by People’s Postcode Lottery, recognise and celebrate outstanding work supporting people with sight loss. Hosted by standup comedian, Jamie MacDonald, the awards took place on Tuesday 21 May.  

A campaigner from Cardiff has won an RNIB See Differently Award in recognition of her campaigning efforts to improve the accessibility of health information and accessible streets, using her lived experience as a catalyst for change.

Margaret Rees, 73, who has retinitis pigmentosa (RP), won Campaigner of the Year. The category is sponsored by Microsoft, and the award recognises individuals who have shown great commitment and courage in campaigning to improve the world for blind and partially sighted people.

Margaret played a key role in RNIB Cymru’s Make it Make Sense Campaign, which called upon the Welsh Government and local health boards to make health information more accessible. She openly shared her experience with the Welsh Government and took part in patient panels and surveys to improve the accessibility of health information.

As a result of Margaret’s support of RNIB’s campaign, the Welsh Government are now working with RNIB Cymru to implement an action plan to update the All-Wales Standards for Accessible Communications and Information for People with Sensory Loss and ensure that health boards comply.  

In relation to winning the award, Margaret said: “I feel really humbled in accepting this award. I campaign for change because I deplore injustice and want everyone to be treated the same. Inclusion is so important. I’d like to encourage people not to be afraid of campaigning for something that affects your everyday life. I’ve been inspired by every nominee and winner of the night, and it’s been an experience of a lifetime.”

She is a vigorous activist and also campaigns to improve the safety and accessibility of public transport. She was recently filmed by BBC Cymru and the film was shown across Wales.

Laura Chow, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “We are delighted to support the RNIB See Differently Awards. It’s a fantastic opportunity to spotlight all the great work that is happening in the sight loss sector. Congratulations to all the nominees and winners; your contributions are a shining example of how we can work together to make a life-changing impact for blind and partially sighted people.”

RNIB CEO Matt Stringer said: “The RNIB See Differently Awards celebrate the amazing stories and achievements of so many people and organisations who generously share their lived experience and professional knowledge.

“A huge congratulations to all our See Differently Award winners. Whether it’s in the world of employment, the world of influencing, or the world of generating more volunteers, there are some cracking stories to tell, and the ceremony was a great way to trumpet real achievement.”

Bringing together a host of people across the UK, the awards recognised exceptional individuals and teams across seven categories: Campaigner of the Year, Eye Care Professional of the Year, Best Content Creator of the Year, Team of the Year, Employer of the Year, Volunteer of the Year and Design for Everyone Award.

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