Vision Sense was set up 14 years ago by Susie Balderston who has Multiple Sclerosis (MS), and Mike McCabe who is blind, to prove that disabled people can be employed, trained and deliver professional services.
Vision Sense delivers training, advocacy services, access audits and social care projects across the UK.
In 2007, Brent Martin, a learning disabled young man, was kicked to death for a £5 bet in Sunderland. In the same year, Christine Lakinski, a disabled woman, was urinated on as she lay dying on the street in Hartlepool.
As a result, much of the hard work to ensure independent living and access to mainstream transport services across South Tyneside became secondary to disabled people being able to live in safety and access justice.
Vision Sense’s disabled members worked with the Equality and Human Rights Commission, Northumbria Police and Gateshead Council, and over 400 disabled people came forward to give evidence of their experiences of hate crime.
Vision Sense developed research and training with disabled people to help them stay safe, improve public services and access justice. A multi-media toolkit was designed for disabled women (who are two to four times more likely to experience domestic abuse and hate crime involving sexual violence than non-disabled women). The toolkit is now internationally recognised.
The Foundation awarded Vision Sense a grant of £17,130 to develop their second online training toolkit which will focus on independent living, financial safety and awareness of abuse.
Vision Sense will train young disabled safety ambassadors from disadvantaged communities in the region to undertake training, placements and policy change roles in partner organisations. The young ambassadors will be paid for delivering the training.
The module will be licensed for use in schools and colleges, and will also be made available to companies so that they can train their employees.
You can find out more about Vision Sense via their website.