Introducing Callum Lancashire, our newly appointed Engagement Manager, tasked with spearheading the establishment of Sight Loss Councils throughout Scotland, commencing with the Central Belt in March 2024.

Sight Loss Councils, funded by Thomas Pocklington Trust, are led by blind and partially sighted people who use lived experience to tackle local and national issues to improve the accessibility of services. 

Callum lost his vision at the age of fifteen due to a head injury and found himself in a dark place without any assistance or support. Determined to prevent others from facing a similar plight, Callum is now encouraging individuals with vision impairments to reach out and become part of the Sight Loss Councils.

Callum explains: “I lost my sight when I was fifteen after a blow to the face caused macular degeneration. It was obviously a huge shock and extremely hard to take. What made matters worse is I was given no help or support; the doctors basically told me that at some point I was going to go blind and there was nothing they could do. They didn’t tell me what macular degeneration is, they didn’t tell me where I could go for help, they just left me to it.

“After my accident, I could see a bit, but I had no depth perception, I couldn’t see faces, I was tripping over kerbs, and I couldn’t read. I had huge problems at school due to this and found myself in a bad place, I was constantly angry and upset. I just pushed it all down and as a result my mental health was all over the place. I couldn’t accept or understand what had happened to me, and I had no one to talk to or ask for help. I just felt isolated and alone and just got on with my life. When I look back at it now, it was terrible, and no one should have to go through this.

“One of the reasons why I am so passionate about the Sight Loss Councils is that I really want to help people and they have the potential to make a real change. We need to break down the stigmas surrounding vision impairment, as just because you don’t have amazing vision doesn’t mean you cannot do things. Ok I will never be able to fly a plane, but I can go on one, I can go on holiday, I can still enjoy myself. It is the same in the workplace, employers need to understand that people with visual impairment are still as capable as anyone else. The employment figures for people with vision impairment are terrible and make no sense.

“After school I went to college, and then university, to study music, basically because I wouldn’t have to read. Then I found a job with the Royal College of Surgeons in the morgue. I didn’t love it, but it was a job; my self-esteem was pretty low at the time, so I just got on with it.”


“My life changed when I signed up to be a test patient at The Royal College of Surgeons. They used to run these ophthalmology exams for trainee doctors, and they offered a little bit of money and a free lunch to take part. It was here where I first met other people with vision impairment and just chatting to them about my life, finding common ground, it was like something switched in my brain. Just talking to these people brought up feelings I didn’t know I had. I began to understand that I could still live my life although I had vision impairment, and that I didn’t have to feel sorry for myself. I began speaking to people more, my family and friends, and tried to explain to them what I was going through. I didn’t want extra help, I just needed them to understand. And by talking I felt myself more and more coming out my shell.

“This is why the Sight Loss Councils are so important, as we want people to talk, share their experiences, share the things they like, their struggles and hopefully collectively we can make real changes for the better. For me I would like to see accessibility in the workplace transformed, more accessible transport, improved accessibility at concerts and sporting events, and more of an understanding from sighted people that people with vision impairment are just as capable as everyone else. But these are my views, we want to hear as many other opinions as possible and get a diverse range of people with different eye conditions on the councils. Everybody has the right to be treated the same, whether that is going to work, the shops, football, rugby, concerts; accessibility shouldn’t be looked at as a problem it should be a necessity.”

Helping People

“I applied for my previous job with Visibility Scotland early in 2022 and was obviously delighted when I was successful. To suddenly be able to help people at the same eye hospital where I had such a terrible experience felt very cathartic. As a Patient Support Worker, I was helping individuals who were facing the same challenges I encountered at the age of fifteen, assisting them navigate their diagnosis and guiding them toward available support resources. I was sometimes seeing twelve service users a day, so it was very busy, but I made sure I gave everyone as much help and support as I could, as I knew exactly what they were going through.

“This is what will make the Sight Loss Councils in Scotland so powerful, they are going to be led by blind and partially sighted people which will create empowerment, understanding of needs, credibility, advocacy, and inclusive decision-making, all of which are critical if we are to make real, lasting change.

“My message to people is very simple, if I can make a change and turn my life around, so can you.”

For more information about Sight Loss Councils in Scotland please call our helpline on 0800 024 8973.

You may also be interested in

Pave The Way

Did you know some train stations in Scotland don't have tactile paving?

Meet Andrea: Helping to combat loneliness and isolation in Glasgow

Andrea Curro is our new Community Activity Assistant for Glasgow.