In March 2021, Renu Walia joined London Vision on a three-month placement which extended to a further three months in May 2021, as part of the Thomas Pocklington Trust internship programme. The internship programme provides support, development opportunities and experience in evaluation methods used across the charity sector for blind and partially sighted applicants.
Part of Renu’s role was working with Jonathan Ward on the Managing Sight Loss programme. Renu helped prepare sessions, researched additional content, and helped facilitate the sessions. Renu led a brand-new Managing Sight Loss session focussed on Accessible TVs – it looked at how to make the very best of your TV from sitting a little closer to using binoculars, audio description and voice guidance on smart TVs.
Renu was also instrumental in monitoring the Managing Sight Loss course, creating surveys, and collating data to evaluate the impact of the programme. This data fed into key reports and helped London Vision better understand how the course. Renu provided key support to many members of the team, performing admin and research functions, and contributing to general London Vision operations.
In her own words:
“The Virtual Intern role provided me with a great opportunity to express my passion for the sight loss sector and the opportunity to make a positive impact in the lives of blind and partially sighted people.
“I have been working in various admin roles for the past 17 years, but never in the sight loss sector. I always felt something was missing in my professional roles, and when the Virtual Intern position came up, I jumped at the chance to learn more about sight loss sector. Working with colleagues at London Vision taught me about the variety of roles relating to sight loss.
“It was through working with London Vision that I learnt more about Eye Clinic Liaison Officer role (ECLOs). ECLOs offer dedicated individual care to people with sight impairment or sight loss and offer advice on how to lessen the impact the eye condition may have. The ECLO role is designed to act as a bridge between health and social services and provide a key source of support to patients in eye clinics.
“The internship with London Vision opened my eyes to the variety of roles in and adjacent to the sight loss sector, as well as dramatically increasing my confidence. It meant that when the ECLO role came up in June 2021, I jumped at the chance to apply. My own lived experience of sight impairment means that I am able to draw on my own knowledge and use that to support other people with sight loss to live as independently as possible.
“The London Vision internship gave me the opportunity grow and develop myself in the sight loss sector, I probably would not have as much if I did not take up this wonderful opportunity.”
Becoming the RNIB’s 100th ECLO
Renu became RNIB’s 100th ECLO and is now based in Chase Farm Hospital in North London. She also provides support and advice to patients in Barnet Hospital and Edgware Community Hospital. You can learn more about Renu and her new role in this RNIB press release.