For International Women’s Day 2021, London Vision is celebrating some of the amazing campaigners from the UK working tirelessly in the pursuit of equality and rights.
Dr Amy Kavanagh
Amy is a seasoned and brilliant advocate who campaigns on issues impacting blind and partially sighted people (all in addition to her day job). In 2018 Amy started the Just Ask Don’t Grab campaign in 2018 in response to her frequent experiences of unhelpful grabbing on her daily commute. #JustAskDontGrab encourages people to offer assistance in a respectful, consensual and helpful way. In recognition of her tireless and effective campaigning, Amy was nominated at the 2019 RNIB See Differently Awards as a campaigner of the year.
In addition to all those accolades, Amy is also the landlord of the Staying Inn virtual pub. The Staying Inn started in the first lockdown of 2020, and it’s an accessible, inclusive online space for disabled and non-disabled folk to stay connected during the COVID-19 crisis. Beginning with regular quizzes and crafting sessions, the Staying Inn has now branched out into providing workshops – such as recent diversity and inclusion masterclass.
If you follow London Vision on social media, you’ll have seen us regularly sharing Elin’s My Blurred World blogs and updates. Although she’s only 22, Elin’s been blogging regularly since 2015. She started My Blurred Word blog because she wished she’d had somewhere like it to come to when she was younger and coming to terms with her diagnosis of Retinitis Pigmentosa. She’s passionate about raising awareness about sight and disability equality issues, but she also wants to provide reassurance to her readers in similar situations by gently reminding them that they’re not alone.
Her writing and awareness raising has led to key roles in the sight loss sector – despite her young age, Elin’s been working and volunteering for more than 4 years already. She was a Young Ambassador for VICTA UK in 2018, and she’s now a mentor for LOOK UK and a Global Brand Leader for InvisiYouth Charity. This is all in addition to her day job as social media and communications officer. Elin’s work led to her inclusion on the BBC 100 Women 2020 list, alongside other activists like Alice Wong and Shani Dhanda and other inspiring women (including Prime Ministers!) from around the world.
You may already know Lucy Edwards from her popular YouTube videos (one of which: Blind girl does her own makeup, has had nearly 800 thousand views!), or because she’s a massive star on TikTok, with 1.5million followers! Lucy is a master at making short, funny and informative videos for TikTok, all about living with visual impairment and the ‘blind hacks’ she’s come up with.
Lucy is also a tireless campaigner for a number of charities – she’s run the London Marathon in aid of Guide Dogs for the Blind, been the keynote speaker at the RNIB Summer Gala, become a digital ambassador for Living Paintings, and her work was also recognised by the Lord-Lieutenancy of the West Midlands (where she’s from). This is all in addition to her work as a professional broadcaster – she presents regular reports for the BBC on TV and radio and has an ever-growing portfolio of work.
Holly is another blogger we love, and she’s been writing her Life of a Blind Girl blog since 2015. The blog covers a variety of topics, including Holly’s disability, her experiences at university and some really informative articles about accessibility. Holly is a huge music and theatre fan – she blogs frequently about concerts and events she attends, and this passion led to her co-founding Access for Us in 2019. Access for Us is a non-profit blog that raises awareness around the lack of access of entertainment venues for disabled fans, as well as highlighting the barriers disabled fans face when purchasing disabled access tickets.
Holly has been frequently recognised with awards for her advocacy work around disability issues, and was included on the Shaw Trust Disability Power List in both 2018 and 2019. In addition to this work, Holly splits her time between working as an Assistive Technology Adviser, writing articles for publications and creating content for her own blog. She’s also recently joined the RNIB Connect Radio family and has just started co-hosting the Happy Hour which is a brand-new show dedicated all things sight loss and wellbeing. Make sure you tune in!