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Staff team training day

We held our first in-person staff team training day in over three years on Wednesday!


Staff development is the key to providing better services and support for visually impaired people throughout Scotland. Here are some of the highlights of the training day.


The day kicked off in interactive style with Jeni and Sam, our two Trainee Visual Rehabilitation Specialists. The staff team were split into two groups for long cane skills training. A long cane is a mobility aid that enables people with low or no vision to travel independently.

Jeni holding a white long cane next to Audrey Jeni is demonstrating long cane skills

Image ID: Jeni demonstrating long cane skills. her colleague Audrey is standing beside her.


Using a long cane, Jeni and Sam demonstrated pre-cane skills and the two-point touch technique. These are techniques that are taught to potential long cane users to help them navigate their environment using a long cane.


Once each group became comfortable using the cane, they were taken outside to practice their skills. Working in pairs, one person wore a sleep shade while navigating the crescent using the long cane, while their partner provided verbal guidance to prevent collisions with parked cars or other obstacles.

A visibility scotland staff member helps to guide another staff member who is wearing sleep shades and using a white long cane. They are walking along Queen's Crescent.

Image ID: Andy is walking Queen’s Crescent while wearing a sleep shade and using a long cane. His colleague Ali is beside him to help guide him.


This was an illuminating session for our team. The difficulties encountered in keeping a straight line when having no sight to rely on were challenging to say the least. Many staff commented that they thought they had walked much further than they had once the sleep shade was removed.


An independent long cane user should always be admired, as they have learnt to adjust to their sight loss and have often overcome many challenges through their determination and grit to succeed. It is fair to say that everyone found Jeni and Sam’s session informative and insightful.


The next session was presented by Douglas Westwater from Community Enterprise.  Douglas presented a pragmatic view of the challenges faced by third-sector organisations face due to changes to funding criteria, and the need for charities to embrace entrepreneurial ways to generate income and fit policy and government priorities/ changes.

Douglas Westwater from Community Enterprise delivers his presentation

Image ID: Douglas presenting to the team in the office.


The afternoon session covered:

  • child safeguarding
  • streetscape
  • inclusive communications
  • our revamped Tech Works Project (funded by the Scottish Government).


Craig MacLagan, our new Digital Advisor, gave an entertaining and insightful overview of how he approached combining his previous knowledge with learning new skills and approaches in his new role. If you would like to know how aids and equipment can transform the lives of visually impaired people, Craig is there to support you.

Craig sits on a table after finishing his presentation to the team. The team are sitting on chairs and giving him a round of applause.

Image ID: The Visibility Scotland team sitting in an office while applauding Craig for his great presentation.


The day concluded with an overview of the charity’s journey over the last three years. Despite an incredibly difficult funding environment, we still provide a large section of innovative projects delivered in tandem with essential services.


However, we still require funding to ensure we can continue for another 164 years and to transform the lives of as many visually impaired people as possible. Fundraising and donations are key to our survival. If you have a fundraising background and want to help our organisation voluntarily, we want to hear from you. Together, we can make Scotland the best place in the world for visually impaired people to live and work.


A big thank you from us all for your continued support of Visibility Scotland.

Image of Paul Hanlon
Written by: Paul Hanlon

Posted on the: June 30, 2023
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