Dave and Vicky....
We first met in May 2013 whilst working for a charity providing services in the disability field including information, advice, web-based projects and training. As well as our general work, during this time we also worked together on a web based project designed for individuals wanting to achieve greater independence and a project aimed at increasing accessibility and awareness for other charities and businesses. In May 2015, following 2 years of a successful working partnership, we decided to join forces as VIDA Training combining our experience of working together and over 25 years' history of working in the disability field and living with sight loss.
Our varied backgrounds and experiences complement each other and enable us to provide a real insight into Vision Impairment and Disability Awareness training.
Hi, I’m Dave and I’m registered blind. I have Retinitis Pigmentosa and Retinal Telangiectasia and have had Cataracts removed from both eyes in the past.
Having gone through mainstream school and college where I studied in Hospitality & Catering, I soon realised that the catering industry with a deteriorating sight condition wasn’t for me. I moved to Redhill to attend the RNIB College where I trained in IT and, after a year of study, applied for and was successful in getting a job with the IT team at the college. I progressed my career at the RNIB and, in the 14 years of working there, held a few positions including IT trainer, Accessibility Champion, Access Technology Coordinator and Team Leader. I was also an in-house vision impairment awareness trainer and extended this training out to some local organisations including Barclays Bank.
In 2013 I joined a small disability charity where I met and worked alongside Vicky for 2 years before, in 2015, joining with Vicky to form VIDA Training.
I used to have a Guide Dog called Errol. Errol was a black German Shepherd x Golden Retriever and he was my first guide dog. Sadly, in June 2017 and following a very sudden diagnosis of cancer, Errol was put to sleep age just 8 years. Errol is shown in lots of our photos and there is a VIDA Insight dedicated to him (http://vidatraining.weebly.com/blog/in-memory-of-errol-13062009-22062017). Losing Errol was a huge shock and I still miss him loads, however, after taking some time out to decide whether I would have another guide dog, in October 2017 I decided to go back on the list for another guide dog. The waiting list is 18 – 24 months so I could be in for a long wait before being paired with my next dog.
My 20 years of working with people with vision impairments and disabilities, as well as a lived experience of a deteriorating sight condition, enables me to bring to our training a very personal and real insight and also provides delegates an opportunity to ask questions directly to someone with vision loss.
Hi, I’m Vicky.
Since starting work about 23 years ago I have worked predominantly in the disability field, starting initially in a respite service providing support for children with learning and physical impairments. I then worked for several years for Mencap in a residential setting with adults with learning disabilities before moving on to work in a social services team, supporting people with physical and sensory impairments where I worked for over 8 years. During this time I undertook my BSL level 1 and 2 course and worked alongside a colleague who was Deaf.
After having my 2 children, I worked part time for a few years in a large local café where my experiences highlighted the importance of disability awareness in a customer services role.
In 2010 I started working for a small disability charity and was joined by Dave there in 2013. We worked as colleagues for 2 years and then in 2015 we pooled our experiences to set up VIDA training.
As well as providing training, I currently also work as an in work support worker and sighted guide as well as providing additional project specific support. I continue to be involved on a day to day basis working in the disability field.
My background and current work experiences enable me to draw on both personal and work examples of working with and supporting people with sight loss and other impairments. This adds another dimension to the training and completes the training package that both Dave and I can provide.
“Having Dave and Vicky as trainers had more of an impact as it was more real.”
“I just wanted to say thank you very much for a lovely day on Tuesday, I really enjoyed it and found it very useful – you made us feel very relaxed, hope to meet up again one day in the future.”
"Thank you for a great day! The training was relevant, informative and interactive! Having Dave - someone with a visual impairment deliver the training with such confidence is inspiring. Lovely people! Excellent training. Errol the dog was amazing too!"