Vicky and Dave....
We first met in May 2013 whilst working for a disability focused charity that provided an information and advice service, various web-based projects and training relating to these services. As part of our roles within the charity, we led on a couple of projects including a web site designed for individuals wanting to achieve greater independence and a project aimed at increasing accessibility and awareness for other charities and businesses.
Following the sad closure of this charity in 2015, and building on our successful working partnership, we decided to combine our years of experience and start a new business partnership venture - VIDA Training.
Alongside VIDA Training, we run the Disability Equipment Service, the UK’s leading bespoke website for the buying and selling of new and used disability equipment. In addition, we also work part-time providing pre-employment training for people with impairments or long term health conditions.
Our varied backgrounds and experiences complement each other and enable us to provide a real insight into our training, consultancy and employment services.
I’m Dave. I was registered blind in 1997 following the slow deterioration of my sight. I have Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) and Retinal Telangiectasia and now only have light and dark perception.
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 ICT and Access Technology. Following a years study and completing an NVQ in ICT, I applied for and was successful in getting a job with the ICT & Access Technology 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, Access Technology Coordinator and Team Leader. I was also an in-house vision impairment awareness trainer and an Accessibility Champion.
In 2013, as mentioned above, 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, following a very sudden diagnosis of cancer, Errol was put to sleep in June 2017 aged 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, and after discussing my situation lots with Guide Dogs, I decided not to reapply for another dog for the time being.
My 20+ years of working with people with vision impairments and disabilities, as well as my own experience of living and working with a deteriorating sight condition, enables me to bring a very personal and real insight to our training, consultancy and employment services. It also provides people with the opportunity to ask questions directly to someone with vision loss.
Hi, I’m Vicky.
Since starting work about 28 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 the roles mentioned above, I am also a self-employed in-work Support Worker and Sighted Guide and undertake freelance work for an organisation working with people to build better, more inclusive services and support.
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 complimentary dimension to the training, consultancy and employment services we offer.
“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!"