A BUSINESS created by a visually impaired entrepreneur from Saltcoats has been shortlisted for a national award celebrating excellence in eye health.
PrioritEyes was founded by Norma Baillie, a trained rehabilitation specialist with personal experience with vision loss.
The Saltcoats-based company, founded by Norma in 2011, was nominated for Team of the Year at the 2016 Vision Pioneer Awards.
She said: “I am so proud of my team. Everyone is really excited about this. To be shortlisted for such a prestigious award is recognition of our hard work and the standards we provide.
“We offer a service specializing in supporting people who are blind or visually impaired. We hope that by being shortlisted, public awareness of rehabilitation services for the blind and visually impaired will be increased accordingly. It’s not just about getting a price, it’s about raising the profile of what we do.
Norma is registered blind and therefore understands the difficulties of living and working in a world designed for sighted people.
The 48-year-old lost her sight at the age of nine due to a rare eye disease. Her experience of poor service fueled her determination to make things better for others, and she qualified as a visual impairment rehabilitation worker.
In 2011, with over 15 years of experience, she formed PrioritEyes, now the UK’s largest independent rehabilitation agency. Two years ago she was one of three finalists in the UK for the Stelios Disabled Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Norma’s team of skilled, experienced and dedicated rehabilitators have supported hundreds of visually impaired people from East Sussex to the Scottish Highlands. Many other members of the team also have personal experiences with sight loss.
Norma said: “I have some vision as far as I can see shapes and movements, but no details. Because I am registered blind and am a trained rehabilitation worker, I became aware of all the difficulties and gaps in services.
The winners of the Vision Pioneer Awards 2016 will be announced at a ceremony on June 13 in London.