Tuesday, June 24, 2014

News: Rotherham O2 store commended for support to blind worker

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Talk Direct, one of the largest O2 franchises in the UK, has been presented with an award by Action for Blind People, recognising their commitment to a visually impaired Rotherham employee. The ceremony took place recently at the town centre O2 store on College Street.

Action for Blind People is a national charity with local reach, providing practical help and support to blind and partially sighted people of all ages.

Employee Mark Skelton nominated Talk Direct for the "See the Capability, not the Disability" award. Mark, who has the eye condition Diabetic Retinopathy, was working for Talk Direct as an assistant manager in the O2 store in Rotherham, when his sight started to deteriorate.

Mark's sight loss made it difficult for him to carry out his daily duties; tasks such as using a computer were a major struggle. Worried about his future, Mark contacted Action, who gave him the support and guidance he needed to tell his employer about his condition, and talk about his fears about his future at the company.

Talk Direct and O2 have helped create a work environment that supports Mark, helping him to continue his valued role at the store. He is now the Ambassador of iCare, a new project from Talk Direct, aimed at helping people with sight loss to use and benefit from the latest smart phone technology.

Mark said: "The support I get from Talk Direct is fantastic. Admitting to the company that I was losing my sight was one of the hardest things I have ever done, but they supported me and are encouraging me to use my disability to help others. Talk Direct also got phone manufacturers Samsung and Sony involved; they were extremely helpful, donating me a couple of smart phones so I can demonstrate the technology on different handsets.

"I am now in charge of the daily running of the iCare project. Thanks to all their encouragement, work is enjoyable again, after months of struggling and feeling useless."

Matt Hards, employment coordinator at Action for Blind People, added: “Talk Direct has been fantastic in their positive response to Mark's sight loss, supporting him in his new role. They are now seeing the benefits to both his confidence and the resulting success of the iCare project."

The commendation is the first time a mobile company in England has won the award and the first time a Yorkshire company has won the award.

Action for Blind People website

Images: Action for Blind People

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