Meet The Team

Maureen Gillman- ChairDr Maureen Gillman

I worked for many years as a qualified Social Worker and then became a Research Assistant and completed my PhD in 1994. From that time until I retired, I worked as a University Lecturer and a Family Psychotherapist. I was registered blind in 1996 whilst working at Northumbria University.

I became actively involved in Disability Research and continue to publish in that area. I tried retirement in 2007 but it wasn’t for me! So I became involved with Eye Wish Access and I am the Chair of the Board of Directors.

I sing in a Choir, play the piano, and enjoy walking with my Guide Dog, Solo and husband Chris. I also enjoy visiting my Daughter who lives in Paris.

 

Susan Jones- Training Co-OrdinatorSusan Jones

I left school looking forward to a career in teaching but my eye condition put an end to that in my second year at college.

Now that could be thought of as a tragedy but it turned out to be a stroke of luck! I would never have met my husband or become a director of a company if I hadn’t have lost my sight.

I was in full time employment for over 30yrs spending the majority of the time working for a high street bank and a lot of the skills I learnt there I have been able to apply to my work as a trainer for Eye Wish Access. I feel as if I have come full circle as I am now doing a job I love with a group of enthusiastic and passionate people.

I have had guide dogs for 20yrs and my present dog a black lab, called Pelham is an absolute darling and I have my retired dog Shula at home so what spare time I have is spent walking the countryside with my dogs. Although recently I have taken up horse riding and am at present learning to ride. I never realised just how big a horse is until I sat on one and boy, does it focus the mind, (it’s a long way to fall) when taking part in a lesson.

 

Ben PullanBen Pullan

Most of my working life has been in local authority social work and as a social work tutor in Further Education in the South West. Following early retirement I worked as an Open University tutor and in supporting disabled students in a college and in a day centre. My wife and I are now retired and happily settled in Newcastle upon Tyne.

I was diagnosed 20 years ago with Retinitis Pigmentosa. Though no longer driving, it has not stopped me maintaining an active life pursuing a variety of interests.

I joined Eye Wish Access in 2012, and have valued its inclusive ethos in the vision awareness training it offers and I feel privileged to share in promoting this.

 

Joyce AndersonJoyce Anderson

I have an inherited eye condition and when my sight began to deteriorate about six years ago, I was forced to give up my job in the County Library.

Luckily I found Eye Wish Access who trained me to deliver Vision Awareness Training and as well as becoming a trainer, I am also the Finance Director.

Since being registered severely sight impaired in 2009 I have been determined to make my sight loss into a positive experience, not only for myself but also for other visually impaired people and have become a Campaigner for the RNIB and I have been active with Northumberland Low Vision Action Group (NAG) to ensure the blind in my area receive adequate rehabilitation services.

Losing my sight has opened up a whole new world and I am busier than ever.  I am lucky to have a supportive husband and family although I do get complaints from my three children and five grandchildren when I am not available for babysitting!

 

Sue Rzepczynski

I have been closely involved with Eye Wish Access since it started, initially as a stakeholder working for the RNIB, but now as general administrator and as co-ordinator and internal verifyer for the accredited training (see Accredited Training page

During my career I have been actively involved with promoting access and inclusion issues, working with organisations and disabled people to dismantle barriers and bring change.

My roles have included project management and community development, training, assessing and mentoring.  My work has been mainly post 16 Education in Adult and Community Learning, Further and Higher Education.  This has included posts at Newcastle University and Newcastle College where I worked as partnership co-ordinator for RNIB.