Dave is ‘a blind man with a vision’
At the age of 30, a rare genetic disease caused Liverpool-born Dave Kelly to lose his eyesight. Struck down by Retinitis Pigmentosa, his life was turned inside out and for two years he struggled to come to terms with what had happened.
Dave’s anguish inspired him to want to help others. Describing himself as ‘a blind man with a vision’ his wish was to raise awareness of disability and help people with visual disabilities fulfill their true potential.
Having left school with few qualifications, Dave decided that to achieve his goal he needed to return to studying. He re-entered education and completed a degree in coaching and sports development as well as another in coaching for the disabled.
In 2011, bolstered by his learning, Dave founded Daisy Inclusive UK – a charity offering disabled people support, educational advice and guidance while promoting better understanding of disability.
In August of the same year, Daisy Inclusive UK received £10,000 from the Awards for All programme to establish an IT suite kitted out with specialist equipment for people with sensory and physical disabilities. Based in Liverpool, the charity now delivers inclusive ICT training and provides free access to adapted computers so that people of all abilities can develop their skills.
“Receiving our grant meant the world to Daisy,” says Dave. “It meant that we could help others who’d otherwise struggle without this service. Not only have BIG helped us, they’ve given us the ability to help others.”
Ian Gibb, Operations and Premises Manager, started at Daisy on a work placement through the Future Jobs scheme. Ian is registered blind and had been out of work for 18 months. He was struggling with unemployment, but since becoming involved with the group he has progressed and now works full time helping others.
“The services we offer are brilliant and I enjoy coming to work every day as everything we do here we do it with a smile,” he says.
“Some of the people we support have very complex needs but we’re able to deal with all of them with targeted advice and support. We guide them all the way and help them to fulfill their true potential.”
21 year-old Melissa has multiple and complex needs and has become a regular at the IT sessions established by Daisy.
She uses the computers to search the Internet, speak to her friends on Facebook and to learn new IT skills. Her grandfather Joe has noticed the difference the service has made to Melissa and her family.
“It takes a long time to build up Melissa’s confidence, but she feels safe when she’s here,” he says. “If it wasn’t for Daisy we wouldn’t have a life at all. The difference they make has quite literally given us a life.”
Want to know more about our Awards for All programme? Visit our website for further information on small grants from £300 to £10,000.