Commitment to advocacy earns Jane a Vision Australia Award

29 October 2020

Jane Britt’s years of working as an advocate for people who are blind or have low vision has led to her being presented with a Vision Australia Award at the 2020 Annual General Meeting.

Jane lives with glaucoma, which has resulted in her being completely blind in her right eye and limited vision in her left eye.

Upon receiving her Vision Australia award, Jane said she felt excited and emotional.

“I sometimes wonder if the work I’m doing is making a difference and to be told it is and that my voice is being heard means a lot to me,” she said.

Jane’s first experience working in the field of disability advocacy was at Vision Australia.

“While I was doing post graduate study in psychology, I found out about the vision Australia Client Reference Group.

“I took the youth portfolio and I worked with that reference group for three years.

“My role was to represent people between the ages of 18 and 35 across the country and look at how Vision Australia could improve their client services or implement new services to suit the needs of younger demographics.”

Jane sits outside against a large tree
Caption: Jane has been acknowledged for years of advocacy work with a Vision Australia award

Jane went on to participate in Vision Australia’s Career Start graduate program and worked in the service innovation team, which is responsible for looking over Vision Australia’s services to ensure they continue to meet the needs of people who are blind or have low vision.

“Working in that area made me realise I really wanted to work as an advocate for people who are blind or have low vision.”

Jane now works as a national policy officer with Blind Citizens Australia, a role in which she continues to provide support for the wider blind and low vision community.

“Part of my work involves sitting in on some reference groups which focus on issues which are important to members of Blind Citizens Australia including transport, education, employment and the recent impact of COVID-19.”

Vision Australia CEO Ron Hooton said Jane had proved to be someone other young people who are blind or have low vision can look up to.

"Jane has made, in her young life, a very significant impact on the blindness and low vision community. She is a staunch advocate and fantastic role model for younger people," he said.

"For so many people in the sector, Jane is someone many people look up to."

Jane had some advice for young people who are blind or have low vision who are learning to advocate for themselves.

“When you’re first learning to advocate for yourself you don’t need to do it alone.

“You can always have someone with you, whether it’s someone in the background helping you talk through ideas or someone with you in a meeting.

“My best learning has come from talking to others who have gone through similar experiences, finding mentors to connect with and hearing about how they learnt to advocate.”

The Vision Australia Awards were first handed out in 2006 to acknowledge people and organisations who contribute time and resources to support the work of Vision Australia and the wider blind and low vision community