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Rotherham phone shop commended for support to blind worker

Mark Skelton, centre, and Matt Hards, of Action for Blind People, left, hand over Action for Blind People's see the capability not the disability award to Zak Patel, Talk Direct managing director.

Mark Skelton, centre, and Matt Hards, of Action for Blind People, left, hand over Action for Blind People's see the capability not the disability award to Zak Patel, Talk Direct managing director.

 

A phone shop in Rotherham has been recognised for the support it has provided to a blind employee.

The O2 store, College Street, which is run by franchise Talk Direct, has been presented with an award by charity Action for Blind People.

The shop has been working with the charity to provide a suitable working environment for Mark Skelton, who was working as assistant manager in the store when his sight started to deteriorate as a result of diabetic retinopathy.

Mark’s sight loss made it difficult for him to carry out his daily duties, with tasks such as using a computer becoming a struggle.

He contacted Action for Blind People, who worked with him and his employer to help him continue in his work at the store.

Mark is now the ambassador of iCare, a new project from Talk Direct, aimed at helping people with sight loss use and benefit from the latest smart phone technology.

He said: “Admitting to the company I was losing my sight was one of the hardest things I have ever done, but Talk Direct supported me and is encouraging me to use my disability to help others. Talk Direct also got phone manufacturers Samsung and Sony involved; they were extremely helpful, donating 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.

“Talk Direct is so deserving of an Action for Blind People ‘See the Capability, not the Disability’ award. I’m thrilled the charity has supported the nomination.

Matt Hards, Action for Blind People employment co-ordinator, said: “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.”

 

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