Eleanor Southwood to become chair of the RNIB

Eleanor Southwood will become the new chair of the Royal National Institute of Blind People Picture:

Eleanor Southwood will become the new chair of the Royal National Institute of Blind People Picture: Eleanor Southwood - Credit: Archant

Queens Park councillor Eleanor Southwood is to become chair of the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB). Ms Southwood is currently vice chair of the organisation but with Kevin Carey set to step down from his current role, the Labour councillor is in line for a promotion.

The RNIB support people who are blind and partially sighted. Ms Southwood, who was born blind, knows exactly what she wants to do when she takes up her new role.

“I want to make it much easier for people who suffer from sight loss to talk to each other. One of the most common issues that affect people with sight loss is isolation. But I also want people to realise that you can still achieve fabulous things with the right support,” she said.

The RNIB also help support individuals whose eyesight has begun to deteriorate, but Ms Southwood, who has been involved with the RNIB since 2010, says when people start to lose their eyesight it doesn’t mean they can’t achieve their dreams.

“When people start to lose their eyesight in work, they think they can’t work anymore but this is not true. 75% of people who are blind or partially sighted and unemployed can’t actually find work but losing your eyesight doesn’t need to be a barrier. You can still lead a full and successful life.”


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Ms Southwood has held her position as Brent councillor since 2014 and is currently the lead member for the envirnment, in charge of a range of services including open spaces.

The new chair has worked in the public, commercial and not-for-profit sectors. Her roles have included policy and research work on how to improve public services, recruitment for senior jobs in a range of public and charitable organisations, and consultancy work to help organisations going through change.

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Ms Southwood has a Masters in Organisational Behaviour and a first degree in Philosophy Politics and Economics from Oxford University, and is a Clore Leadership Fellow.

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