Spanx Pants

I love a party. I love an elegant pair of shoes, but not enough to wear them for longer than I have to. Having a back up pair of trainers under a table is a good idea. It’s not the end of the world if it’s a good party and someone starts to clear the room before you are ready to leave and they shout out, “Anyone want to claim these trainers?”

I’m unbashful. “They’re mine.”

I love a really good party dress too, but not enough to wear it for longer than I absolutely have to. That’s because a really good party dress is invariably backed up by supportive underwear that you can’t just chuck under a table if it starts to get a little uncomfortable. Imagine that. “Anyone want to claim a pair of #Bridget Jones?”  Not me.

With my trainers safely hidden under a table and my impossibly large pants safely hidden under my dress I sallied forth to party. It’s part of the life of a #Chair of Trustees; sturdy attire and enquiring conversation, never forgetting to seize the moment to make a pitch for your cause.

Launching a new brand and a new strategy is an exciting moment in anyone’s life. This was our exciting moment. #Greater London Fund for the Blind was having a rebirth for the twenty-first century. Our big reveal. We are #Vision Foundation. No more talking about the blind, the tables the chairs. Not a sight loss charity for blind people without any vision itself, but one that is forward looking.

#Vision Foundation wasn’t a name picked out of thin air. It was arrived at after a good deal of consultation with blind and partially sighted people. The same can be said about our strategy. If you are that way inclined, you can read about what we’ve got planned here. https://www.visionfoundation.org.uk/about-us/our-strategy/

I’ve been to a lot of parties that have turned out to be dreary affairs and left my stomach rumbling from the effects of warm white wine and too much saturated fat on a cocktail stick. Not this time.

#The Devonshire Club was unphased by this many blind people gathered together to devour canapés, Prosecco and speeches. There were plenty of all three. But, who were all these blind and partially sighted people standing about chatting and guzzling? People who need their energy topped up. Just as well the service was good.

There was an historian and disability activist. Check out @BlondeHistorian. She’s made a film about how the public interact with the white cane. https://twitter.com/hashtag/WhiteCaneCam?src=hashtag_click There was a former financier who happens to be a national blind tennis champion.  There was a Fund Raiser, an Olympian, a Chief Executive, a Service Director, an ex-Trauma Doctor turned Trainer, a Solicitor, a Recruiter, and a Programs Officer who writes a blog https://thisblindhijabican.wordpress.com That’s a pretty rangy group of talent for people who can’t see. I could go on but I won’t. What they all have in common is that they can think, eat, drink and achieve.

Then there was me. I might have disgraced myself. My colleague said, “Cherie Blaire would like to meet you.” This might have been a bit of repositioning of the truth but I’m not one to pass up an opportunity.

“I love your dress,” she said.

“Spanx pants,” I said.

“What?”

“Spanx pants,” I repeated.

Considering what an excellent speech Cherie gave, I could have come up with something better to say. Luckily for me she has probably heard every type of social gaff and has learnt to be forgiving. What she wasn’t forgiving of is the shockingly poor life chances that blind and partially sighted face. This is what she had to say. https://www.standard.co.uk/comment/comment/cherie-blair-finding-work-for-those-with-sight-loss-will-benefit-us-all-a4258481.html

The is what #Vision Foundation is here to change.

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