Rebecca Lunness is an eye care champion for Seeability, a UK wide charity that provides accommodation and eye care help for people with learning disabilities, autism and sight loss.
In her role Rebecca, who has a learning disability herself, utilises her natural enthusiasm, passion and friendly manner to educate other people with learning disabilities to look after their eyesight and get regular eye tests.
Prior to Seeability ,Rebecca’s first jobs consisted of voluntary work in charity shops, which she really enjoyed due to how it helped her develop her soft communication skills; her current role has enabled her to fully expand on that. She goes to different groups all over the North West and informs it’s members of the importance of maintaining their eye health, and getting frequent eye tests to pick up on any issues with their eyes before it becomes irreversible.
Like most people in the UK Rebecca has had to adapt to instability caused to her employment by the Covid pandemic. She’s gradually managed to get used to Zoom meetings and recurring lockdowns, but if it ever did become overwhelming she knows there’s support on hand via Access To Work, from who she receives funding for work equipment and some extra staff time to support her in her role. The Job Centre has also assisted her by providing a job coach that helped her settle into her job during the first six months; Rebecca even described the job coach as “essential” in helping her do her job.
For individuals with learning disabilities a job can offer a chance at independence and employment in their dream career, or as Rebecca puts it “a job gives structure, routine and a purpose in life. To be stuck at home is not healthy”.
For individuals with autism or learning disabilities Rebecca advises “Be motivated to get a job, don’t be put off by the benefits systems. I had a support worker who helped to do this. I talked to my support worker about getting a job. We were very determined. We went back to the Job centre week after week and refused to leave. We decided we would not give up without a fight. A lot of learning disabled people feel like they can’t get a job but keep trying!”