By John A Simpson AM

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INFORM, CONNECT, EMPOWER: These are the three simple words that best describe the commitment BCA makes to all of those in our community who are blind or vision impaired.

As I write, it is early May, and I am reflecting on how these simple commitments have been implemented in recent months as the world around us has changed with the onset of the Coronavirus Pandemic. While I appreciate that COVID-19 has made life particularly difficult for many in the community who are blind or vision impaired, I am also extremely proud of the ways in which BCA has been able to act swiftly to modify our activities to meet your needs as members and friends of the organisation.

Elsewhere in this edition of Blind Citizens News, you will read more about the changes we have made and the ways in which we have been able to provide support at an individual level, and to represent the needs of people who are blind or vision impaired to Government, the corporate sector and wider community. However, I want to take this opportunity to express my heart-felt thanks to our staff, Directors and the leaders of our various branches for the ways in which they have committed themselves to ensuring that BCA has adapted quickly to this fast-changing world.

I also want to congratulate and thank our members for the ways in which you have engaged with the organisation over these last few months. Your willingness to share openly your concerns and frustrations at this time; and your offerings of positive suggestions and solutions to the many challenges we have all faced, have provided the motivation that our staff and leaders have drawn on in their efforts to deliver on BCA’s commitment.

By the time you read this, the world around us will have changed again with a lessening of social isolation, and hopefully increased government and community understanding of the particular needs we have as people who are blind or vision impaired. As BCA is an agile and progressive organisation, with strong support from its members; well-managed resources; and the hard-earned respect of government and the wider community, I am confident that we are well-placed to apply the lessons of this time of crisis to our longer-term development and outreach.

In particular the innovative ways in which we now “connect” with our members; the traditional and more recent mechanisms that we use to “inform” our stakeholders and our tireless efforts to “empower” people who are blind or vision impaired through individual and systemic advocacy, leadership training and mentoring will provide a solid platform from which we can ensure that BCA continues as the true national voice of our community.

While our Board and staff have maintained a focus on meeting the short-term needs of our members in recent months, I want to assure you that we have not lost sight of the longer-term direction of our organisation. As the immediacy of the Coronavirus Pandemic recedes, we are committed to doubling our efforts to connect, inform and empower the community we serve. I, along with all Directors and staff, take this opportunity to wish you, our members, good health and happiness in the days of limited social contact and community engagement that are still before us. We can be assured that BCA will be there to support us all, in both the short and long term.

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