The Royal National Institute of Blind People in Northern Ireland (RNIB NI) are proud to announce Andrea Begley as the new ambassador for the sight loss charity.
Andrea, who won The Voice UK in 2013, is a well-known local personality and artist from Co. Tyrone. She is also an active RNIB NI committee member and a long term supporter of our charity’s work here within the sight loss community.
As a child Andrea was diagnosed with Glaucoma, an eye condition that affects the pressure within the eye. As a result, in her own words, Andrea now has approximately 10 per cent vision remaining.
Andrea was recently approached to support our work here in Northern Ireland, with a particular focus on our Children and Families service. At present we support eight hundred children and their families affected by sight loss, but the need for our services is increasing. Last year over one hundred new families contacted our Children and Families service for emotional and practical support. Andrea feels extremely passionate about mobilising support for these young people and their families across Northern Ireland through her new ambassador role.
In the past number of years, Andrea has worked with our Children and Families service. As our guest speaker at the launch of our publication ‘Looking ahead: a parent’s guide’ for parents of children who are blind or partially sighted in Belfast City Hall. She delivered an inspirational speech to over 100 young people and families highlighting her own personal challenges of living with sight loss and was testament to proving that people can overcome adversity and live independent and fulfilling lives. As music is her real passion she has also provided expert tuition and advice to young people with sight loss at a series of music workshops held last summer.
Speaking about her role as RNIB NI ambassador, Andrea said: I’m absolutely delighted to be an ambassador for RNIB in Northern Ireland. I’ve always had an interest and passion for issues around sight loss and I think there are still huge barriers and hurdles facing people with sight loss living in today’s society. In recent times, I’ve got more involved with the RNIB NI Children and Families service team. Growing up as a young person with sight loss, I know first-hand, the challenges and problems you can experience. I’m really looking forward to what being an ambassador for RNIB NI will bring.”
Over the next two years, Andrea will also lend her support to other elements of our charity’s activities such as fundraising, public engagements, promoting key campaigns and influencing public representatives. Her vital work as an ambassador for the charity is integral to our ambition of making every day better for everyone affected by sight loss. You can view a short video, in which Andrea sets out her motives for becoming an ambassador for our charity and describes her own personal sight loss journey. Just search ‘Andrea Begley RNIB’ on Youtube.
Director of RNIB NI, David Galloway said: “For some years now Andrea has gone to great lengths to support and promote our work with people living with sight loss in NI; first as a volunteer and enthusiastic campaigner and now as a member of the RNIB Northern Ireland committee. I know I speak for my team of staff and volunteers when I say how thrilled we are that Andrea has agreed to publicly support our work and I look forward to working alongside her now and in the future.”
Andrea, now joins a list of well-known and highly respected personalities from sports, music, film and performing arts including Paralympian Kelly Gallagher (MBE) and many others who are already serving in this capacity.