In the early days VICTA was as a local support group, families met for coffee and for days out, it was a time to share, laugh and cry with each other about the highs and lows of living with a visually impaired child. So often as a parent you feel alone and the ‘system’ seems very daunting to tackle. Being able to talk to others in the same situation helps. VICTA stands for visually impaired children taking action.
VICTA was also a chance for children to get to know other visually impaired youngsters, and for siblings to share their thoughts with other siblings about living with a blind brother or sister. John Brookes, a father, noticed the lack of provision for blind children in local schools. He fought the LEA for his blind daughter to be provided with a ‘statement of special educational needs.’ And more importantly, for it to be correctly written ensuring that she received the appropriate support. John decided to share his learning with other families in the same situation to help them to achieve the same result.
John’s determination and resolve, indeed his ‘notoriety’ for getting things done was soon in demand country wide. In helping families to overcome the challenges presented by local authorities, John began to realise that there were also financial challenges to overcome. Some families just couldn’t afford to purchase the desperately needed equipment or pay for vacation holidays so that their children could learn much needed living and social skills. When John was offered the opportunity to purchase places in the Virgin Money London Marathon, to raise money to support children and young people who are blind or partially sighted across the UK he said yes.
VICTA was born out of this.
John Brookes sadly died in August 2015. His wife Nina, daughter Lara and grandchildren continue to live in Wales. We are grateful for the work that John has done for VICTA over the years and for his Patronage until his death. We will endeavour to continue the good work he began.