Young Ambassadors

Welcome to Issue 2 of STRiVE: Leisure

– the VICTA Newsletter designed, written and published by our team of Young Ambassadors

Thank you to everyone who read, shared and commented on our first edition, we hope you enjoy this second issue which is themed around leisure. As young adults this is a huge part of our lives and as a team we have a wide range of social interests we wanted to talk about.

Are there activities that you are keen to try but something is holding you back? We hope the following articles, which share our own fears and strategies to overcome such challenges, will inspire you to give something new a go.

We were keen to discover what else is out there ourselves and share our findings with you all. Perhaps you will discover something you have never even considered!

Idil, Michael, Claire, Alex, Elin and Robert – The STRiVE Team

If you would prefer to download the articles in Word format, click here to download our Word version. To view the articles online, read on!

Elin holiding a copy of the power 100 list

A VIP’s blogging experience

‘Behind the blog’

By Elin Williams
In the last few years, blogs have become one of the most popular innovations in the online world with people of different genders, ages, abilities and interests taking to a blog to share their stories, passions and opinions. I receive many questions about how I started my blog…

Read more >

Richard Wheatley

High energy particle stand-up comedy

Comedy chat with Richard Wheatley

By Alexandra Mackie
Fresh from his shows at the world famous Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Richard talks to Alex about how he got into comedy and his love of stand-up.

Plus there are plenty of laughs from our quick fire questions!

Read more >

Robert Wood

Creative arts

Part 2 of ‘We Can!’

By Robert Wood
Read the second part of Robert’s fascinating interview with Jenny Sealey MBE, CEO / Artistic Director at Graeae Theatre, looking at promoting inclusion in theatre and the arts.

“I quite like being told no, something can’t happen, it’s like the next challenge.”

Read more >

Le Gavroche

Fine dining

Meeting VICTA Patron Michel Roux Jr

By Idil Serce
Despite Michel’s high profile, he is down to earth, approachable and interested.

He greeted me on the steps of the restaurant with a wide smile and warm handshake, allowing me to relax and enjoy the moment of meeting one of the world’s greatest chefs…

Read more >

Have you thought about

There are so many activities out there you may not even have considered! How about giving some of these a go…

Have you thought about?

pole dancingPole dancing?

Read about Alex’s adventures into pole dancing!



rugbyPlaying rugby?

Archard thinks rugby is the perfect sport to get involved in!



Jolt trip of a lifetimeTaking the trip of a lifetime?

Read about Charlie’s trip



marching band Playing in a marching band?

Michael recommends it!


Surfing? Skateboarding? Sailing? Check out our other ideas here >

Claire giant chair

Independent travel

Booking trips to Dublin & beyond

By Claire-Louise Fallis
As a visually impaired person, travel can sometimes have its challenges. There are specialist companies out there that have packages that include a sighted guide for the duration of the trip to make things a little bit easier, but what if you wanted to be spontaneous?

Read more >

Out and about

Exploring your area

Out and about

By Michael Alford
Do you have an adventurous side that wants to get out and explore?

Ultimately, it all comes down to your attitude – given the right equipment and support, are you willing to get up and try a little exploring?…

Read more >

Elephant kissing Idil

International travel

Finding travel courage as a VI individual

By Idil Serce
Planning and organising a holiday can be a very stressful process for individuals who are visually impaired (VI). As a VI individual myself, l have always found myself choosing the safe and secure option to travel abroad with family or close friends…

Read more >



Breaking down barriers in recruitment

By Michael Alford
Young Ambassador Michael follows up last Issue’s employment articles.

If it’s hard for disabled people to find jobs, it’s worth remembering that it can also be quite hard for an employer to employ someone with a disability…

Read more >

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Follow the STRiVE Team’s progress

To stay-up-to-date with our progress, please follow the ambassador team on our twitter account @STRiVE_VICTA

About the VICTA Young Ambassador programme

VICTA is focused on helping young people develop the skills needed within the workplace. Our Young Ambassadors programme provides participants with opportunities to engage on projects designed to strengthen employability and build business understanding. As members of VICTA’s editorial board, the team has responsibility for the creation and production of the VICTA newsletter.

For more information email

Meet the STRiVE Team


Idil Serce

Idil Serce
Young Ambassador Intern

Idil is one of the six young ambassadors on the VICTA Young Ambassador Programme and has just completed a voluntary internship with the charity. She was involved with the planning, co-ordination and delivery of the Young Ambassador Programme and assisted with other general administrative tasks in the VICTA office.

Idil is an active VICTA service user and was part of VICTA’s first cultural discovery trip to Thailand and knows from personal experience how significant VICTA activities are in reducing the emotional stress that young people experience within their efforts to conquer life with a visual impairment. She was excited for the opportunity to contribute her personal experiences within education and employment to the Young Ambassador Programme as a way to help inspire other VI young individuals to reach their maximum potential. As a recent graduate, she wanted to use this voluntary internship to further develop the skills, knowledge and experience required for her to successfully secure a role within her chosen field of HR.

Michael Alford

Micheal Alford
Young Ambassador 2018

Michael was born and raised in South Africa, where he was diagnosed with optic nerve hypoplasia. He moved to the UK with family three and a half years ago and here continued his education, completing his A-levels last year. He enjoys music and is an enthusiastic drummer/percussionist and organist and has played a significant part in his school’s cultural life.

Michael is currently looking for an accounting apprenticeship, but ultimately hopes to run his own business. Michael applied to join the VICTA Young Ambassador programme as he felt it would be an exciting opportunity to take on a different challenge and learn some new skills other than those acquired during his formal education. He hopes this will be a valuable addition to his CV and support him towards finding the right job. It also presented an opportunity for him to make his contribution to improving understanding and opportunities for the visually impaired in the workplace. Michael hopes that his education and previous experiences will allow him to be an effective contributor to this exciting venture, and moreover, looks forward to the experience he will gain from being part of it.

Claire Louise Fallis

Claire-Louise Fallis
Young Ambassador 2018

Claire lives in Coventry where she volunteers for Coventry Resource Centre for the Blind. In 2017 she started her own music blog called Country Song after having contributed to several other blogs for a number of years. Her hobbies aside from writing include listening to and playing music (mandolin, guitar and singing), reading, walking and travelling. Claire’s love of writing attracted her to the programme and she hopes that it will move her forward into pursuing a career in music journalism.

Alexandra Mackie

Alexandra Mackie
Young Ambassador 2018

Alex is 26 and feels incredibly honoured to be chosen as a VICTA Young Ambassador. She is excited to start her role researching inspiring stories and bringing news and information to VICTA readers. Alex applied to be part of the programme as, being a visually impaired young person herself, she has sometimes felt as though there are a lack of positive role models for people her age. Alex has come to realise that you don’t have to be a super hero to inspire others and that, as a business owner, she has much to contribute.

Alex looks forward to using the skills and experience that she gains from the Young Ambassador Programme to expand her soap making business ‘The Blind Soap Maker’ and to take it to the next step. Most of all, in the process of doing so, and through the Young Ambassador Magazine, Alex hopes to inspire others to believe that the impossible is actually possible.

Elin Williams

Elin Williams
Young Ambassador 2018

Elin is a 19-years-old VICTA Young Ambassador who is currently studying a BA (Hons) degree in Arts & Humanities with The Open University. She has an aptitude for writing and aspires to pursue a career in journalism. One of her main interests is blogging; she has her own personal blog called ‘My Blurred World’, which she created just over three years ago. Elin’s blog focuses on beauty, fashion, life and disability related topics.

Elin decided to join the VICTA Young Ambassador programme as she sees it as a fantastic opportunity to express her passion for writing. She also values the great opportunity that the VICTA Young Ambassador programme will provide her in allowing her to meet new visually impaired individuals and make a new social group of friends. She is very much looking forward to what she will achieve on the VICTA Young Ambassador programme over the year.

Robert Wood

Robert Wood
Young Ambassador 2018

Robert is 20 years old and after spending the first five years of his life in Kent, he then moved to the island of Borneo where he lived for 14 years. In Brunei, Robert attended an international school and was the youngest lead role in a school play, at the age of 6. Performing Arts has remained his passion to this day. When he lost his sight due to a hypothalamic brain tumour, Robert had to develop his own methods in order to pursue his  passion for acting, writing and singing. Working with directors he was able to play parts that were adjusted to fit his visual needs.

Subsequently, Robert trained to run acting workshops for visually impaired actors and those with additional needs. This resulted in a great deal of self growth as he had to be flexible and adapt the way that he taught in order to engage the VI students and successfully enable them to overcome any feelings of inadequacy, and build their self-esteem and technical skills.

As a VICTA Young Ambassador, Robert intends to research and publicise accessible opportunities for young VI people. His aim is for everyone to be supported to achieve their full potential and ensure that no one is side-lined due to impairments; for the world to embrace young VI people and optimise their opportunities to smile and to shine.

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