Founder and Director of VisionBridge
After 5 years as Director of Development and then Senior Adviser to a leading eye research charity, Julian launched the social enterprise “VisionBridge” in June 2016, supported by a growing nationwide group of academic researchers, clinician scientists, clinicians and patient advocates. He is building on the work he started in 2014 to promote eye health, increase the awareness and understanding of sight loss and introduce the extraordinary world of eye research to the public, eye health professionals, patients and the wider Visually Impaired community across the UK.
Julian lost his sight in 2010 to a retinal inherited disease and has a personal and professional interest in the daily battles being waged in hospitals and universities across the UK to prevent sight loss, treat eye disease, restore sight and improve the quality of life for patients through enhanced rehabilitation.
He comments: “In the face of so much scientific progress, the usual barriers to maintaining a chosen livelihood, mobility, independence and emotional well being as well as enjoying travel and leisure activities will continue to dissipate. We need to get out there and give eye research a profile that is noticeable, create an image that is recognizable, speak in a language that is understandable and build a context that is inspirational!”
Eye research is still relatively unknown and remains the best kept secret amongst the UK research community, sight loss charities and their supporters, relevant government agencies, eye health professionals and patients and members of the public. This is despite the many impressive breakthroughs and developments delivered by the world class UK eye research community over the last 50 years.
At VisionBridge, we believe this situation needs to change rapidly. We need to measurably improve the level of awareness around sight loss and eye health, as well as develop sustainable additional funding streams directly into eye research, with a minimum of overheads and running costs.
VisionBridge offers a new way forward: a fully independent Community Interest Company (CIC), launched on 1 July 2016, comprising a growing community of corporate innovators, patient advocates, health executives and world class UK based academic researchers and clinician scientists. Members of this group are available to provide talks on research activity and service delivery across a wide range of areas.
VisionBridge is passionate about promoting eye research, raising awareness of sight loss and signposting donations to appropriate eye research funders.