My name is Chris Biles, I was born in 1968, and have had varying levels of visual impairment for the whole of my life – so far. More precisely, I had a limited amount of partial sight, which enabled me to experience shape and colour through my formative years, but my eye condition of Glaucoma escalated to the extent that this area of visual function had ceased by the early 1990s.
My connections with the Isle of Wight Society for the Blind (now known as Sight for Wight) go back to the mid 1980s, when I started receiving the regular audio digest of the County Press, then recorded onto cassette. This was a useful source of local information, even when living off island while I was completing my post school education and related training. As someone who, for years, has taken an interest in various current affairs, being able to keep up-to-date with local topics of contention has been invaluable.
Having secured gainful employment in 1995, I started to make regular use of the Society’s services and social groups in order to give some variety to my free time interests. I have, for instance, been regularly attending the weekly swimming sessions since these started just over 20 years ago. In more recent times, I have participated in local group walks.
My personal interests include overseas travel, which has enabled me to communicate in other European languages. I also involve myself in a lot of reading which, over recent months, has included my involvement with an audio book discussion group, which is coordinated by Sight for Wight in collaboration with Newport’s Lord Louis Library.
At the beginning of 2018, I took up the opportunity to become a member of this organisation’s Board of Trustees. I think my broad range of educational experiences in a combination of mainstream and specialist provision settings, along with just over 20 years in paid employment, gives me a range of insights into living with sight loss. This is something, which I hope, I can build upon and share with others through my involvement as a Society trustee.