Hello, my name is Laura Gardiner and I was really delighted and proud to be invited onto the Board of Trustees in August 2017.
As a trustee, I want to promote the Society to all those who would benefit from its services and groups. Sight loss can be isolating and through my own personal experience I know the value and importance of talking to others who have found themselves in a similar situation. In particular, I am keen for the Society to be accessible to all communities on our Island. I am an Eye Clinic Liaison Officer (ECLO) for the Eye Clinic at St Mary’s Hospital on the Island and employed by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).
In August 2009, I had sudden and unexplained sight loss which affected me in ways I could never have imagined. As a result of my journey through the various hospital departments, both here and on the mainland, and my experiences of accessing services, I jumped at the chance to become an ECLO when the position was created in 2015. My role is to guide patients, family, carers and provide practical and emotional support.
I was originally born in the Lake District, moving to the Midlands in the late 1980s, and moving eventually to the Island in 1999. I studied for my A Levels at Carisbrooke High School (as it was then) before taking a gap year which I spent working at the Needles Battery.
In 2002, I went onto study for a History Degree at the University of Winchester, graduating in 2005.
I spent 10 years working for the local MP on the Island undertaking case work for constituents ranging from problems with welfare, housing, health issues both locally and nationally and national issues of concern to Island residents. I love travelling and have been lucky enough to explore some incredible places around the world. I am an animal lover and am always at my happiest when with a cat or dog! I enjoy reading and some of my favourite authors are Agatha Christie, Wilkie Collins and Kate Morton. I continue to be fascinated by History, in particular the Victorian era, and any aspect relating to social history. I am currently attempting to learn Mauritian Creole which is proving to be a slow and challenging process!