Jane Latham from National Lottery-funded UCAN Productions describes how a trip to America created opportunities for visually impaired young people in Wales:
I used to think that when I reached my late 50’s I would hopefully be coasting towards a gentle retirement in the sun but life is busier now that it has ever been. 2012 has been an amazing year and probably one of the best year’s of my life and it’s all down to the wonderful young people I work with.
I am incredibly fortunate to be the Development Director of UCAN Productions which is a performance arts group for blind and partially sighted young people. UCAN has groups all over Wales and we have for the last three years been running a National Lottery funded project called Radio UCAN with our partners RNIB Cymru.
The project helps visually impaired young people create content for INSIGHT Radio and other community radio stations. The aim of Radio UCAN is to teach our young people new skills and to highlight their enormous talent. We have always hoped that our project would lead to bigger things and more opportunities for visually impaired young people in Wales, and I am very pleased to report this is exactly what has happened!
I was recently awarded a Winston Churchill Travel Fellowship, which I used to travel around America seeking out new friends and opportunities for UCAN members. On arriving at the world famous Perkins School for the Blind in Boston I met up with a wonderful young man called Matt who helps manage the Perkins Schools Grousbeck Technology Centre.
To my delight the School had just launched their very own radio station and as luck would have it they were looking for content to broadcast. After listening to all the work we had done on Radio UCAN, Matt announced that he would be happy to broadcast many of our items, including our soap opera ‘Latham Lane’. Needless to say all the UCAN members and I are delighted and we are looking forward to collaboratively working with our new found American friends on projects over the internet. I think I’ll wait a little longer before I think of retiring.
To listen to Radio UCAN go to www.ucanproductions.org