Meet Kate, our new Enablement Officer in Oldham

After our exciting announcement about Henshaws recent merger with Sight Support Oldham (SSO), we would like to introduce Kate Nattrass, our new Enablement Officer who is based at Medtia Place in Oldham.

Kate Nattrass 740 x 420

Kate tells us more about her background and how she hopes to help people living with sight loss in the Oldham community:

“Firstly let me begin by introducing myself and letting you know a bit about my background. I am originally from Uppermill and lived there for 28 years before moving to the Heywood area where I have lived for the past 16 years.

I arrived very much in a hurry when my mum was only 26 weeks pregnant and born at home. I was then dashed to Boundary Park Hospital and I spent the first 3 months of my life in the special care baby unit only being given 24 hours to survive and weighing only 2lbs.

As a result of my early birth it was debatable as to whether my eyes were formed properly or had I’d been given too much oxygen but if they hadn’t given me it I wouldn’t be here today. I was registered blind at about 18 months. This must have been a very difficult time for my family as there weren’t the support networks available in the 1970’s as there is today.

As an adult, Manchester Royal Eye Hospital told me that I was going to lose my sight completely and I decided to apply for a guide dog as my sight was getting worse and I started to receive assistance from a Rehab Officer. Two years later I lost my sight completely and I now have no light or dark perception. I was in my first term away from home at university in Sheffield – the timing wasn’t ideal! This was a life changing experience for me but I did go back to university the following year and with support from my family completed my BA Hons degree in Business and Management.

I have always had a great work ethic and wasn’t going to let the small matter of no sight stop me from working, once I completed my degree I worked for two different housing providers as well as within Adult Care for my local authority. I am not going to pretend that it has been easy however my bills have to be paid somehow and I am determined!

I have a fantastic guide dog Polly, who will be nine this year and comes everywhere with me, we are quite a team. She is my third guide dog and they have all made such an enormous difference to me. I wouldn’t have achieved what I have without my faithful friends by my side.

I am absolutely delighted to be commencing this new post with Henshaws and want to be able to work with as many visually impaired people as possible within their community, in the Oldham area. It feels like I’m coming back home to my roots and I want to be able to make a difference to people’s lives on an individual basis.

As part of my job role I will be delivering courses on a tailor made basis, offering advice and guidance and signposting on to other organisations and networking with services already available in Oldham. It is important that agencies work together more effectively so that people can experience a more seamless service. When I lost my sight I could so easily have given up but it has given me more determination to assist others and share information.

I look forward to developing both this job role as Oldham’s Community Enablement Officer along with my own personal development, knowledge and skills.”

An image of Kate at our SSO merger launch event

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to call Kate on 0300 222 5555 or e-mail: kate.nattrass@henshaws.org.uk.

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Sabine
Sabine is a Marketing Officer at Henshaws and is responsible for all marketing and communications activity for community services across Manchester, Liverpool and Newcastle.
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