VI Talk – ‘Sharing ideas, information and support’

“Hi, my name’s Jo Fishwick and I’m the co-creator of VI Talk, a popular online podcast for blind and visually impaired people. I thought I’d give an insight into the person behind the podcast, how it was created and how you too can join in with your stories!

VI Talk – ‘Sharing ideas, information and support’

I’m 43 and from the North West of England, now living in Devon, and I was born with a sight problem that no one seemed to be able to put a name to! My sight gradually deteriorated until I lost the last bit in my late teens. I’m married and have a 12 year old daughter, and both my husband and daughter are fully sighted.

I’m currently training with my third Guide Dog, Bruno, and finding it challenging but very rewarding! I’m a bit less of a thrill seeker than I used to be. I’ve driven a dual controlled car at 80 mph, been on the back of a motor bike at 100 mph, taken the controls of a glider and used to enjoy cross country skiing!

I run a Braille support group on Facebook and I also run VI Talk with Michael, the other co-creator. We started with a Facebook group and with Twitter account back in January 2014 and I then had the idea of asking AudioBoom for a channel. They liked the idea and the VI Talk channel was born in March last year!

VI Talk – ‘Sharing ideas, information and support’ 2The VI Talk tag line has become, “Sharing ideas, information and support” – and it really does work! We have nearly 700 members in the Facebook group alone ranging from visually impaired young people and adults to sighted parents with visually impaired children, and representatives from charities, groups and organisations. As long as you’re old enough to use Facebook, you’re welcome on the group!

Michael and I are lucky enough to interview some amazing people who tell us informative and often inspirational stories. These interviews are put on the AudioBoom channel and we also piece other features together to make podcasts. We have a section called “the coffee break”, where we interview VI musicians / singers, and we even got to speak to Andrea Begley – winner of The Voice UK!

We run a website too and another member of our team writes regular blog posts on a variety of subjects. Our volunteer reader makes it possible for us to put the blogs on our channel too. There are other other features on our channel; Emily, from Fashioneyesta, provides fashion and beauty articles, Sophia is doing an audio blog about being a visually impaired Mum-to-be and I’m recording an audio blog about my Guide Dog experience. We’re hoping to include a cookery spot really soon! Sam, a visually impaired listener, will be cooking in real-time and hopefully we can help people get into the kitchen and build their confidence! A very new addition to VI Talk is our book club. This is a Facebook group with suggested reading and a chance to discuss what you’ve read. We’re hoping this will grow and perhaps we’ll have some Skype book discussions!

As you can see with everything that VI Talk entails, I’m kept pretty busy. I love helping people and it’s lovely to watch people interact and share information and help each other in the process.

VI talk

How can I get involved?

Here are the various ways that you can find VI Talk and get in touch, if you’d like to get involved, or have any questions:

Skype Name: vitalkpodcast
Twitter: @vitalkpodcast
Facebook Page:
Facebook Group:

You can also find us on the Sonata player and on iBlink Radio. You’ll find both our podcasts and Boom feed in these places. Alternatively, you can also download our podcasts from iTunes. If you have any problems please don’t hesitate to get in touch.”

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Kimberley is a Henshaws volunteer and service user of over two years. She is Co-Chair to the RNIB young person's campaigning network, Envision, a blogger, columnist, artist and an illustrator; previously the RNIB's Young Illustrator for 2014.
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