J is for Just the thing

This is Gillian Thomas. Gillian works for the council as a rehabilitation officer who supports people with visual impairment.

J is for Just a thing

The aim of her role is finding solutions to issues that affect someone's ability to live an independent life. Gillian does this through assessing needs and providing support and training - including use of white canes.

After studying a diploma in rehabilitation studies specialising in visual impairment, Gillian learnt about different eye conditions and skills including Braille, touch-typing, independent living skills and how to use canes.

She has been working in this industry since 1995 and has been with Dumfries and Galloway Council since 2013.

Support from Gillian comes in many forms - one client was moved to tears when a specific light was placed in her home that allowed her to read for the first time in months.

Another client has been supported for years as they navigate everything from cooking to using public transport on their own.

Fact - Gillian is one of only three people in our council who can tutor clients in cane use.

Fact - Did you know that on the underside of a pedestrian crossing signalling box there is a rotating cone that visually impaired people hold, which rotates in your hand to signal it is safe to cross?

Said Gillian: "I love my job so much. I saw a cane user who I supported walk through town the other day and I was so proud of them and of myself too; for being the one that enabled them to use the cane and get in and out of town, living life to the fullest.

"My work is so varied, sometimes you have quick wins and other times you take it very slowly, but there is always progress to be had - and this means a lot to me."

Gillian, you told us that your aim is to make people's lives "bigger, bolder and brighter", and that is exactly what you do every single day. Thank you. 

Page last updated: 06/10/2023
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