UCAN Productions is an award winning performance and creative arts co-operative for blind and partially sighted children, young people and their friends between the ages of 7 and 25. Based in Cardiff, UCAN (Unique Creative Arts Network) works across the UK and exists to prove that visual impairment is no barrier to success. Programmes help to develop physical and vocal confidence, raise aspirations and promote individual abilities.
The organisation was established in 2005 by professional actor/director Bernie Latham and his wife Jane to enable blind and partially sighted young people in the UK to have access to the arts. The couple were inspired to create the organisation after volunteering for a blind school in Sierra Leone, West Africa. In the beginning, UCAN worked with twelve visually impaired young people in Cardiff and now has a growing membership of over 600 blind and partially sighted young people throughout the UK.
UCAN works in partnership with many organisations including RNIB Cymru, Cardiff University School of Optometry and Vision Sciences, Disability Arts Cymru and Action for Blind People. In 2012 Jane Latham was awarded a Winston Churchill Travel Fellowship, which has allowed the organisation to build links with similar organisations in the United States.
The organisation is managed by a highly committed and professional board of Directors and UCAN Productions’ Young People’s Steering Committee (YPSC), which has nine members made up from the original first group from 2005. The YPSC is chaired by Lloyd Coleman.
Lloyd Coleman, Junior Chairman
“UCAN has had a huge impact on my life, both personally and professionally. The experiences I’ve had through UCAN have given me an optimism and self-esteem that would not have developed in the same way had I not been a member. They have also given me that important sense of drive and ambition – not, I hope, in the ruthless and selfish sense, but more in the spirit and belief that there is a positive future out there for every individual to go and grab for themselves. Whilst visual impairment is the one similarity that brings everyone together at UCAN, we wholeheartedly reject the idea that it actually defines anyone. We see past the disability, and we exist to show others how to do the same.”
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