Rehabilitation Support

Vision Rehabilitation Specialists (previously Rehabilitation Officers Visually Impairment; ROVI) are trained and qualified to work with people with any degree of visual impairment, they can carry out assessments to discuss and identify difficulties in order to keep you independent. 

Meet our Rehabilitation Team

Martin, Julie and Cathy

Martin Heppell

Has been a qualified Rehabilitation Officer for 12 years and has been involved with the Wilberforce Trust since the year 2000, having formerly worked in the supported care side of the Trust. Martin has worked on a variety of sensory contracts in this time and is well known in York within his field of expertise having supported hundreds of clients to be as independent as possible whilst living with their visual impairment.

Cathy Woodward

Has been with the Trust since 2012 and was formerly a Community Sensory Officer for the Yorsensory Team. Cathy enjoyed the role and her interest in this area grew over time,  prompting her to work towards qualifying as a Rehabilitation Officer (training with North Yorkshire County Council) which she achieved with Distinction in June 2020 and continues to work with the Wilberforce Trust in her new Rehabilitation role. Cathy has already expanded her remit to include a short contract with Gateshead in addition to her work with the City of York.

Julie Day

Has been a qualified Rehabilitation Officer since 2003 and started working for the Trust in 2004 on contracts in East Riding and City of Hull.  Julie left the Trust in 2007 and worked as a Rehabilitation Officer for North Yorkshire County Council as part of their Sensory Team for almost 10 years. However Julie returned to the Trust in April 2017 to deliver Sensory Awareness Training for Wilberforce Trust employees and external organisations.

Rehabilitation Support

Rehabilitation Session

The Wilberforce Trust provide rehabilitation support to visually impaired people and have done so for many years. A Rehabilitation Officer aims to support an individual to live safely and independently through their sight loss journey, supporting them to develop their existing skills to support their changing circumstances both physically and emotionally.

The most common areas of support our team provide are:

  • Mobility and orientation training
  • Lighting assessments
  • Sight Guide Training
  • Communication (inc. embossed material)
  • Activities of daily living
  • Advice and Information
  • Emotional support
  • Signposting
  • Referrals for further support if required

We currently have a contractual agreement with the City of York Council, and have previously worked with areas such as Gateshead and East Riding of Yorkshire in addition to working with large businesses and local authorities too.

Client Quote

“As a Rehabilitation Officer, I find the role extremely fulfilling, varied and enlightening. I have met some wonderful people who have taught me a great deal over the years and I am glad to pass this knowledge on in order to help more people navigate their sight loss journey” – Martin Heppell, Rehabilitation Officer

Student Mobility Training

The Rehabilitation team have also built relationships with Higher Education authorities, local colleges and Universities. This has resulted in the YorSensory Rehabilitation team being listed on the Non-Medical Help services commissioned by Student Finance England. The Rehabilitation team, who know the areas very well, have provided mobility training to support trips from home via bus, orientation, and mobility around York train station, locating information boards, problem solving and familiarisation.

A student who attended University of York and received on and off campus training from the YorSensory team had this to say about the service:

“Working with a rehab specialist has enabled me to feel confident in a new city and on a new campus. The independence I have gained and the skills I have been taught will stay with me as I face new challenges.”

Support for Businesses

Our small team of experts not only provide support to individuals, but to businesses and organisations too, in making the world a more “friendly” place to people living with sight loss. Our team are available to provide Sensory Awareness Training, Sight Guiding or for Consultancy purposes if you require specialised support.

If you have an enquiry please call the Yorsensory Team on 01904 202292 or email

Connect with us

The Wilberforce Trust is dedicated to helping those with visual impairment, sight loss, hearing loss and other disabilities across York, North Yorkshire and the surrounding areas.