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SRSBs Gadget Man

Photograph of Rob in Equipment Centre with lots of watches on his arm

As British Summertime arrives this weekend Rob McCann springs into action as he prepares to change numerous clocks and watches at SRSB

Known as the “gadget man” he’s the go-to-guy for all the clients who need the time changed on their talking watches and clocks.

“Clients are already asking me if I can alter their watches and clocks as they are unable to see to do it for themselves” said Rob whose official title is Equipment Centre Co-Ordinator at SRSB’s Mappin Street Centre.

From early morning this week there will be a queues forming with people needing me to change the time on various items.

The Equipment Centre at SRSB is a public shop and it’s open to anyone who needs aids for people who have sight problems, not just their clients. It has all kinds of gadgets and Rob is an expert in helping people finds the right one for their own particular needs.

“If someone is in the early stages of sight loss we can help them with something as simple as a felt pen which makes it easier for them to read their own writing. And we go from that to top end cutting-edge technology.”

“We have talking bathroom scales, kitchen scales, colour detectors, label readers, talking readers, magnifiers as well as talking watches and clocks and all the things like smart phones and tablets”

Rob, who is 55 and a former IT technician, was diagnosed with Stargardt’s Macular Dystrophy, a genetic disorder, when he was 21. Although he is registered blind, he does have some sight. He is understanding of people’s feelings and is a great support to clients with sight loss. He says, “People walk down here from the Royal Hallamshire Hospital having been told they are going blind. It feels like a bereavement, the feeling of loss is immeasurable. When they realise I have also got a problem they know that I do understand, that I have lived it, and they stop being defensive.

“It can change their whole attitude, and that has happened. That’s why I love working at SRSB. I am always happy to give people time.”

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