Councillor’s self-esteem restored through community role after being registered blind

PUBLISHED: 17:13 05 January 2018 | UPDATED: 17:22 05 January 2018

Oulton councillor Keith Robinson. Picture: Nick Butcher

Oulton councillor Keith Robinson. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2017

A councillor has told how his public position enabled him to overcome depression and restore his self-esteem after he lost his vision and was left unable to work.

Oulton councillor Keith Robinson. Picture: Nick ButcherOulton councillor Keith Robinson. Picture: Nick Butcher

Keith Robinson is registered as blind and currently holds the Oulton Broad seat for both Suffolk County Council and Waveney District Council.

The sight in his right eye was lost completely after he slipped and banged his head working as a mechanic in 2014, while a 30-year battle with diabetes resulted in the majority of the sight in his left eye being lost.

Mr Robinson said: “I live in a small world, seeing only a small amount in the middle of my left eye.”

Oulton councillor Keith Robinson. Picture: Nick ButcherOulton councillor Keith Robinson. Picture: Nick Butcher

After being declared unfit to work, Mr Robinson’s self-esteem began to deteriorate.

He said: “I was feeling extremely sorry for myself, feeling useless now I wasn’t providing.

“I had no reason to get up in the mornings and if I’m honest I got rather depressed.”

However, this all changed during the 2015 General Election when he visited Waveney MP Peter Aldous to see if he could help with his campaign.

Mr Robinson said: “Soon I was walking the streets, delivering leaflets and interacting with people – it gave me a focus.

“I got friendly with Peter Aldous, Mark Bee and the late Colin Law and they encouraged me to get more involved.”

Eventually Mr Robinson was asked to stand for Suffolk County Council and was left “stunned and amazed” to win.

He also took over the Oulton Broad seat for Waveney District Council following the death of Mr Law in May last year. A seat he retained in a September by-election.

As Mr Robinson became more deeply involved with his role as a councillor he started to experience a renewed vigour and increased self-confidence.

He said: “It made me feel a lot better about myself by thinking I could help do good things.

“Part of the reason I became a councillor was because I liked talking to people. As I got more involved I became less depressed.”

Mr Robinson added: “Money isn’t everything but a sense of value and self-worth is important and you can get that by contributing to what you feel is important.”

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