Visually impaired man’s sensory odyssey

A visually impaired man, currently socially isolating in London, has designed a 14 day ‘Sensory Odyssey’ offering people with disabilities who are struggling through the coronavirus pandemic to connect with nature more effectively.

Andy Shipley’s ‘Sustain’ course is already drawing plaudits from those taking part with one participant describing it as a “a breath of fresh air in every way”.

Rory Carol of west London, who started Andy’s course a few days ago after seeing a Facebook post, went on: “It was a really welcome break to each day. Something different and interesting during this time when pastimes and distractions are limited but most of all it was a brilliant combination of relaxing meditation and intelligent appreciation of the natural world on our doorstep and further afield.”

Andy, 56, explained: “I have been visually impaired for much of my life. I have channeled this experience into my work as a facilitator, speaker and coach fueled by my twin passions for the natural world and an inclusive society.

“The course offers people a daily sensory exercise to enable them to connect more deeply with the nature on their doorstep, as well as one or two links to little morsels of inspiration, fascination or curiosity relating to a particular theme for each day.

“I believe our future as a species depends on people acquiring a deeper relationship with those around them, and with the natural world. To achieve this we need to open people’s hearts to the value of nature and awaken their sense of belonging.

“Tapping into diverse perspectives can help. In this respect visually impaired people such as myself can help us appreciate our non-visual senses, deepening our connection with the world around us and disrupting society’s view of what disabled people have to offer,” added Andy who lives in Buckinghamshire but is currently self isolating with his partner in the capital.

He continued: “The multi-sensory nature immersion experiences I have developed enable you to really notice the textures under your toes, the breath of the breeze and the banter of the birds. They help reconfigure and rebalance your sensory relationship with nature and shift your perspectives in everyday life.”

For more information about the course visit

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