RNIB takes candidates on “blindfold walk”

Leith walk, photo 1 (1)

Sight loss charity appeals to potential MPs to recognise the value of accessible

streets.

3rd December 2019 by Gavin Stuart 0 Comments

Candidates for a Scottish parliamentary seat have experienced first-hand the hazards faced by blind and partially sighted voters.

In an appeal for MPs to recognise the importance of accessible streets, RNIB Scotland gave three candidates for the Edinburgh North and Leith constituency spectacles that simulate sight loss conditions.

The candidates were then taken for a stroll along Edinburgh's Leith Walk, accompanied by Alan Dudley and his guide dog Gemma.

Labour’s Gordon Munro, Iain McGill from the Conservatives and Heather Jane Astbury of the Renew party all took part in the walk, with the SNP’s Deirdre Brock participating later on Tuesday.

Following the walk, Ms Astbury tweeted: “Thank you to @RNIB for taking me on a blindfold walk today. Not only did I lose my sight, I also lost my balance - and became so much more aware of uneven pavements! I have renewed respect for people who are living with sight loss and am happy to be an #RNIBChampion.”

Catriona Burness, campaigns manager for RNIB Scotland, said: "We know streets can't always be free of clutter. But we can do more to make them accessible. That's why we are urging elected MPs to help ensure that blind and partially sighted people are able to get out and about independently.

"Shared space developments, for example - which remove separations between cycleways, roads and pavements - are hazardous for blind and partially sighted pedestrians.

“We want MPs to act on growing concerns about these and deliver on the recommendations on accessible street design set out in Westminster's Women and Equalities Committee Report, Building for Equality: Disability and the Built Environment.”