Blindfold walk gives MP insight into street obstacles

MP Alistair Burt took part in a blindfold walk through Biggleswade to highlight the growing problem of street obstacles for the visually impaired in the town.

Tuesday, 21st July 2015, 3:47 pm
North East Beds MP Alistair Burt sees what it is like to walk in Biggleswade when visually impaired

Mr Burt has been taking part in the Royal National Institute of Blind People’s (RNIB) ‘fortnight of action’ to highlight the growing problem of street obstacles.

The MP for North East Bedfordshire took to the streets of Biggleswade with local RNIB campaigner Natalie Doig to have the experience of being guided through a busy town centre.

Mr Burt said: “Walking with Natalie whilst having my sight completely obscured was quite an unnerving experience. Considering I know Biggleswade High Street reasonably well, the realisation that there is street furniture, ‘A’ boards and the like which are all potential hazards made it a fascinating experience.

“I know Natalie and her colleagues are pressing for a local charter, collaborating with blind and partially sighted people and the local council on what changes they most want to see, and I will be adding my voice to that work.”

The most common obstacles by those with eyesight problems include bollards, advertising boards, bins and cars parked on pavements.

Natalie Doig said: “I was delighted that Alistair was able to join me on a blindfold walk around Biggleswade and his interest in disability issues as a whole is really encouraging.

“As well as helping Alistair to understand some of the difficulties blind and partially sighted people face on a day-to-day basis these walks help raise awareness in the community as a whole.

“Many of the solutions RNIB are suggesting will make our streets safer and easier for everyone to use.”

Staff from Mr Burt’s office attended sight loss awareness training in Parliament on Thursday, July 16. The event was an opportunity for them to increase their awareness of sight loss issues and focused on meeting the communication needs of blind and partially sighted constituents.

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