MEMBERS of Nailsworth Town Council had their eyes opened to a number of problems and difficulties faced by the blind at a meeting on Tuesday, July 1.
Sue Bushell, community engagement officer for charity Guide Dogs for the Blind, underlined the need for council co-operation in helping those with sight difficulties.
“Blindness can take away peoples freedom and independence” she said.
“Guide dogs can help restore people’s confidence. I had a thank you letter from a Gloucester man who had not been out by himself for seven years before he owned a guide dog.”
Mrs Bushell explained the charities Streets Ahead campaign to the council, who were in agreement that positive action was needed to help the blind and will now look at what changes can be made in the town.
There are over 3,000 registered blind in Gloucestershire, nearly all of whom said they are uneasy about venturing our because of street clutter. This is a major hindrance which includes advertising boards, over-hanging branches and wheelie bins, all items which can obstruct the blind on pavements.
Streets Ahead is asking people to: Cut branches and overgrown hedges, put away wheelie bins, pick up and bin any loose rubbish and clear up any broken glass found, tell councillors about badly maintained pavements and, most importantly, don’t park cars on the pavements.
Mrs Bushell said: “Using Nailsworth as a case study, I know of people who would love to go shopping on Market Street, but are unable to because of the people and clutter. They have to go shopping in big supermarkets where there are large parking spaces and easier access.
“This is something we need to work with in the village” she said.
Guide Dogs for the Blind was founded in 1931 and now has 1,200 staff and 12,000 volunteers.
Among the beneficiaries is blind councillor Michael Kelly who attended the meeting with his black guide dog Jay. For more information visit www.guidedogs.org.uk/supportus/campaigns