Chi pledges to lobby Ministers to champion the rights of people with sight loss

Chi Onwurah MP for Newcastle Central took part in a blindfold challenge at Newcastle Central station.

During the challenge Chi wore glasses that simulate common sight loss conditions to experience the barriers faced by blind and partially people when travelling in our city e.g. lack of accessible ticket machines, advertising boards and the importance of mobility assistance staff at train stations.

RNIB has been working with local disability charities to finalise a street charter with Newcastle City Council to create a more accessible street environment for disabled people.

Chi was joined by RNIB Regional Campaigns Officer Francesca Di Giorgio, local residents and RNIB Volunteer Campaign Coordinators Hazel Hyland and Angus Huntley, Guide Dogs Engagement Officer Linda Oliver.

Chi Onwurah said:

“I’m grateful to RNIB for arranging the ‘blindfold’ challenge around Newcastle Central station. Talking to local residents with sight loss, and then attempting to make my way through the station while wearing the simulation spectacles and really put the issues blind and partially sighted people face into perspective.

“I urge the Transport Minister, Chris Grayling, to release a response regarding future plans for train tickets offices and the support that will be made available for blind and partially sighted customers and pledge my support for the progression of the Newcastle Street Charter, ensuring Newcastle’s streets are accessible to everyone.”

Angus Huntley, who is registered blind, said: “As someone with sight loss, navigating the station can be challenging and I am grateful to Chi for taking time to join us today.

“All people have the right to travel safely and independently, blind and partially sighted people included. I rely on independent travel in my personal and work life. This may be hindered if redevelopments of train the station do not take into account the needs of people with sight loss.

“Chi Onwurah really listened to our concerns and we’re looking forward to continuing to work with her to launch the Newcastle Street Charter.”

Notes to editors

  1. For General media enquiries, please contact Francesca Di Giorgio on 07921280519, email Francesca.DiGiorgio@rnib.org.uk  
  2. About RNIB Street Charters
  3. For more information please visit www.rnib.org.uk/onmystreetRNIB has produced a Street Charter toolkit with blind and partially sighted people on what changes they most want to see. Campaigners will use the toolkit to create their own charters alongside their local councils.
  • About RNIB

Every 15 minutes, someone in the UK begins to lose their sight. We are the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and we’re here for everyone affected by sight loss – that’s almost 2 million people in the UK. If you, or someone you know, has a sight problem, RNIB can help.

Call the RNIB Helpline on 0303 123 9999 or visit www.rnib.org.uk

-Ends

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