Toward the end of a busy day in Great Yarmouth yesterday, I experienced something out of the usual, even for a Member of Parliament!
I met constituent Siobhan, her guide dog Mack and Emily from the Royal National Institute for the Blind. Siobhan and Emily talked to me about the challenges that blind and partially sighted people meet on a day to day basis. They then led me, in a blindfold, through the market place, Market Gates and down Regent Road. This allowed me to experience for myself the problems of not being able to see A boards in the street, traffic light signal indicators, tactile surfacing at crossings, not being able to hear cars and other dangers in high wind and getting on a downwards escalator with a blindfold on.
I am very grateful to Siobhan, Emily and Mack for taking me around Great Yarmouth. Even the short time I spent with a blindfold on helped to really drive home the continuous challenges in the day to day lives of blind and partially sighted people. I am continually amazed at the way people overcome the difficulties presented to them in life – the London Paralympics were fantastic and it is essential that we do not forget now that the sport has finished. It was also great to hear more about the fantastic work that the RNIB do for local people. I would recommend that people find out more about the RNIB and why not try a blindfolded walk?