West Midlands SLCs highlight the obstacles that visually impaired people face whilst shopping and socialising

West Midlands Sight Loss Councils invited the public, retailers and staff to experience a shopping trip as a blind or partially sighted person.

The event took place at Merry Hill Shopping Centre. Merry Hill Shopping Centre lit up the shopping centre purple to mark the event and Purple Tuesday!

Merry Hill shopping centre lit up in purple

SLC members and staff talked to attendees about the small changes that make shopping more accessible and enjoyable to blind and partially sighted customers.

West Midlands Sight Loss Councils engagement manager Louise Connop says:

“Purple Tuesday is an important date in the calendar to highlight the obstacles that blind and partially sighted people may face whilst out and about shopping and socialising.  By working collaboratively with the community all year round visually impaired people can enjoy the physical shopping experience in the same way as their sighted peers. West Midlands sight loss councils are really pleased that Merry Hill shopping centre are supporting this event not only today but everyday”

West Midlands SLC members posing at Purple Tuesday stand

West Midlands Sight Loss Councils, invited event attendees to try simulation spectacles that simulate different eye conditions. Participating retailers were asked to perform simple shopping tasks, such as checking the price of a product or finding a piece of clothing in a particular size while wearing Sim-Specs.


Card factory’s store manager said:


“We approach every customer that comes in store and offer relevant help whether it’s someone with a visual impairment, in a wheelchair or elderly. The glasses are disorienting and show how some of our customers experience our store”

Whilst wearing my the glaucoma aim specs the store manager said: “I can find that card but I’m going to need you to give me a lot of time”

Black Country SLC member, Meena said:

“The event has been a great experience and opportunity to plant the seed in retail stores on how difficult it can be at times to find what you are looking for.  Sharing my own experiences with store managers and centre staff has been beneficial for myself and them”

SLC member Meena with two police men wearing sim-specs

SLC member, Mo said:

“it’s been a great start to raise awareness and I’m looking forward to continue to great work to make our region more accessible”

Join the Sight Loss Councils

Want to campaign for more accessible services for blind and partially sighted people in the West Midlands? Influence positive change by volunteering for our Sight Loss Council.

Apply online today

Publication date: 02 November 2021

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