Announcing the New Bedfordshire Sight Loss Council

Sight Loss Councils are growing fast. Following the recent launch of our Tyne and Wear Sight Loss Council, we’re really excited to announce the launch of a new Sight Loss Council in Bedfordshire, covering Bedford, Central Bedfordshire and Luton. The council will advocate the needs of blind and partially sighted people and effect positive change in the region.

SLC members, who are all blind or partially sighted, will campaign on a range of issues including employment barriers faced by visually impaired job seekers, access to gyms and entertainment venues, e-scooter safety and challenges raised by the Covid-19 crisis.

The new Bedfordshire SLC, funded by Thomas Pocklington Trust, will join a network of Sight Loss Councils across the country to work closely with businesses, charities, transport hubs, local politicians and other service providers to improve access to services for visually impaired residents.

Masuma Ali, Engagement Manager for Bedfordshire SLC said: “I’m really looking forward to working with our members to improve access to products and services for blind and partially sighted people in Bedfordshire. As part of my work preparing for the launch, I’ve been reaching out to the community to forge links and understand the issues visually impaired residents are facing in the region. For example, I recently ran an ‘Introduction to assistive technology’ session for the Luton Council Sensory impairment team with my colleagues at Thomas Pocklington Trust. I have also reached out to e-scooter operator Ginger, to discuss e-scooter safety.”

The Bedfordshire SLC still has places available for any visually impaired people living in Bedfordshire interested in getting involved.

Masuma adds: “By joining the council, you will get to socialise with people who share similar interests, and you’ll pick up a host of skills including advocacy, public speaking, event organising and more.

The first Bedfordshire SLC meeting takes place this week, where members will decide on the local issues, they wish to focus within the six SLC priority areas of education, Sport and Leisure, Health and Social Care, Transport, technology, and employment.

Rachel Wilkinson, Head of Engagement and Volunteering at Thomas Pocklington Trust said: “Since 2016, it has been wonderful to see our Sight Loss Councils grow from one council in Birmingham to nine councils launched throughout the country – and more to be added to the network soon! The councils have tackled a range of issues from guide dog refusals to sport and leisure centre access and are making a positive difference to the lives of blind and partially sighted people.

“I urge any residents with a visual impairment to join us and become a member.”

If you’re interested in volunteering for the Bedfordshire Sight Loss Council, learn more here.



Publication date: 09 February 2021

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