Are blind and partially sighted people on your MP’s agenda?

2024 will be a big year in British politics, with a General Election all but certain to take place. But are blind and partially sighted people on your MP’s agenda?

On Wednesday, 20 March 2024, we are inviting MPs to Thomas Pocklington Trust’s ‘Ask your MP: ‘Can you see us?’’ event in the House of Commons.

Invite your MP

Can you see us?

We have invited MPs to raise awareness of the challenges people with sight loss face. We will also ask them to make a pledge to support our work.

MPs will meet some of our fantastic staff and volunteers, who will discuss some of the barriers they face. This includes using various modes of transport and transport hubs, navigating the streets, accessing education pathways, and healthcare information and services.

  • streets – to highlight the importance of accessible streets and the problems caused by e-scooters, A Boards and other street obstacles.
  • transport – to make buses, trains and taxis inclusive of blind and partially sighted people.
  • making health accessible – to make sure that vital health information is an accessible format and that essential eye health treatments are available when needed.
  • V I Voting – to make sure that blind and partially sighted people can vote in the General Election accessibly, privately and independently.
  • education – to unlock education for blind and partially sighted students.
  • employment – to show the value of accessible technology and the importance of schemes like Access to Work in getting blind and partially sighted people into work.

Interactive sessions

MPs will be invited to take part in interactive sessions with blind and partially sighted people. This includes accessing healthcare information whilst wearing simulation spectacles (special glasses which give the wearer a better understanding of various sight conditions), and trying to vote. MPs will also use some of the aids and adaptations which help BPS people remain independent.

Technology plays a vital part in a BPS person’s day to day life. MPs will have the opportunity to see how it is used and why it is important that all content should be made accessible.

A large group photo comprised of volunteers and MPs at the Houses of Parliament.

SLC members pictured with Marsha De Cordova and MPs at the 2022 ‘Meet the Sight Loss Councils’ event

Sight Loss Councils

Representatives from Sight Loss Councils will be attending on the day to raise the profile of their priority campaigns. Samantha Leftwich, Sight Loss Council Engagement Manager for East England, said:

“We are excited to attend Thomas Pocklington Trust’s ‘Can you see us?’ event in Parliament. We look forward to highlighting our work to make transport accessible for blind and partially sighted people.

“Public transport is vital to people with sight loss. It enables us to work, socialise, and access vital health services. We are working with transport providers across England – but we need the support of our MPs to ensure these services are accessible and inclusive.

“We have a range of activities for MPs to engage in to really hit home how important this is. We don’t want a postcode lottery on our transport services. We want to work with central and local government on ensuring public transport is accessible to all.”

Alex Ramzan, Essex SLC member, added:

“Travel needs to become more accessible. A better passenger assistance system available on trains, audio visual announcements on buses nationally, and more awareness on what it’s actually like to travel independently when you have sight loss.

“Our stand will aim to get across that more needs to be done around transport as it’s not as accessible as MPs think it might be.”

Lucy Williams, Sight Loss Council Senior Engagement Manager for South England, said:

“Street furniture, pavement parking, and e-scooters are just some of the obstacles blind and partially sighted people must navigate in an increasingly cluttered environment.

“Sight Loss Councils look forward to sharing our experiences of navigating the streets with MPs at this event. MPs will be invited to wear simulation specs and have a go at moving around an obstacle.

“In doing so, we hope to raise awareness and encourage attendees to support Sight Loss Council and TPT’s campaigns to make our streets safe for all.”

Denise Brennan, South East London SLC member, added:

“I look forward to sharing my lived experience of sight loss with MPs who have a commitment to making positive changes for blind and partially sighted people.”

We held our first-ever ‘Meet the Sight Loss Councils’ event at Parliament in 2022. MPs and Peers met some of our dedicated volunteers, who shared their lived experiences and some of the barriers blind and partially sighted (BPS) people encounter daily.

Help us take action by writing to your MP

Inviting your MP is simple and only takes a few moments via our easy-to-use template below.

It’s vital we have as many MP’s as possible attend this event. Whilst we have already contacted them, we are asking you to contact your MP too.

This will help ensure that as many MPs as possible know about the important issues affecting their BPS constituents.

Invite your MP

Stay in the know

Want to get involved in our national campaigns? Stay up to date with news from Sight Loss Councils and Thomas Pocklington Trust by signing up to our mailing list.

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Publication date: 19 February 2024

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