East Sussex SLC celebrates first birthday
East Sussex Sight Loss Council (SLC) has celebrated its first birthday and its work to drive real change for blind and partially sighted (BPS) people.
Following our success in East Sussex, we launched West Sussex SLC earlier this year and are recruiting new members.
East Sussex SLC has had a remarkable first year, leading several fantastic projects across the region. SLC volunteers have worked hard to improve access to goods and services for (BPS) people living in the area.
Examples of work
- extensive partnership work with Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC) to make streets more accessible for BPS people
- leading an accessible travel forum for local BPS people to understand what support is available to them. Delegates were able to ask questions and share their experiences with transport providers. Subjects for this successful event included trains, buses, taxis, talking bus stops and walking.
- developing a resource to support galleries locally and nationally to describe art for blind and partially sighted people and make their galleries accessible.
- working with Govia Thameslink Railway to trial a new app that connects BPS people to a remote advisor to guide them around the station, to a member of staff.
Paul Goddard, East Sussex SLC volunteer, said:
“It is an honour to be a founding member of East Sussex Sight Loss Council. I can’t believe it has been a year already!
“I joined as it’s important to me to give a voice to blind and partially sighted people on issues that affected their everyday lives. I want their voices to be heard when they are so often ignored.
“It is incredible to see the difference that East Sussex SLC has already made by working with the Brighton Job Centre and Brighton and Hove city council, and the respect that it has gathered in just a year.
“My highlight was our accessible travel forum held at the Amex stadium in Brighton. It was great to be able to publicly congratulate Brighton and Hove buses on their inclusivity and access for blind and partially sighted passengers – which is second to none. May other bus companies catch up quickly!”
Paul, East Sussex SLC volunteer, with Carl Martin, Accessibility Lead at GTR, during the Accessible Travel Forum
Linn Davies, East Sussex SLC member, said:
“I’m happy to have been a part of East Sussex SLC from the start. I saw it as an exciting opportunity to improve things for blind and partially sighted people in Brighton, where I live.
“In the time I’ve been a member, I’ve had the pleasure of helping to develop vision awareness sessions for Brighton Job Centre. Being a member of the SLC has also made it possible for me to join the development of a new navigation app.
“I’m so excited about our new projects for this year. The social aspect is good too. Although we are not a social group, it’s always nice to attend the meetings and catch up with the other members.”
Linn Davies, East Sussex SLC volunteer, standing in Brighton train station as part of our work with Govia Thameslink Railway.
David Smith, Engagement Manager for the South East, said:
“We’ve had a great first year establishing East Sussex SLC in the area. So good in fact, we have just launched in neighbouring West Sussex.
“We are really looking forward to the year ahead and all of our projects across both regions. This includes working on projects around transport, the built environment, and retail – specifically looking at the accessibility of supermarket shopping.
“We are excited to continue to build on relationships with local organisations and service providers and look forward to forging new ones.”
Carl Martin, Accessibility Lead, GOVIA Thameslink Railways (GTR):
“Working with East Sussex SLC has been essential in GTR having a better understanding of the barriers our blind and partially sighted customers face.
“Their personal experience and expert input have helped shape the innovative support tools we would like to explore as a trial.
“Their ongoing support will help us to continue shaping the future of rail travel for our disabled customers.”
Jazmine Hayes, Senior Project Manager for the Transport Projects and Engineering Team, Brighton & Hove City Council, said:
“Brighton and Hove’s Transport team have been lucky to work with East Sussex Sight Loss Council over the past year.
“Their contributions have been incredibly valuable and have improved numerous scheme designs across the city. The team have offered helpful support to staff to increase knowledge and understanding through simulation walks, engagement sessions, and many other bespoke engagements.
“We are proud to work with the team and look forward to continuing to work closely together.”
David Smith, Engagement Manager for the South East, being interviewed by BBC South East during a sim spec walk with BHCC.
Join West Sussex Sight Loss Council
West Sussex Sight Loss Council is recruiting new members who live in the local area.
If you are blind and partially sighted and want to improve services for visually impaired people in your area, we want to hear from you.
You’ll get the opportunity to create positive change for others, meet like-minded people, have a voice, feel valued, receive training, and learn or enhance your skills. Whether you’re interested in public speaking or honing your social media skills, there’s something for everyone to get involved in.
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Publication date: 12 July 2023