Sight Loss Council members inspire and educate MPs in Westminster

“Inspiring”, “important” and “hugely interesting” were among the comments from MPs as they left the first ever ‘Meet the Sight Loss Councils’ event in the House of Commons on 29 March.

It was also inspiring for the Sight Loss Council volunteers who represented their communities from across the country and shared with MPs in Westminster the challenges they face every day.

Rick Asquith, York Sight Loss Council member, said:

“On Tuesday, it was amazing. We had a job to do and I hope I did it well. But it wasn’t until I got home and was laid in bed that I thought, that kid from Hull who was seen as stupid because of his sight got to talk to MPs in Westminster and get serious points across about us.”

Hosted by Marsha De Cordova MP, blind and partially sighted volunteers took the opportunity to talk to the MPs about their life experiences and some of the key issues they have faced.

Armed with six key issues that affect the lives of blind and partially sighted people every day, volunteers asked MPs to raise key issues in Parliament and to increase awareness and understanding of the needs and aspirations of BPS people in the Halls of Westminster. Read our ‘six to fix’.

With so many MPs in attendance, volunteers were able to set up further meetings to ensure that the voice of BPS people will be heard loud and clear in the national conversation.

Carl Galloway, volunteer with Black Country Sight Loss Council, said:

“The Westminster event was an excellent opportunity for both SLC members and Thomas Pocklington Trust, bringing awareness to MPs about what’s needed for us VI people to live a productive and fulfilled life – sharing how we have overcome obstacles in our way.”

Mike Bell Sight Loss Councils’ National Public Affairs Lead, said: “This was a fantastic success. It’s hugely important that the issues facing blind and partially sighted people are heard at the very highest levels of government. There is no one better qualified to speak about those issues than blind and partially sighted people themselves.

“Our volunteers had many positive, engaging conversations about how to make real improvements to the lives of blind and partially sighted people across the county. We are looking forward to following those up, and to this new chapter of the SLC’s work.”

Sarah Mason added: “It was an honour to represent Birmingham SLC which I have been a member of since the very beginning. I was able to discuss my knowledge and experience of volunteering and working in the VI sector.

“I was inspired by some of the members of the SLCs who had very traumatic journeys with such positive outcomes and attitudes to life. Thank you for arranging the event and for giving us the opportunity to speak, share our views and opinions and hopefully make an impact and change.”

Publication date: 01 April 2022

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