RNIB moves coronavirus response to next stage as it urges more Government action

Post date: 
Wednesday, 22 April 2020

RNIB has taken its coronavirus response to the next stage as it campaigns to safeguard blind and partially sighted people.

We have launched and progressed a series of initiatives, including a petition to the Government, a letter to No. 10 Downing Street, some high profile media opportunities and a radio campaign to expand its reach.

National radio campaign for customers and supporters

On Monday (20 April), RNIB launched a campaign to reach more people who need our services and help - as well as potential new donors and supporters - through national radio advertising, supported on digital and social media.

The campaign, which promotes the RNIB Helpline, will appear on Smooth, Classic and Jazz FM  and more, and details how we have boosted our services in response to demand from callers and other customers.

Access to groceries

Many blind and partially sighted people are struggling to get access to shopping as they are not on the Government’s priority list for delivery slots, despite the additional challenges many people experience with social distancing.

Our joint petition with Thomas Pocklington Trust, Guide Dogs, Vision UK and Visionary on this issue was signed by 22,563 people and we’re continuing to work with supermarkets and the Government to make people with sight loss can get the essentials they need.

Speaking to Channel 4 news, our director of development Keith Valentine, said: "The charity sector can’t do this on its own. It needs some sense of understanding in Government and amongst supermarkets that this is a genuine problem, but a problem we can solve together."

Campaigning for #InfoForAll

It’s vital that information about coronavirus is accessible to all. But, we’ve been seeing important updates issued inaccessibly, including on critical public health issues like how to social distance.

For example, the Government has been sharing updates on social media using images to convey information without alt text image descriptions or videos without audio.

Crucial updates like the letter to those classed as ‘extremely vulnerable’ to coronavirus were not originally available in all accessible formats.

So we’ve been challenging the Government and businesses to improve the accessibility of their updates.

We have already seen some positive changes but progress has been slow and inconsistent. As a result, together with other charities, our CEO Matt Stringer has written to the Prime Minister’s office asking for a senior national lead on accessibility to be appointed, and we’ll continue to press individuals and organisations for change. 

You can highlight examples of inaccessible information on Twitter with us using the hashtag #InfoForAll.