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How to speak up on issues that affect blind and partially sighted people

In the run up to the election, political candidates and campaigners will be speaking to voters across the country. This is a great opportunity for you to use your voice to press for change on issues important to blind and partially sighted people. Here's some points you can raise when speaking with political candidates and campaigners.

1. Make sure everyone who needs it receives vision rehabilitation support

What’s the problem?

  • Thousands of people with sight loss are not getting the emotional and practical support that they need, when they need it.
  • Life changes after sight loss, sometimes overnight, often in dramatic ways. Done well, vision rehabilitation is a service that equips people with new ways to stay independent: to get around, adapt their work, do the weekly shop and enjoy hobbies.
  • However, RNIB research have found that over a quarter of local authorities in England left people waiting for more than a year for a vision rehabilitation assessment and subsequent support.

Message to candidates

UK political parties should commit to ensuring people with sight loss get the emotional and practical support they need, when they need it.

2. A National Plan for eye care

What’s the problem?

Demand for eye care services is already at an all-time high – with over 611,000 people waiting for their initial appointment with a consultant ophthalmologist as of May 2024.

Message to candidates

We want the next government to develop a national eye health plan to fix delays in eye care and stop avoidable sight loss.

3. Make accessible voting a reality

What’s the problem?

It’s more than 150 years since the establishment of the right to vote in secret. But this right is still not afforded to many blind and partially sighted people. In the last General Election only 13 per cent of blind people could vote independently and in secret.

Message to candidates

The next government must make voting accessible to ensure blind and partially sighted people can cast their vote independently and in secret.

4. Will the candidate sign up to the RNIB Champion scheme, if elected?

The RNIB Champion scheme is an informal way for MPs, or candidates standing to become an MP, to pledge their commitment to support their constituents living with sight loss. RNIB Champions receive personalised briefings ahead of debates containing key statistics and facts about sight loss in their constituency.

If you meet a candidate who commits to signing up to become an RNIB Champion if elected, please let us know! Please send their details to [email protected].

5.Will the candidate help to make this the most accessible election ever?

There are two simple things political parties and candidates can do, if they aren’t doing them already, online to make digital campaigning more accessible:

  • Always add ALT text to images on social media.
  • And #CapYourHashtags.

These small changes in online campaigning will show their blind or partially sighted constituents they care about including them in their work.

We’ve created a handy, short, guide that provides step by step instructions for candidates.

Any questions? Let us know at [email protected].