Local authorities key to improving life for Scots who are blind or partially sighted

Post date: 
Friday, 24 February 2017

Launching its manifesto for the May 4th council elections today, RNIB Scotland emphasises that people with a visual impairment are more likely to depend on public services - from social care to transport

"It's vital that councils fully understand the real day to day challenges that the 170,000 people with sight loss in Scotland face," insists director Campbell Chalmers.

"The 32 Scottish local authorities will operate across a changing landscape in the next four-year term, both in terms of policy and service delivery. They will have new opportunities to help blind and partially sighted people live more inclusively, independently and safely. Our manifesto sets out practical steps that can help make this happen."

RNIB Scotland's manifesto, 'Looking Local', is calling for:

  • a thorough review of regulations and bylaws governing street obstacles such as advertising boards that can be a daily hazard for people with sight loss;
  • ensuring council communications are available in formats such as audio, braille and large-print, or on accessible websites;
  • closing the attainment gap between blind and partially sighted school-children and their peers;
  • maintaining an up-to-date register of people who are blind or partially sighted in their area

An ageing population, and the increase in vision-impairing conditions such as diabetes, means that the number of people with sight loss in Scotland will, inevitably, increase, points out Chalmers.

"We need to start thinking now about a society in which more of our population will have needs connected with their vision. And local authorities will be at the forefront.

"We hope they will take the steps outlined in our manifesto, to make Scotland a better place to live if you are unfortunate enough to lose some or all of your sight."