Blindfolded walk an eye-opener for MP

March 2, 2013 1:02 PM

Local MP Tom Brake went for a blindfolded walk last week to help raise the awareness about the challenges faced by local people with sight loss.

Tom was completely blindfolded the whole time and was being guided by a Guide Dogs for the Blind instructor Mel. He also had to use a white cane, to find his way around.

Tom said:

"I know this part of the town by heart, but I still found it very unnerving walking around blindfolded and using a white cane. I felt vulnerable and totally dependent on my guide, whose arm I nervously held on to the whole time."

"I was worried about tripping over things or crashing into things at head height. I think I would need a lot of training, if I was ever to feel even slightly more confident."

The walk, organised by the Guide Dogs for the Blind, took place in Carshalton, near Tom's constituency office in Nightingale Road. Tom was accompanied by the Guide Dogs for the Blind instructors and a guide dog called Quince. By taking part in the challenge, Tom added his weight to a campaign to make sure the needs of the blind and partially sighted people are taken into account.

Tom added:

"This challenge gave me some first-hand experience of the barriers and difficulties faced by the visually impaired people in Carshalton and Wallington. It was an eye opener."

"Our streets have to be safe and accessible to everyone. To make everyday life easier for people with sight loss, roads and walkways should be free from obstacles. We can all help, sometimes by simply reaching out and offering a helping hand"

Rob Harris, Engagement Manager for Guide Dogs London said:

"It's great to have the opportunity to give MP's an experience of what it might be like to be blind or partially sighted in their constituency. Familiar environments can suddenly become very alien and it becomes easier to understand how everyday street furniture and road crossings can become huge challenges and obstacles for those who have lost their sight. I hope Tom remembers his experience and now has a greater understanding of how important it is to consider the needs of blind and partially sighted people in any decision he can help make on changes to the environment in Carshalton and Wallington." Tom Brake MP with the Guide Dogs for the Blind instructor Mel, during his blindfolded walk

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