Local councillors take part in Newham blindfold walk

Councillors walk through Newham blindfolded

Councillors walk through Newham blindfolded - Credit: Archant

Local councillors put themselves in the shoes of blind and partially sighted residents by taking part in a blindfold walk through Forest Gate.

The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) organised the event, in Green Street, as part of the charity’s Street Accessibility programme.

Councillors taking part last week included Green Street Community Neighbourhood Lead Hanif Abdulmuhit, Tahmina Rahman, Obaid Khan, and Charity Fiberesima.

The aim of the event was to highlight the growing problem of street obstacles including bollards, advertising boards, bins, and cars parked on pavements.

Mohammed Mohsan Ali, who is registered blind, has been campaigning to highlight the dangers of unsafe pedestrian crossings and street obstacles.

He said: “It was good to meet with the councillors and share my experiences with them.

“I think the blindfold walk gave them a better understanding of how street obstacles can cause difficulty for blind or partially sighted people in Newham.”

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Statistics revealed by the charity show that a third of blind and partially sighted people across the country had injured themselves when walking around their local areas.

Overall, 95 per cent of people said that they had collided with an obstacle while walking.

RNIB’s chief executive Lesley-Anne Alexander CBE said: “If decision makers understand how blind and partially sighted people navigate the streets, and take that into consideration, they could help tackle one of the biggest barriers faced today by people with sight loss.

“We hope these events will encourage local authorities to engage with blind and partially sighted people in their area and develop a street charter that puts a clear highway policy at the heart of it.”

RNIB has produced a Street Charter toolkit, collaborating with blind people on what changes they want to see in their local areas.

A spokeswoman said: “Each charter can be based on local needs such as focusing on banning advertising boards, or cracking down on pavement parking, or removing unnecessary street furniture.”

Visit rnib.org.uk for more information.