Tory parliamentary candidate Anne-Marie Trevelyan was guided blindfold around Alnwick to show her the difficulties faced by blind and partially-sighted people when going out in public.
The walk, organised by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) yesterday, coincided with recent research by the charity which revealed the growing problem of street obstacles – bollards, advertising boards, bins and cars parked on pavements. All these factors prevent many people with sight loss from getting around their local areas.
Mrs Trevelyan was accompanied by Chris Grethe, who is registered blind and described some of the problems he faces when walking around the Alnwick town centre.
The ‘Who Put That There’ report published by the RNIB revealed a third of blind and partially-sighted people across the UK had injured themselves when walking around their local areas. Overall, 95 per cent of people said they had collided with an obstacle.
Mrs Trevelyan said: “I found the walk a very useful and interesting experience. I have gained a stronger understanding of the problems which blind people have to put up with due to our failures to meet street management.
“I will be working with local councillors to ensure improvements are made, for blind residents and visitors, or wheelchair users in Alnwick.”
Lucy Dixon, RNIB North East regional campaigns officer, said: “Blind and partially-sighted people face many challenges on a daily basis and one of the biggest is getting out and about safely and independently.
“People with sight loss should be able to walk to the shops, see friends or visit the doctor’s in the same way as everyone else.”
If you, or someone you know, has a sight problem, call the RNIB helpline on 0303 123 9999 or visit www.rnib.org.uk