AN MP has donned a blindfold to take a walk around a busy town centre and experience what life is like for visually impaired people in the North-East.
Jenny Chapman, MP for Darlington, joined Adele Waterfall-Brown, an RNIB and Guide Dogs volunteer campaigner, to join her in Darlington town centre and on a bus ride to raise awareness of the difficulties she, and others, deal with each day.
Miss Waterfall-Brown asked Ms Chapman to take part in the experiment to drive home the importance of the care and support that blind and partially-sighted people need to get out and about, as well as in their own homes.
Campaigners for the RNIB are fighting to strengthen the Care and Support Bill currently going through Parliament to ensure people with sight-loss get the help they need to remain independent.
Miss Waterfall-Brown said: "Blind and partially-sighted people are being let down by the social care system. Our needs are often not identified due to inadequate assessments.
“We want to ensure that services are available from local authorities to help people who have lost their sight to live independently."
Lucy Dixon, RNIB regional campaigns officer for the North East, said: “Since 2005, the number of blind and partially-sighted people receiving professional support, such as help from a rehabilitation officer, has fallen by more than 70 per cent in England.
“Unless we do something now, in just ten years' time we could be in the very real position that not a single blind or partially sighted person will receive any support from their council to remain independent.”
Mrs Chapman said: “I am grateful that Adele has asked me to take part in this walk because I want to experience for myself the problems encountered on a daily basis by my constituents who are blind or partially sighted.
“I want to help ensure that people with sight loss are able to live as independently as possible."