VIDEO: Blindfold walk puts key issue in spotlight

A member of Northumberland County Council’s cabinet recently did a blindfold walk around Morpeth to highlight the challenges blind and partially-sighted people face in navigating the town.

Glen Sanderson, along with an officer at the local authority, were invited to do the challenge by Bob Potter, Joyce Anderson and Chris Greethe of the Northumberland (Low Vision) Action Group. The trio are also campaigners for the RNIB charity.

Those taking part in and accompanying the blindfold walk to raise awareness of issues for blind and partially-sighted people in Morpeth.  Picture by Jane Coltman

Those taking part in and accompanying the blindfold walk to raise awareness of issues for blind and partially-sighted people in Morpeth. Picture by Jane Coltman

Among the others present were RNIB’s regional campaigns officer Francesca Di Giorgio and Guide Dogs regional engagement officer Linda Oliver.

Coun Sanderson, cabinet member for environment and local services, wore simulation spectacles that simulate three of the most common sight conditions – age related macular degeneration, cataracts and retinitis pigmentosa.

The county council created new guidelines addressing street obstructions earlier this year. It suggested a minimum of two metres of pavement should be kept clear on main pedestrian routes.

During the walk, the group found that some advertising boards significantly breached this guidance.

Coun Sanderson said: “The council is committed to implementing the guidelines on street obstructions and will consult with local blind and partially-sighted people ahead of designing any significant town centre improvement schemes.”

Mrs Anderson said: “We’re looking forward to continuing to work with Coun Sanderson to ensure Northumberland is accessible and welcoming to all.”