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Charity calls for greater awareness of blindness in Wales

  • RNIB survey reveals that the biggest barrier facing blind and partially sighted people is the lack of knowledge and understanding of sight loss and outdated attitudes of the people around them1.
  • A poll of the general public backed up the charity’s research, with 32 per cent of people in Wales thinking that someone with sight loss cannot enjoy TV and film, and more than a third (37 per cent) admitting that they thought people with sight loss would struggle to find and hold down a job.    
  • The findings have been released by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) as the charity marks its 150th anniversary.

 

A survey of people in Wales has today [16 October] revealed a widespread lack of awareness and understanding of sight loss.

 

The poll2, conducted by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), found that more than a third (37 per cent) of people in Wales believe that blind and partially sighted people would struggle to find and hold down a job. 32 per cent said blind and partially sighted people cannot enjoy TV and film, and 38 per cent did not think that blind and partially sighted people can read books.

 

The survey also suggested that people in Wales lack confidence when it comes to providing assistance. 63 per cent of people surveyed admitted that they would not always help a blind or partially sighted person, with 13 per cent saying they would be afraid of causing offence, and a further 5 per cent saying that they would find the situation awkward. 

 

The shock findings back up research carried out by the charity amongst the blind and partially sighted community, which revealed that the biggest barrier they face is other people’s limited knowledge and understanding of sight loss1. 

 

Poor societal attitudes and lack of awareness were judged to be a bigger barrier to inclusion than practical challenges including finding and keeping a job, navigating streets and using public transport. 

 

The findings have been released by RNIB to mark its 150th anniversary and launch of the charity’s new vision: a world without barriers for blind and partially sighted people.

Ansley Workman, Director of RNIB Cymru, said: “We’ve come a long way since RNIB was formed in 1868, but as our research shows, there’s still work to be done, particularly around improving society’s understanding of the experience and spectrum of sight loss.

 

“One example is around offering assistance – something which people in Wales are reluctant to do for fear of causing offence, being unsure of how to help or finding the situation awkward. Our message is simple – just ask. Like anyone, blind and partially sighted people appreciate an offer of help. It’s just about working out the best way to do it.

 

“Looking to the future, our vision is a world free of barriers for people with sight loss, where we can live the lives we want to lead and are valued for who we are, not defined by the disabilities we have.

 

“It’s an ambitious vision but one I’m confident we can achieve by working with our partners as we move into an exciting new chapter of our story.”   

 

The charity recently unveiled a new brand supported by a series of adverts and short films which use everyday scenarios and humour to urge people to see the person, not the sight loss.

 

To find out more about RNIB’s 150th anniversary and to be part of the charity’s vision of the future, visit www.rnib.org.uk/150.

 

1RNIB research which collected the views of over 600 blind and partially sighted people around the barriers they face in order to inform planning in our 150th year.

 

2The research for RNIB was carried out by Research Without Barriers (RWB) between 05/10/2018 and 08/10/2018 amongst a panel resulting in 1,013 respondents, of whom 60 live in Wales. All research conducted adheres to the MRS Codes of Conduct (2010) in the UK and ICC/ESOMAR World Research Guidelines.

 

UK-wide figures

 

Two short films are available as follows: