Throughout the coronavirus pandemic blind and partially sighted people have faced a unique set of challenges when leaving their homes. Today, the RNIB is helping to make the general public aware of how they can help.
In the last week more blind and partially sighted people have been speaking out about their experiences over the course of the coronavirus pandemic.
As lockdown measure are eased, shops begin to open again and more people are on the streets, blind and partially sighted people are presented with a unique set of challenges.
These include not knowing when to social distance, guide dogs not being trained to follow one-way systems and new shop layouts to comply with social distancing measures.
Today (6 July), RNIB are appealing to the public to be considerate and help raise awareness of these issues in order to create a safe and fair environment for everyone.
The RNIB has now launched the World Upside Down campaign, highlighting how blind and partially sighted people’s worlds have been turned upside down throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Piccadilly Circus in London has been turned upside down to raise awareness and the charity and asking the public to follow these steps to help:
It is important to remember that not all blind and partially sighted people use a cane or have a guide dog: Be considerate to others even if they don’t look like they need assistance.
It can be difficult for blind and partially sighted people to maintain two metres distance. Observing social distancing yourself can help to keep everybody safe and protected.
If you can see that someone needs help, don’t be shy. Introduce yourself and ask how you can assist them.
Don’t make assumptions
Let blind and partially sighted people tell you how you can help, they could be trying to complete a different task than you perceive.
Right now, it is especially important to think of new ways of guiding people that are safe while still being helpful. For example, if you are in the supermarket guiding someone by holding the opposite end of their trolley is a great way to help.
If you are trying to help someone just relax and be yourself without worrying about saying or doing the wrong thing. This will put both parties at ease.
Talk to us
Using descriptive language and asking if there is anything else you can do can be more helpful than giving vague directions or guidance.
Get to know us
Each blind and partially sighted person is an individual and could need help in different ways.
You can take part in the campaign and help to spread awareness of these issues by turning your social media upside down. Turn your profile picture upside down or share a photo of something upside down on your timeline using #WorldUpsideDown and tagging RNIB.