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Press Release – updated policy document: A VISION for Rights, Citizenship and Independent Living

The National Federation of the Blind (NFBUK) has called on all the political parties to support their manifesto which highlights key support and services vital to blind and partially sighted people.

A copy of the policy has been sent to all political parties, national charities and many other organisations. We are asking politicians both local and national to support our manifesto and make sure the needs of blind and partially sighted people are taken into consideration.

NFBUK President Douglas Gilroy said “A similar manifesto issued during the Scottish elections was successful in promoting our aims and objectives. I call upon all political parties to adopt this manifesto in order to help to improve the overall life for all blind, deaf-blind and partially sighted people in the UK.”

General Secretary Bill Campbell said: “People with sensory impairments didn’t create the financial crisis we are in, yet we have found ourselves taking the hit disproportionally to others. Blind and partially sighted people are last to benefit during the good times and first out during the bad. Many of our demands around access and shared spaces have little or no cost implications and could benefit the wider population. Yet we experience barriers at all levels of society.”

The manifesto seeks to address the key issues facing blind and partially sighted people and aims to help them fulfil their potential in society. We realise that many local and national services have been squeezed, but our manifesto would save money and resources and help unemployed blind and partially sighted people into work.

About Us:

The National Federation of the Blind of the United Kingdom (NFBUK) was founded in 1947 by blind, deaf-blind and partially sighted people and is an independent, non political, self help campaigning pressure group and registered charity. Today we are still run by blind, deaf-blind and partially sighted people!

We campaign to improve the overall welfare and quality of daily life for all sensory impaired people and those whose sight impairment is part of multi disability.

For further information please contact:

NFBUK, Sir John Wilson House, 215 Kirkgate, Wakefield, WF1 1JG

Tel: 01924 291313  email: admin@nfbuk.org  web: www.nfbuk.org

Public Relations Officer – Val Humphries: valbear2@sky.com

“A VISION of Rights, Citizenship and Independent Living”

A call to Government of all political persuasions:

We, the National Federation of the Blind of the UK are alarmed that the Government’s Welfare Reform Programme has led to cuts in services, benefits, allowances and employment prospects for many blind, partially sighted and blind/deaf people across the UK. These savage cuts have impacted disproportionally on disabled people in general and blind and partially sighted people in particular. We are also fearful for the psychological impact these cuts have had on sensory impaired people and their
families.

Whilst we recognise that any Government has to make tough decisions, we also know that people with sensory impairments never got us into this mess but we are expected to bear the brunt of its consequences. Blind, deaf-blind and partially sighted people are usually last into employment in the good times, with unemployment rates running at about 70% even then, and first out in bad times. The difference this time is that, not only are we being excluded from the employment market but we are being forced to bear a disproportionately high price.

We, given the opportunity, can work with Government, and other policy and decision makers, in a positive and practical way to help ease the burden on some of the most vulnerable people in this country.

We demand to play our part in society! We are not benefit scroungers!

We call for action by Government at national, regional and local level, regardless of its political persuasion, to:-

1.Engage in meaningful dialogue with organisations such as the NFBUK in order to understand the financial, social, medical and psychological impact Welfare Reform has had on us and our families and work with us to find solutions.

2. Remove the fear of poverty, isolation and exclusion that welfare reforms have caused, particularly among our older population who have no way of getting out of the mire through employment. We have paid in all our lives. Don’t deny us our dignity and independence now!

3. Legislate for, and allocate resources to local authorities and other care agencies to establish and maintain, mobility training and rehabilitation support services as this is a service that can enhance employment opportunities and better health. The lack of rehabilitation services has a devastating impact for people with sensory impairments.

4. Conduct a ‘root and branch’ review of support services, at both local and national level.

5. Ensure that resources are allocated fairly and equitably in terms of social care and independent living services and that they are ‘ring fenced’ if needs be.

6. Deliver legislation that will ensure a right to accessible travel services for all sensory impaired people wishing to travel independently in their communities and across the UK.

7. Put an end to shared spaces, clutter, pavement parking & cycling on our streets allowing us to move around without fear of accident or death.

8. Lead by example on employing and retaining people with sensory impairments in meaningful adequately paid work throughout all public sector services.

9. Encourage the private sector ‘follow your lead’, through regulation if necessary, in providing meaningful employment to people with sensory impairments.

10. Implement, in full, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities.

We further call upon the Government to work with us to ensure that blind, deaf-blind and partially sighted people can live and participate as equal and valued citizens in today’s complex society.

Nothing About Us, Without Us

About Us:

The National Federation of the Blind of the United Kingdom (NFBUK) was founded in 1947 by blind, deaf-blind and partially sighted people and is an independent, non political, self help campaigning pressure group and registered charity. Today we are still run by blind, deaf-blind and partially sighted people!

We campaign to improve the overall welfare and quality of daily life for all sensory impaired people and those whose sight impairment is part of multi disability.

For further information please contact:

NFBUK, Sir JohnWilson House, 215 Kirkgate, Wakefield WF1 1JG.

Tel: 01924 291313 Email: admin@nfbuk.org Website www.nfbuk.org