Ilford South MP Mike Gapes has taken RNIB’s Maze Challenge at the Labour Party Conference, Brighton, to learn more about the everyday challenges faced by people with sight loss.
Mike Gapes MP undertook a blindfolded journey around the maze, completing tasks on the way like using an ATM and shopping, to get an insight into the practical and emotional impact of what it would mean to lose his sight.
Mike Gapes MP spoke to RNIB representatives to find out more about the level of support currently available to people losing their sight in Ilford and Redbridge.
Mike Gapes MP says: “Taking RNIB’s Maze Challenge gave me a new perspective on the huge challenges people face when they begin to lose their sight and the patchy support available in many areas. It is time for the Government to prioritise support at the time of sight loss - it is unacceptable that when you most need it, you may struggle to find the right help.”
RNIB is the leading charity working in the UK offering practical support, advice and information for anyone with sight difficulties. Every day another 100 people in the UK will start to lose their sight. There are around 1.8 million people in the UK with sight problems. Despite the devastating impact of sight loss and a high risk of depression RNIB found that only 8 per cent of people are offered counselling when they are diagnosed with sight loss .
RNIB is calling on the Secretary of State for Health, Andy Burnham MP, to recognise the emotional and practical support needed by people losing their sight and direct Primary Care Trusts to prioritise the improvement of support services, especially those in eye clinics.
To read the experiences of people who have lost their sight, or to share your own experience, visit here If you, or someone you know, has a sight problem RNIB can help. Call the RNIB Helpline on 0303 123 9999 .
2 October 2009