Scotland’s leading sight loss organisation is calling for all local authorities to tackle the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on visually impaired people as the country gears up for local authority elections on 5 May this year.
Sight Scotland and Sight Scotland Veterans launch their 2022 Scottish Local Authority Elections Manifesto this week as part of a World Optometry Day reception for MSPs at the Scottish Parliament [Tuesday 22 March].
The manifesto calls for action to create better chances for blind and partially sighted young people by increasing specialist teachers and resources available in schools; to include visually impaired people in planning processes to ensure accessible community spaces; and to promote good eye health and establish links with the third sector.
The manifesto also calls for accessible and affordable local transport networks for the creation of an inclusive Scotland for blind and partially sighted people.
This includes the establishment of new national rail travel policy for Scotland which would enable free rail travel across Scotland for any holder of a National (Scotland) Concessionary Travel for Blind Persons card and their companion.
Craig Spalding, Chief Executive of Sight Scotland and Sight Scotland Veterans said:
“Blind and partially sighted people have been profoundly and disproportionately affected by the impact of Coronavirus. As Scotland embarks upon its recovery from the pandemic, it’s essential that all local authorities prioritise sight loss to ensure visually impaired people are supported to live independently and well.
“Sight Scotland and Sight Scotland Veterans’ manifesto lays out actions for local authorities to take forward for the creation of an inclusive Scotland for visually impaired people.
“The number of people in Scotland affected by visual impairment is rising, and there will be over 200,000 visually impaired people in Scotland by 2030. We believe it’s time for local authorities to focus on sight loss right now.”