Carshalton and Wallington MP Tom Brake experiences being blind in his constituency
An MP went for a walk blindfold last week in order to experience what it is like to have sight loss.
The Carshalton and Wallington MP, Tom Brake, has been trying to raise awareness of the challenges facing blind people in Sutton.
He was helped by a Guide Dogs for the Blind instructor and also had a white cane to find his way around.
He said: “I know this part of the town by heart, but I still found it very unnerving walking around blindfolded and using a white cane. I felt vulnerable and totally dependent on my guide, whose arm I nervously held on to the whole time.
“I was worried about tripping over things or crashing into things at head height. I think I would need a lot of training, if I was ever to feel even slightly more confident.
“This challenge gave me some first-hand experience of the barriers and difficulties faced by the visually impaired people in Carshalton and Wallington. It was an eye opener.
“Our streets have to be safe and accessible to everyone. To make everyday life easier for people with sight loss, roads and walkways should be free from obstacles. We can all help, sometimes by simply reaching out and offering a helping hand.”
Rob Harris, engagement manager for Guide Dogs London said: "It's great to have the opportunity to give MPs an experience of what it might be like to be blind or partially sighted in their constituency.
“Familiar environments can suddenly become very alien and it becomes easier to understand how everyday street furniture and road crossings can become huge challenges and obstacles for those who have lost their sight.
“I hope Tom remembers his experience and now has a greater understanding of how important it is to consider the needs of blind and partially sighted people in any decision he can help make on changes to the environment in Carshalton and Wallington."
The walk was organised by the Guide Dogs for the Blind and took place in Carshalton near the Mr Brake’s constituency office in Nightingale Road.