Twelve visitors to N-Vision, The Blackpool Fylde and Wyre Society for the Blind, stumble, splashed and spilled their way through visual awareness training – and left three hours later walking taller and with a real insight into life as a blind or visually impaired person.
Visual awareness training sessions are regularly hosted by community services manager and rehabilitation officer Judith Harrison and the team at the charity’s Low Vision Centre at Bosworth Place, Squires Gate, to increase understanding of the needs of the blind and those with reduced vision.
Nurses, care workers/givers and specialist staff from a community-led non-profit making agency were among those heading out into the great unknown after trying on glasses which simulate the effects of sight loss and a range of eye conditions – whether through stroke, accident, illness, or other cause.
“It’s a glimpse of another world,” said Tom Charles, a project leader at Fylde Community Link which works with people with learning disabilities.
“For me, the ‘stroke’ glasses were the most disorientating.
“Going out in the blindfolds was daunting too – particularly with the bridgeworks at Squires Gate – but I’m glad I did it.
“It’s a really comprehensive course. N-Vision does a great job.”
Judy Yajing, a volunteer at N-Vision, said even the most routine tasks proved challenging– such as finding loose change to pay for a cuppa, adding milk and/or sugar, and sharing the biscuits.
“It really does make you stop and think.”
Those taking part learned about the various canes used by some blind and partially sighted people.
They were shown aids available locally such as talking clocks, the Talking Newspaper devices, audible level indicators for fluids, and the ‘clock face’ method of serving different types of food.
They also went walkabout – blindfolded under escort – to experience the obstacles of a residential, retail, tourism and business district.
Contractors working on Squires Gate bridge have also won praise for going out of their way to assist visually impaired people.
To book the next course (June 12) call the Low Vision Centre on (01253) 362696.