Local MP Jo Swinson had some fun while learning about a serious message at Liberal Democrat party conference last week. Jo tried her hand at putting around street clutter on Guide Dogs’ mini golf course to raise awareness of their Streets Ahead campaign on keeping streets free from clutter.
Street clutter, such as shop advertising boards and wheelie bins, is a real blight on the UK streetscape and a major problem for pedestrians. It is dangerous and disorientating for blind and partially sighted people – a recent Guide Dogs survey found 97% of visually impaired respondents reported finding it a problem on a daily or weekly basis, 57% had suffered an injury from street clutter and 9% had to receive medical treatment.
To address cars parked on pavements, the most common concern, Guide Dogs is campaigning for a nationwide law prohibiting pavement parking, unless specifically permitted, as currently in place in Greater London. This will help remove this barrier to mobility and encourage blind and partially sighted people to get out and about on their own.
Commenting Jo said:
“This was a fun way to spread this serious message. Street clutter has the potential to deter blind and partially sighted people from leaving home alone and I am happy to support Guide Dogs’ call for safer pedestrian footpaths.”
James White, Guide Dogs’ Campaigns Manager, said:
“We’re delighted to have Jo’s support for our campaign. Our streets should be safe and accessible for all pedestrians.”
Jo with James White at Liberal Democrat conference.
Photo credit Manny Begum Yaadein Photography
The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association is a British charitable organisation founded in 1934. Guide Dogs provides independence and freedom to thousands of blind and partially sighted people across the UK through the provision of guide dogs, mobility and other rehabilitation services. It also campaigns for the rights of those with visual impairments. Guide Dogs is working towards a society in which blind and partially sighted people enjoy the same freedom of movement as everyone else.
For more information about Guide Dogs and its Streets Ahead campaign, contact James Kell in the press office on 0118 983 8192 or [email protected]