SHERWOOD MP Mark Spencer took to the streets blindfolded on Monday to realise the everyday challenges faced by the blind or partially sighted.
The MP took an escorted tour of the town with the help of a guide dog and Guide Dogs for the Blind mobility instructor, Laraine Wakelin.
The exercise was designed to give the Parliamentarian an insight into being blind and what it means to those in his constituency who are and the obstacles they face each day.
“You don’t understand the challenges visually impaired people have to face on a daily basis until you put yourself into that position,” said Mr Spencer who was apprehensive when he put on the blindfold. “Goldie did an amazing job guiding me but I admit I was relieved to be able to remove the blindfold.”
Blind and partially sighted people have to overcome countless obstacles and challenges as they go out and about in town centres and beyond. The hazards include street furniture and poorly parked cars that block the pavement.
In addition to this on average eight guide dogs are attacked by other dogs each month.
“We’re extremely grateful to Mark Spencer for taking part and we hope he found the experience useful in understanding how difficult it can be to get around if you are visually impaired,” said Vicky Coleman from Guide Dogs for the Blind.
“We also hope Mark will support our campaign on dog attacks. As well as the distress these attacks cause, it has a significant financial impact on Guide dogs through veterinary bills, retraining and in the most serious cases, guide dogs having to be withdrawn.
The lifetime cost of a guide dog is £50,000 and we receive no Government funding.”
If you would like to get involved with Guide Dogs locally contact 0845 372 7424 or Nottingham@guidedogs.org.uk.