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Chesterfield MP on blindfold walk to raise awareness of ‘street clutter’

Toby Perkins MP with trainee guide dog Quiver and Kevin Rowney in Chesterfield town centre

Toby Perkins MP with trainee guide dog Quiver and Kevin Rowney in Chesterfield town centre

Local MP Toby Perkins has undertaken a blindfold walk around Chesterfield town centre, with trainee guide dog Quiver and qualified Guide Dogs Mobility Instructor Kevin Rowney, to raise awareness of the risks of street clutter.

Mr Perkins donned the blindfold on Friday 7 November, to gain a greater understanding of how everyday pavement objects can be hazardous for people who are visually impaired. Overhanging branches, uneven pavements, shop A-frame advertising boards, wheelie bins and cars parked on pavements can be dangerous for someone with a sight impairment, as they can force someone out on to the road and into oncoming traffic.  

Toby’s guide dog walk started from his Chesterfield office, headed into town, around the market and into the shopping precinct. During the experience he wore a blindfold and a variety of simulation specs, which replicate how different eye conditions can affect a person’s vision.

Toby said: “Despite knowing the area it was very disorientating to wear the simulation specs and I felt quite vulnerable once I had the blindfold on. Although I felt confident with the support and assistance of the guide dog it amazed me how many diversions we had to take to avoid obstacles. By simply leaving the pavements clear it could make a nicer and safer environment for everyone.”

Kelly France, engagement officer for Guide Dogs, added: “It’s great that MP Toby Perkins has helped to highlight some of the issues addressed by the Guide Dogs’ Street Ahead campaign. The campaign champions the right for everyone to be able to move freely along the street.

“Street clutter is a real problem for people with a visual impairment, as 97% of people who are blind or partially sighted regularly encounter problems with pavement obstacles, such as shop advertising boards or pavement café furniture.

“Poorly parked vehicles that block some or the entire pavement cause problems for many pedestrians. It can force people who are blind or partially sighted, parents with pushchairs, wheelchair users, and many others, to walk on the road and into the path of oncoming traffic.”

For more information on Guide Dogs Streets Ahead campaign please visit http://www.guidedogs.org.uk/supportus/campaigns/streets-ahead. Also you can follow Guide Dogs on Twitter: @guidedogsNMT (www.twitter.com/guidedogsNMT), and like them on Facebook: www.facebook.com/GuideDogsNottinghamMT.

 

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Welcome

I am Toby Perkins, Labour's Member of Parliament for Chesterfield. If you would like to get in touch with me, my office is open and can be reached by phone on 01246 386 286. I also hold regular surgeries so that constituents can meet me and I can take up their concerns. If you would like to make an appointment then please do contact my office. Thank you for visiting.

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