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Over a third of people from East Anglia would ‘not always help blind people’ says poll

PUBLISHED: 15:34 17 October 2018

The Royal National Institute for Blind Poeple is celebrating its 150th birthday Picture: ROYAL NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR BLIND PEOPLE

The Royal National Institute for Blind Poeple is celebrating its 150th birthday Picture: ROYAL NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR BLIND PEOPLE

Archant

A national charity is calling for greater awareness of blindness in East Anglia.

The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) celebrated its 150th this week, and revealed in a poll of more than 1,000 UK residents, that 36% of East Anglian people admitted that they would not always help a blind or partially-sighted person.

Some 6% said that they would not know how to help them while a further 3% said they would be afraid of causing offence.

Emily Papaleo, RNIB network manager for the East of England, said: “We’ve come a long way since RNIB was formed in 1868, but as our research shows, there’s still work to be done.

“One example is around offering assistance – something which many people in East Anglia are reluctant to do for fear of causing offence, being unsure of how to help or finding the situation awkward.

Princess Diana visits the charity's Candover Hall School in 1984  Picture: ROYAL NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF BLIND PEOPLEPrincess Diana visits the charity's Candover Hall School in 1984 Picture: ROYAL NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF BLIND PEOPLE

“Our message is simple – just ask.

“Like anyone, many blind and partially sighted people appreciate an offer of help.

“It’s just about working out the best way to do it.”

The poll, conducted by Research Without Barriers for the RNIB, also showed that 55% of people from the region thought that people with sight loss would struggle to find and hold down a job.

The founder of the RNIB Thomas Armitage was a blind 19th century doctor  Picture: ROYAL NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF BLIND PEOPLEThe founder of the RNIB Thomas Armitage was a blind 19th century doctor Picture: ROYAL NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF BLIND PEOPLE

The people of East Anglia also struggled to understand how blind people could enjoy popular culture and entertainment with 30% believing that the blind could not enjoy TV and film and 19% believing that they could not enjoy books.

The poll findings were backed by a national survey conducted by the RNIB of more than 600 blind and partially-sighted people.

Opinions collected in the survey suggested that the biggest barrier faced by the blind was other people’s poor attitudes and lack of awareness to the disability alongside practical challenges like navigating streets and using public transport.

Ms Papaleo said: “Our vision is a world free of barriers for people with sight loss, where blind and partially sighted people can live the lives they want to lead and are valued for who they are not the disabilities they have.

A picture showing the RNIB Portland Street office in London Picture: ROYAL NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF BLIND PEOPLEA picture showing the RNIB Portland Street office in London Picture: ROYAL NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF BLIND PEOPLE

“It’s an ambitious vision but I’m confident we can achieve by working with blind and partially-sighted people and our partners as we move into an exciting new chapter of our story.”

Watch the video to find out about the RNIB and its 150 year history.

To find out more visit the charity’s website.

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