Sight Awareness Day with the Mayor

The Bognor mayor attended an event to raise awareness of the challenges faced by visually impaired people in the town centre. The charity 4Sight Vision Support took to Bognor High Street to set up an information stall by Santander, who has recently funded the group’s outreach work, packed with information, equipment and ‘simulation specs’.

The mayor, councillor Stephen Reynolds, participated in a guided walk around the pedestrian precinct while wearing a pair of the special glasses, which replicate eye conditions and ‘give an insight into what a family member or friend’s life is like with a particular sight condition’.

A charity spokesman said: “It can sometimes be hard for fully-sighted individuals to understand what it would be like to be visually impaired,”

“This (guided walk) helped demonstrate the difficulties the new shared space layout has created for people with sight loss.”

“The lack of kerbed edges to indicate where buses drive, the seating areas and numerous A-boards scattered across the walkways all make navigating the high street extremely dangerous.”

The charity also revealed that Mr Reynolds ‘expressed his concern’ with the A-Boards and how the strewn concrete seating areas ‘prevent a straight line of walking access down the pavements’. The leader of Arun District Council, Jillian Brown, also attended the event and raised concerns with Toyubur Rahman, the Bognor Regis Town Centre Manager, about the problems street furniture can create for the visually impaired.

She wanted to ensure that shop keepers are ‘adhering to rules’ around street furniture to help reduce accidents and injury.However, 4Sight Vision Support trustee Maureen Jenkins said she was ‘encouraged’ by the number of people at the event. She added: “We are also glad the mayor and the local council attended this event and are open to making the town centre more visually impaired friendly.”

If you need help with sight loss issues, want to become a member of the charity or volunteer or support fundraising events across the county then ring 01243 828555.