Visually impaired people are missing out on crucial support and are continuing to face discrimination and exclusion, according to the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).
The findings were published in a new report from the charity. Entitled My Voice, the report compiled data from a survey of 1200 people with sight loss and is one of the largest ever studies investigating the lives of registered “blind” and “partially sighted” people.
The report highlights the number of people who are not receiving the support they require from government services, including a lack of practical support for managing every day life, securing employment, getting online and the emotional support needed when first adjusting to sight loss.
The RNIB reports that employment rates among “blind” and “partially sighted” people has fallen from 34% in 2006 to 27% in 2015, while 39% of those of working age admit to having difficulty making ends meet. Furthermore, 17% of people experiencing sight loss are being offered emotional support.
Director of engagement at the RNIB, Fazilet Hadi (pictured), said: "Lack of support, low employment rates, barriers to accessing information and difficulties in getting around all contribute to isolation and exclusion for people with sight loss."
"Our My Voice report brings us a clear message directly from blind and partially sighted people that they are missing out on crucial support and experiencing discrimination," she added, stressing: "These findings must act as a wake-up call to government, charities and business to look critically at how we're supporting and including blind and partially sighted people as customers and citizens."