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News, views and information for people who are blind or partially sighted

News, views and information for people who are blind or partially sighted


London, United Kingdom




News, views and information for people who are blind or partially sighted




Lighting in the Home; E-scooters Pt 2

Getting the right lighting in the home can be life-changing for people who are blind or visually impaired. Tonight we get a preview of a new guide due to be published by the sight loss charity Thomas Pocklington Trust which gives solutions to some common lighting problems. We invited one of our listeners, who emailed in about the subject, to put the questions to the author. And, after a big response from you on our item about e-scooters, we speak to one of the three operators of the trials...


A Genetics Special

In this special programme, we examine the role genetics plays in both the inheritance of sight loss and its future treatment. We hear about the latest breakthrough reported in the journal 'Nature Medicine' in which the vision of a completely blind man was partially restored using light-sensing proteins first found in algae. He was treated with a type of therapy called optogenetics, which uses the proteins to control cells at the back of his eye. And we discuss the merits of gene testing with...


Electric Scooters; Fans Return to Stadia

New figures show there have been over 200 injuries and 1,100 complaints to local authorities since the trial of electric scooters began in 50 towns and cities across the UK. Sight loss charities are calling for stricter enforcement of existing regulations to keep people who are blind or visually impaired safe. And we speak to blind or visually impaired football fans as they make a welcome return to stadia.


A Technology Special

The pandemic has accelerated our use of the digital world, meaning accessible websites and apps have never been more important. So who's doing it well and who could do better? We've been collating your examples of website accessibility and put them to Robin Christopherson from AbilityNet, who offer advice for companies and public bodies on making their online platforms suitable for people who are blind or visually impaired. Also - we review the latest software to be included on the Amazon...


Voting; Extreme Sports

Up until now it's been virtually impossible for people who are blind or visually impaired to cast their vote completely privately. But new technology trialled at polling booths in Norfolk last week could change all that. We hear from someone who took part. And after recovering from meningitis, a double lung transplant and seven cornea operations, Sam Roberts talks to Peter White about his newfound love of extreme sports.


The Language of Disability

How does language affect how we view disability; and who gets to decide what words we should use? Peter White discusses the changing terminology around visual impairment following a report by the charity Leonard Cheshire showing that nearly three quarters of disabled people feel more needs to be done for non-disabled people to understand that their words can offend. Presenter: Peter White Producer: Simon Hoban


Applying for Jobs; Going out after Lockdown

Only one in four registered blind and partially sighted people of working age are in employment and on tonight's programme we hear one woman's struggle to get a job. Angharad Paget Jones applied for 2,000 jobs and had 200 interviews before she was offered a position - and she believes discrimination was sometimes to blame. And now that restrictions are easing, how are you feeling about going out and about again? Lots of us have lost a bit of confidence in the pandemic - we hear from two...


Missed Appointments; Moving House

We speak to the woman whose sight deteriorated in the pandemic because her appointment was cancelled. And what are the very specific challenges for blind and visually impaired people when it comes to moving house? From labelling boxes to scoping out the new area, we hear from three listeners who've done it - and have some tips on how to make sure it goes smoothly.


Habilitation Report; Blind Footballer

Habilitation gives young people who are visually impaired crucial life skills, such as mobility and auditory training, to help them develop confidence and live their lives. But a new report has laid bare the chronic shortage of habilitation officers and revealed a patchwork of services provided by local authorities in England. One local council provided habilitation support to just 3% of the children and young people with vision impairment in their area, and another provided this service to...


Guide Dog DNA; Blind Mountain Biker

3,000 puppies are to have their DNA sequenced via sailva swabs in order to build a database that will help improve the success rate of fully established working guide dogs. The 'Born to Guide' project is being led by Dr Tom Lewis, who told us how the database will establish links between dog genetics, health and behaviour. And we meet Xavier Hopkins - the visually impaired mountain biker who makes a mental map of the courses he rides, before hurtling down them at very high speeds.


A Transport Special - Buses and Trains; Audio Cookbooks

The Government's promised £3 billion pounds to transform bus services in England as part of its 'Bus Back Better' plan. But how much of the money is dedicated to improving accessibility? Our reporter Fern Lulham has been finding out whether services like talking buses are soon to become commonplace across the country. Meanwhile thousands of rail staff have been undergoing training to help them understand the appropriate help to offer people who are disabled. And find out what happens when...


Accessible Covid Information; Amazon Fresh; Telephone Betting

Sarah Leadbetter, from Narborough in Leicestershire, is classed as clinically extremely vulnerable. However government correspondence advising her to shield was not sent in a format she could access - which she argued was discrimination. After her legal challenge, the government has agreed to review its communication with disabled people. While shops on the High Street are closing, Amazon has opened a new one - with a difference. Billed as 'contactless' and utilising the firm's app, shoppers...


Telephone Banking; TikTok Trolls

The way banks work has been hugely affected by Coronavirus, with customers encouraged to go online and keep visits to the already dwindling number of branches to a minimum. Telephone banking has also changed, with an increased reliance on voice-activated technology rather than keypad entry. We ask whether those changes have helped with accessibility. And following our recent story about the online trolls who doubted the existence of Helen Keller, we hear from one user of social media who's...


Braille library upgrade; Census 2021; Charles Bonnet Syndrome

The RNIB have announced big changes to their braille library service. From next month braille books will be smaller, slimmer and newly printed on demand. Users won't even have to return the books but can instead choose to upgrade by buying a more robust spiral-bound version. The new Census 2021 forms are dropping through letterboxes and the organisers, the Office for National Statistics, are promising it will be the most accessible yet. We'll hear from their Deputy National Statistician Iain...


Testing your vision at home with Moorfield Eye Hospital's app; More tips from writers

When attending hospital appointments became so difficult during the pandemic, Moorfields Eye Hospital developed an app that allows you to keep track of your vision at home. It links the user up with a specialist who can monitor the results for any changes and decide whether a face-to-face appointment is really necessary. We get the verdict of one listener who's been using it. And after our recent interview with visually impaired writers sharing their experiences of getting published, we hear...


The Death Of Blind Rail User Cleveland Gervais

We focus on the death of Cleveland Gervais. Cleveland was blind and, one year ago, he fell from the platform edge and was struck by a train at Eden Park Station in South East London. There was no tactile paving strip on the edge of the platform he fell from. The Rail Accident Investigation Branch has now released its report into what happened. We hear from the Chief Inspector of Rail Accidents Simon French, Cleveland's partner Sekha Hall, rail safety expert Clive Wood from Guide Dogs and...


A Legal Battle Over The Accessibility Of Covid Information; The Helen Keller Doubters

We hear from Sarah Leadbetter who's mounted a legal challenge over inaccessible Covid related information. She argues the government did not give her accessible details about shielding. She's now been granted a judicial review at the High Court. And the famous life of the American deaf-blind author and disability rights activist Helen Keller is well documented. So why have doubts emerged online, particularly among younger people, that cast doubt on all she achieved? We'll hear from visually...


Assisted Guidance On London Underground; Audio Description For On-Demand TV

Transport For London's Mark Evers talks to Peter White about why their physical assisted guidance keeps being withdrawn. Now it's reinstated again, will they be able to keep it that way? And our reporter Johnny Cassidy looks at the world of the binged TV box set. Why isn't audio description available on every episode when a box set is placed on an on-demand TV service? Channel 4 took some time to make audio description available via its All 4 service for every episode of its new hit show...


Covid Vaccination Experiences and RNIB London Move

We hear from In Touch listeners who've now had the first of their Covid vaccinations. How did they hear about where to go? What was the process like when they actually got the jab? And the RNIB has announced it's selling off its London HQ. The search is on for smaller London premises. RNIB Chief Executive Matt Stringer tells us why they need to make this move. PRESENTER: Peter White PRODUCER: Mike Young


Covid Testing & Vaccinations: What You Need To Know

Peter White hears some of the problems being experienced by visually impaired people when it comes to getting tested for Coronavirus. And how to make sure you know when it's your turn to get a vaccination. Among our guests is GP Dr. Anshumen Bhagat and Sarah Lambert from the RNIB. There's a link on this programme page to the RNIB website for further guidance when it comes to getting an accessible Covid test. PRODUCER: Mike Young.