By My Side Report!

RNIB: The By My Side Report

By My Side Report from Guide Dogs

People who are blind and partially sighted are being shut out of society, but members of the public could help end this isolation if they understood more about everyday life with sight loss, according to research released by the charity Guide Dogs.

The new report, called ‘By My Side’, reveals that over two fifths (42%) of people with sight loss feel they are ‘left out’ of everyday moments that others might take for granted, such as socialising, dating, family life or work. This feeling of isolation is compounded as six in ten blind or VI (vision impaired) people believe that society has ‘little understanding’ of the challenges they face in their daily lives.

By My Side’ shares insights from the VI community – currently two million people in the UK* – asking about experiences of their local communities, family life, parenting, love and friendships.

Guide Dogs’ report also reveals:

  • Nearly six in ten (58%) of blind and partially sighted people feel socially isolated.
  • Over two-thirds (69%) suggest more people could be trained as sighted guides.
  • People with sight loss say travel is their biggest challenge in daily life.
  • Over a quarter (27%) of people with vision impairments say they feel left out from socialising with friends, leaving them feeling on the side lines of life. This finding is particularly acute among women.
  • Over a fifth (23%) say they feel left out of work or education.
  • Over a quarter of people with sight loss (27%) feel they have been left out of milestone moments such as births or marriages.

Guide Dogs says the time to initiate change is now – most of the public (57%) do want to understand more about life with sight loss, but one in five (23%) would not be comfortable offering help.

To create greater understanding, Guide Dogs is calling on people to sign up to My Guide, a guiding service that matches trained sighted volunteers to people with sight loss who need support getting out and about.

The Guide Dogs ‘By My Side’ report can be viewed in full here. People can find out more about how they can become a My Guide online at https://www.guidedogs.org.uk/services-we-provide/my-guide/

To improve public understanding of life with sight loss, Guide Dogs is launching a new podcast series, ‘I See What You’re Saying’ hosted by famous faces including Alex Jones, Adrian Chiles, Sophie Thompson and Jeff Brazier.

Each episode of this four-part series includes inspirational guests talking about how sight loss impacts their Family; Friendships; Love life and Parenting – sharing the ups, the downs and the funny moments in between.

Listen to Guide Dogs’ new series “I See What You’re Saying” on your favourite podcast app soon.

© Guide Dogs, March 2019

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