Lisburn to become model of excellence for blind and partially sighted

A NEW project which will make the Lisburn area more accessible to the 3,000 blind and partially sighted people who live across the city is to be launched this week.

Lisburn in Focus, a five year project which has been awarded 740,000 funding from the Big Lottery Fund Safe and Well Programme, will officially launch on Tuesday (April 20) when a special event will be held at mid-day in the Irish Linen Centre in Market Square.

It is being overseen by a partnership between Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), Guide Dogs, Lisburn City Centre Management (LCCM) and Lisburn City Council and aims to make blind and partially sighted people feel more secure at home, confident and motivated to go out and safer and more involved in the outdoor environment, at events and within leisure facilities.

The Mayor of Lisburn, Councillor Allan Ewart, said: "Poor sight can lead to vulnerability, loss of confidence, isolation and loneliness, often with poorer mental or physical health as a further consequence.

The Lisburn in Focus project will make big changes to the lives of an estimated 3,000 with sight loss problems in the Lisburn City Council area and many more who visit."

One of the key goals is to deliver Visual Awareness Training to up to 5,000 people in the area. The training is offered free to businesses, service providers and schools and community groups and aims to make Lisburn a model of excellence on how people who are blind or partially sighted are treated and served.

Lisburn in Focus say the more businesses and service providers who take part in the training the stronger the claim that Lisburn City Council is the place to visit, shop, relax, eat and stay in Northern Ireland if you are blind or partially sighted. For example, they say, restaurant staff will be trained in guiding techniques, menus will be in Braille or large print, Bank staff will have accessible information to hand and react appropriately when a blind or partially sighted customer approaches them with a query.

The Project Team - Claire and Kathryn - will tailor all aspects of the project to meet the needs of the individual businesses or service providers and will be working with the Project partners and other bodies such as the SE Trust, Safer Lisburn, PSNI, Translink and Roads Service to ensure that all of the goals of the project are addressed.

These include providing safe and clear public spaces, promoting inclusive social and cultural events and ensuring all written information in Lisburn is accessible.

If you are interested in finding our more about Lisburn in Focus, would like to register for the Visual Awareness Training or to attend the launch then call Claire or Kathryn on 9260 0388 or email [email protected]