29 JUN 2018

Helen Visits Kent Association for the Blind

Whilst paying a visit to Kent Association for the Blind recently, Maidstone & The Weald MP Helen Grant saw how they get the local newspapers to people with sight impairment – on a stick!

Volunteers record a selection of stories from local papers including the Kent Messenger. Their words are stored digitally on memory sticks and distributed to sight impaired people who have signed up for the service.

KAB provide free talking newspapers to hundreds of people across the county every week. The majority of listeners are in their 80s and 90s, and many live alone. Talking News helps them to keep in touch with what's happening in their community.

Helen said 'Talking Newspapers are just one of the fantastic services KAB offer. I was there to meet with chief executive Eithne Rynne and discuss what I could do to help raise awareness of the needs of sight impaired people. We agreed that I would ask my fellow Kent MPs, at our next group meeting, if they will join me and undertake a 'simulated walk' in their own constituencies in the coming months.

'Being blindfolded and using a cane really does bring home to you just some of the many challenges facing people who find it hard to see, or who are blind. KAB operates across the county and hopefully all of our Kent MPs will come on board with the idea, to attract some media interest and help us highlight how the public can be more alert to the needs of sight impaired people around our towns and villages'.

KAB Chief Executive Eithne Rynne said "I was delighted to welcome Helen Grant MP to our Maidstone Sight Centre and to share with her what KAB does. For anyone who is blind or partially sighted, KAB offers a lifetime of help and support. KAB has been an active charity in Kent for almost 100 years and helps thousands of blind and partially sighted children and adults across Kent each year. Our aim is to help everyone with sight loss achieve their personal goals, celebrate what they can do, and help people to become as independent as possible. I am so pleased with Helen's commitment to helping KAB raise awareness with her MP colleagues"

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