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Petition calling for blind and partially sighted to be priority customers online


WARRINGTON Visually Impaired People (WVIP) are appealing to residents to join them in signing a petition, calling for supermarkets to ensure that blind and partially sighted people can be considered as a priority customer when they order goods online.
They are calling for the Secretary of State for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to work urgently to make it a priority.
Manager Gail Bretherton said: “People with vision impairments are struggling to safely access basic necessities like food from supermarkets because of Covid-19 restrictions. Being blind or partially sighted makes safe social distancing in busy places like these often impossible. Despite this, while priority access to online shopping slots is available for some people, those with sight loss like some of our members are being excluded.”
The WVIP have 225 members of which 60 of them, before the lockdown, used to travel to the centre each week on the charity’s three minibuses. They arrived at the Fairfield and Howley Centre on Tuesdays and Thursdays for a three-course meal a chat with friends and some entertainment. Whilst on Wednesday a dozen come in for chair exercises and a light lunch. With an average age of eighty, these activities are very important to their wellbeing.
Howard Isherwood who looks after the social side, entertainment, walks and WVIP holiday trips added: “The members love coming into the centre where they get a hot meal and have a laugh, joke and often a sing along. Isolation is nothing new for many members and the WVIP is their lifeline helping them get out and chance to catch up with their friends.
“As a consequence of the pandemic we have had to suspend such activities. We have upgraded our telephone and messaging system so that we can keep in better touch and chat with WVIP members to keep their spirits up, we have even done a bit of shopping for them.
“Quite a few of our younger members however are fiercely independent and likely to have access to the internet. They would like to shop online away from the confines of the supermarket aisles, and we support that aim.”
Chair Geoff Settle, former Mayor of Warrington, said: “Our board members have started to use video conference facilities. I joined 32 other sight loss charities using zoom for an excellent conference organised by Visionary last week and found it easy to use.
“We will hopefully be using it for our May board meeting. If it proves successful, we will see if we can enable our WVIP members to use. Afterall we train and support them with their talking electronic gadgets like watches, alarm clocks and PCs as well as various gizmos to help them with their various sight loss issues.
“One thing that the WVIP can’t do by themselves is lobby the Government and Supermarket. We are therefore asking your readers to take a minute or so to register their support alongside 15,000 others who have signed up for the petition in favour of people with sight loss who need priority access to online shopping.”
To sign the petition CLICK HERE


About Author

Experienced journalist for more than 35 years. Managing Director of magazine publishing group with six in-house titles and on-line daily newspaper for Warrington. Experienced writer, photographer, PR consultant and media expert having written for local, regional and national newspapers. Specialties: PR, media, social networking, photographer, networking, advertising, sales, media crisis management. Patron Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace. Trustee Warrington Disability Partnership. Former Chairman of Warrington Town FC.

1 Comment

  1. Thanks Gary for publishing this, the efforts of our WVIP staff as we find news ways to support our members – and most of all the NHS staff and other front line workers.

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