BLIND and partially-sighted people are set to have more say in accessibility issues across Scotland with the launch of Sight Loss Councils (SLCs) next year.

SLCs are made up of volunteers with lived experience of sight loss who meet monthly to discuss problems they are facing and plan projects.

They are 20 of them in place across England but this is the first time they will be launched in Scotland.

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Priorities for SLCs include accessible transport and streets so everyone can travel independently and safely, while they also work to increase the accessibility of healthcare, shopping, museums and galleries, and sports and leisure facilities, depending on the needs of the area in question.

They will be launched by Sight Scotland, Sight Scotland Veterans and Visibility Scotland, in partnership with the Thomas Pocklington Trust.

Emma Hughes, director of services at Thomas Pocklington Trust, said: “Our Sight Loss Councils, led by blind and partially sighted volunteers, are a tried and tested model designed to create positive change for others.

“This partnership builds on the success of Sight Loss Councils in England to amplify the voice of more blind and partially sighted people across Scotland.

“We look forward to Scottish Sight Loss Councils launching in the near future.”

SLCs have ran many campaigns over time including the #MakeHealthAccessible project, which aims to see the Accessible Information Standard applied and understood universally throughout England.

The #DistancingBlind campaign also highlighted challenges blind and partially sighted people face in socially distancing and provided guidelines for transport providers and businesses.

Craig Spalding, chief executive of Sight Scotland and Sight Scotland Veterans, added: “This is a fantastic opportunity to amplify the voice of those with lived experience in Scotland, making vision loss the priority it needs to be in Scotland.”

Laura Walker, Visibility Scotland’s CEO, said: “Sight Loss Councils in Scotland is an exciting new opportunity to provide a safe platform for people's voices to be shared, listened to and acted upon.

“Visibility Scotland is thrilled to be part of the consortium of organisations that will launch and deliver this new initiative.”