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Students on campaigning trail for Guide Dogs

18 Mar 2015

Student volunteers from Leeds Beckett University attended a Guide Dogs awareness day on Wednesday to learn about what it is like to be blind or partially sighted, before hitting the streets to distribute leaflets campaigning for safer parking laws.

Volunteer student co-ordinator Emily Stevenson recruited fellow student volunteers to drop leaflets in local shops and business in Headingley to raise awareness of the need to keep footpaths clear of all clutter. The problem of pavement hazards, especially cars parked on pavements and wheelie bins left out, is particularly acute in Headingley due in part to the large number of multiple occupancy student homes. Guide Dogs are calling for a nationwide ban on pavement parking, unless specifically permitted, as is in place in Greater London.

To experience the difficulties these obstacles have for people with sight loss the students took a blindfold walk through Guide Dog’s sensory tunnel. The tunnel simulates what it is like to be blind or partially sighted by altering peoples’ perspectives. The sounds and textures on the walls and underfoot alter, this tests the senses that sighted people take for granted.  

Students Ready To Take On The Sensory TunnelStudents Leoni Stanton and Emily Harris were the first ones through the tunnel, they said “We didn't know what to expect when we put the blindfold on and it was quite scary walking through the tunnel, and very loud. We were totally disorientated, but it has given us a better understanding of the daily obstacles encountered by visually impaired people.”

Guide Dogs is one of the university’s community partners and although the students have previously been involved in fundraising for the charity this is the first campaigning event.

For more information on the Streets Ahead campaign visit the campaign webpage.