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Thameslink Sight Loss Council trial safety run for the blind UK News

Rail operator Thameslink arranted the trial at Finsbury Park, King’s Cross and St Pancras main-line stations with the Thomas Pocklington Trust, a national charity for blind and partially sighted people.

The stations were chosen because they are particularly busy, which can make them difficult to negotiate.

Seven members of London’s voluntary Sight Loss Council, who are themselves blind or partially-sighted, were taken on the test journey.

“Navigating a busy station has always been a problem for me,” council member Harry Meade explained. “I would always seek assistance.

“Other blind and partially-sighted people would find a tour like this useful, especially for those less confident to travel.”

Times Series: Sight Loss Council members on a test run to Finsbury ParkSight Loss Council members on a test run to Finsbury Park (Image: Govia Thameslink)

The group was shown how to get around Finsbury Park station using the lifts and connections to bus and Underground.

Station supervisors and managers met them arriving on a train from King’s Cross.

They showed them facilities and how to get help that’s on hand to give blind or partially-sighted people confidence to travel independently.

Times Series: Waiting for assistance at the Help PointWaiting for assistance at the Help Point (Image: Govia Thameslink)

This included where to find staff, toilets and lifts, using a ‘help’ point to put them in touch with someone who can keep an eye on them with CCTV if they need reassurance, or how to get in touch with the train driver using the passenger communication alarm on board.

Lucy Williams from the Thomas Pocklington Trust said: “Being able to travel independently and safely matters to blind and partially-sighted people. A trial run like this would benefit others to gain the confidence to travel.”

Trial runs encourage independent travel and help overcome any potential barriers, Thameslink says.

Times Series: Two people with visual impairments read Braille signs at Finsbury Park stationTwo people with visual impairments read Braille signs at Finsbury Park station (Image: Govia Thameslink)

They are arranged with Sight Loss councils, regional groups run by blind and partially-sighted volunteers and funded by the Thomas Pocklington Trust, to make sure things the public takes for granted are accessible to them as well.

The councils advocate the needs of the blind and partially-sighted to influence positive change in society. They meet monthly to discuss issues and plan projects like trial runs to check out any problems using public transport.

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This notice was published: 2023-12-31 12:00:00

By Times Series

Times Series, The News from the London borough of Barnet, and Borehamwood & Elstree.

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