I recently spoke to blind and partially sighted people about the difficulties they face when travelling by bus, on a visit to the offices of RNIB / Action for Blind People.
The visit was part of the Royal National Institute of Blind People’s (RNIB) bus campaign which is calling on bus operators to remember one simple principle: Stop for me, Speak to me.
A recent RNIB survey of blind and partially sighted people revealed a number of barriers:
- 9 in 10 people with sight loss cannot see an approaching bus in time to hail it
- 8 in 10 people with sight loss say they miss the bus they want
- 6 in 10 people said buses which stopped away from the official bus stop caused them to often miss their bus or step off the bus into hazards such as bins and lampposts
- Over half of respondents said they had difficulty obtaining spoken information from the driver such as the bus number and destination.
I also joined the group on a short bus journey around Liverpool City Centre to see first hand the difficulties that people with sight problems may experience when travelling by bus, and why it is important for operator staff to have training in supporting disabled passengers.
Bus operators need to take into account the needs of disabled passengers with all impairments, including blind and partially sighted people. Bus travel is often the only affordable means of transport available and so needs to be accessible to passengers with sight problems.
More information about the campaign can be found at http://www.rnib.org.uk/bus or by calling RNIB’s campaigns hotline on 020 7391 2123.
Yesterday afternoon in Parliament I secured and spoke in a Westminster Hall debate about the decision to shut the North Liverpool Community Justice Centre. Plans are to close the centre and move its workload to Sefton magistrates’ court in Bootle.
The Liverpool Daily Post reported on the story and you can read it here:
You can read my speech to Westminster Hall here: http://bit.ly/18Cih7x
The decision to close the centre was rushed through by the Government. Many people did not have the chance to submit their views.
The Justice Centre has pioneered new approaches to offenders and provides key support services to those in debt, tackling drug addiction and victim and witness support.
This will be a big loss.
In February I highlighted the work of BikeRight!
Kirkdale based cycle training organisation BikeRight! has just run its first fun urban triathlon to encourage people from across North Liverpool to use sustainable, healthy forms of transport in their daily lives. Rather than the traditional swim-run-cycle format, the Choose Freedom triathlon used walk-train-cycle to highlight the different ways of getting around. It’s aim? To improve health and increase employment opportunities.
The first Tri-Freedom Challenge took place on 4th September with a walk starting at Breckfield and North Everton Neighbourhood Council. After a 1.5 mile walk participants then took the train from Sandhills Station to Waterloo Station before embarking on the third leg of triathlon – a 4 mile circular from Crosby Lakeside Activity Centre.
The Tri-Freedom Challenge forms part of Liverpool City Council’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund programme, which is fully funded by the Department for Transport.
BikeRight! is responsible for many innovative projects in Merseyside working with businesses and residents to encourage safe cycling to promote wellbeing and improved employment opportunities. Their Choose Freedom project in North Liverpool encourages residents of Everton and Kirkdale to get on their bikes and enjoy the freedom, savings, health benefits and increased job opportunities afforded by cycling and walking.
This week I promised to work with the Alzheimer’s Society and support the 800,000 people living with Dementia across the UK.
One in three people over 65 will develop Dementia. It is a health issue that we cannot afford to ignore.
You can find out more information about Alzheimer’s Society by visiting www.alzheimers.org.uk
To find out more about Dementia Friends, visit www.dementiafriends.org.uk
I am pictured at the recent Dementia event in Parliament, with Arlene Phillips, Alzheimer’s Society ambassador.
I am very pleased that the Appointment Business Case for the new Royal hospital has now been agreed. This bring the new hospital a step closer.
I welcome this very important milestone achieved after so many years of campaigning.
The new hospital will bring improved health facilities helping to narrow the ten and an half year gap in the life expectancy between people in Liverpool and those in more prosperous areas.
The new Bio campus, expanding one of Liverpool’s growing sectors, will be a major step forward in Liverpool’s regeneration; putting Liverpool on the world stage for life sciences and bringing 5,000 hi-tech jobs.
The combined impact of the Government’s policies and cuts are hitting the poorest hardest and pushing people into food poverty.
Trussell Trust foodbanks have seen the biggest rise in numbers of people given emergency food since the charity began in 2000. In the last year, there has been a 170% rise in people visiting food banks and the trust is launching three new foodbanks each week to cope with demand.
20 per cent of parents have skipped meals or gone without food to feed their children, in the past twelve months.
I visited a food collection centre at Tesco in Park Road. The store collected enough food to provide 20,995 meals to those in need in Liverpool, over the summer. This was part of the biggest ever national food collection.
Trussell Trust figures show that only four percent of people turned to foodbanks due to homelessness, 30% were referred due to benefit delay, 18% low income and 15% benefit changes.
I am pictured with Kevin Hassan, Chris Brennan (Park Road Store Manager), Becky Martin (Community Champion), Shelly Whitmore, Paul Edwards (Foodbank Manager, Trussell Trust)
I recently visited Bellerive school to see their new bus service – The Green Bus.
Congratulations to Bellerive school for this imaginative initiative. I hope this is a great success.
The service helps students to get to school at a reasonable cost.