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Summary: To work towards a barrier-free environment, by providing expertise, education and assistance in making buildings, services, technologies and information accessible to people who are blind or vision impaired.
Themes and Directions:
Historically, the bulk of NCBI services has been comprised of services delivered directly to the individual and his or her family. That will continue to be the trend as we look to future service directions but to that familiar approach will be added a range of indirect services, the purpose of which is to make the environment more accessible for people who are blind or vision impaired.
The environment within which we live is no longer just a matter of streetscapes and public buildings. It also includes the electronic notices and digital access points to goods and services on which we have come to rely as essential contributors to our lifestyles, and as gateways to information and plug-in points for leisure and recreation.
NCBI must promote a better understanding of these points of interaction with society and ensure that they remain as open avenues to full participation for people who are blind or vision impaired and are not obstructed by ignorance or indifference. NCBI must advocate the principles of good practice and offer supports and tangible assistance to achieve the goal of full accessibility.
The commitment of resources to this goal is an investment in the future as much as it obtains benefits in the present. We may never become aware of some of the positive outcomes of our awareness-raising programmes, which may well result in competition for scarce resources between the demonstrable outcomes of direct services as distinct from the more intangible results in this area of activity.
Key Activity 1:
We will develop methods of working that will ensure a consistent focus on the issues of accessibility facing people who are blind or vision impaired.
- Consistently audit the built and electronic environments to identify barriers to access and work towards their elimination.
- Develop and annually prioritise programmes of information or actions to improve awareness of the issues around accessibility.
- Continuously monitor the availability of the necessary equipment and devices which enable access to information for people who are blind or vision impaired.
- Remain conversant with trends in technology and provide a gateway to new devices and systems, providing advice and training as appropriate.
Key Activity 2:
We will work in partnership with others, including public and private bodies, to ensure that a barrier-free environment exists for people who are blind or vision impaired.
- Develop local groups of people who are blind or vision impaired along with volunteers to audit the accessibility of the local environment. These will be trained and supported to become advocates for best practice to meet NCBI’s accessibility goal.
- Identify areas of collaborative work with other disability agencies which will further the objectives of this goal.
- Lobby for the provision of supports and services, free of charge, which reduce the barriers to information and opportunity, and otherwise compensate for the disadvantages of sight loss, particularly in the areas of technology and PA services.