Out of Sight Campaign Access Survey
This year 351 people completed an NCBI telephone and email survey relating to Access. We in NCBI are most appreciative of the contributions made by those who responded positively to a random selection from our database and took the time to complete the Out of Sight, Access Survey. The survey is available in audio and Braille from NCBI’s Library and Media Centre and on line in both word and pdf.
The primary objective of the survey was to ascertain and evaluate the access needs of people living with sight loss in order to provide direction for the development of an effective strategy for NCBI’s advocacy and public policy campaigns for the coming years 2017-2020.
This survey should be recognised as a first step in NCBI’s strategic commitment to a programme of advocacy and policy work towards making Ireland a more accessible and inclusive country in which to live with either low vision or no vision.
Priorities have been identified in each of the key areas of this survey. Some are straightforward and offer NCBI a clear mandate to develop campaigns with local authorities and service providers (including ourselves), to bring about important changes that will make a significant difference to people’s lives.
Others are more complex and will necessitate focus group discussions in order to delve below the headlines offered in this report, to the specific issues and barriers that need to be overcome in order to bring about real change. Access to employment, technology, appropriate assistance, transport and increased participation in social and leisure activities, are among these. We will need to focus our influence on policy, bringing to the tables of power the voices the people we are here to represent. This report and the work that will follow is well timed as we enter an era where a ‘rights based’ inclusive approach to access and full participation of people with disabilities will replace the old charity model and people who live with disability and their organisations will lead the change.
Many who participated in the survey have submitted their details and indicated that they are interested in getting involved in some way with NCBI’s advocacy work in 2017. If you are not yet among these, have impaired vision and would like to be included, please forward your name, email address and phone number to me in an email with the subject line, “Advocacy in NCBI”. My intention is to contact people in the first part of 2017 with an invitation to have an input into our advocacy and policy work over the next four years.
I would envisage that we will require input from people in many different ways ranging from feedback to email consultations, to participation in focus groups, to engaging with local and national groups and representing the vision impaired/blind perspective. There may be many other ways (yet to be discovered) that this work will include the voices of those who live with sight loss and I look forward to exploring some of these with you in 2017.