COVID-19 Living in a Lockdown

Passenger on the London Underground wears a surgical mask during the coronavirus pandemic.
Passenger on the London Underground wears a surgical mask during the coronavirus pandemic. Getty Images

 

 

London is proving very challenging for the more than two hundred thousand blind and partially sighted people living in the capital, with younger people being particularly affected.

New research carried out by the Vision Foundation shows that the lockdown is compounding the exclusion, isolation and anxiety already faced by many blind and partially sighted people. Measures such as social distancing mean that the usual support isn’t available to allow people to get around taking away autonomy and independence. Younger people, living on their own without a local support network in place, describe feeling the loss of control and isolation acutely, with delays in securing the relevant technology and support for homeworking increasing the stress. Access to key services, such as shopping deliveries, has been a problem for many although local shops are now finding ways to cope with this, while supermarkets try to find a solution.

“The greatest impact of all is the loss of independence and loss of control”

(working single in 20s)

Our research has found that organisations which support the visually impaired community in London are working hard to stay in touch with their members and adapt their services to suit different needs. We have committed £100K to the London Community Response Fund to support essential community organisations to ensure they can adapt and innovate quickly and effectively. We’re also offering free fundraising and income generation advice and hands-on pro bono support to enable small, local sight loss charities to access emergency funding opportunities. In line with our aim to make London a shining example of a sight loss city, we have written a joint letter with RNIB to the Mayor of London to draw his attention to the challenges faced in the current crisis and launched a new social media campaign #BlindLockdownLife.

Judith Brodie, the Vision Foundation’s interim chief executive said:

“The Vision Foundation has moved quickly to help address the problems faced by London’s blind and partially sighted people by providing funds to enable the excellent local organisations, which support this community, to deliver their services where and how they are needed.”

To read the full research reports, please follow the links below:

PDF version: https://www.visionfoundation.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Living-in-a-Lockdown-the-experiences-of-London’s-sight-loss-community.pdf

plain text (word) version: https://www.visionfoundation.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Living-in-a-Lockdown-the-experiences-of-London’s-sight-loss-community-plain-text-version.docx