Lockdown is a worrying, unsure time for us all. But spare a thought for those of us with sight loss and at extra risk of being further isolated, writes Clive Wood.
I used to say I couldn’t live in a world I couldn’t see, but I’ve learned life goes on after sight loss.
Would you know how to tell if a person needs assistance or not?
Companies like Apple and Microsoft have been embedding accessibility into their operating systems in recent years, meaning that people can simply switch on the features they need. Yet designers and developers often fail to support these features, meaning that most apps and services are still inaccessible for lots of people with disabilities.
I was there to represent the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) - the Festival's official health charity partner - so I arrived on-site before the gates opened. This was fantastic as it meant that I could explore the site with no crowds to get through, helping me create a mental picture of the festival. The site was vast and the ground uneven, so I was glad I'd packed some sturdy footwear as I walked miles every day exploring.
And when it comes to the mud, wind and rain, it's part of festival life, so I embrace it - it's hilarious when my guide is slipping and sliding all over the place whilst trying to keep me on track!
The importance of local sight loss charities for me is not explainable in a short blog. It is something that if you have any degree of sight loss, you should access. Use the services and seek the advice. The staff at any of these organisations are there not just to help, but to care.
It's been a little while since you last heard from me, and that's because Elaine and I have been on our first ever holiday with my guide dog, Oscar. We enjoyed a week travelling around bonnie Scotland, and Oscar didn't put a paw wrong!
I went from being a spunky 21-year-old storming around London with no clue about who she was or what she was doing, to an isolated child-like woman who couldn't or, better yet, wouldn't adapt to her new-found blindness.
When I went blind, I really did think that my life was over because it cost me my business, my home and my freedom. It put me in such a bad place, mentally. Now, thanks to Oscar and Guide Dogs, I'm planning for the future again and I'm gradually getting back to the old me.