Last week the RNIB released shocking figures showing that the number of blind and partially sighted people accessing services from Suffolk County Council had dropped from 1,335 in 2005/6 to just 430 in 2012/13, a 68% drop, leaving many blind and partially sighted people without the care and support to live independent lives.
The number of people supported by the County Council in the last year has fallen a dramatic 20.8%, giving rise to a huge number of problems for people trying live their lives. Whilst the council may point to blind and partially sighted being able to access community based provision there has also been a worrying decline in the provision of such services with 36% less community services across the country as there were in 2005/6.
Labour County Councillor Kathy Bole quizzed council leaders over this appalling set of figures asking the council for a full explanation of why this dramatic decrease had taken place.
Following the inconclusive reply Cllr Bole said ‘it is disgraceful that people are being trapped in their own homes without the support they need. Can you imagine what it would be like to be newly blind and not able to cook, clean, identify their medicines, get out of your own home or even match your own clothes? The County Council has a responsibility to put this situation right.
Cllr Bole continued’ ‘I call on the government and the county council to implement the relevant recommendations of the report in order to give visually impaired people the best chance of an independent life.’
For more information contact:
Councillor Kathy Bole (Lab)
mobile: 07714 598147
Notes to Editors:
Facing Blindness Alone, RNIB, http://www.rnib.org.uk/getinvolved/campaign/news/Pages/facing-blindness-launch.aspx: Accessed 18 September 2013