How does it feel to be visually impaired, or disabled? Visual Impairment Forum for the Lancashire Area intended to answer this question through its Stronger Together conference, held at Chorley Town Hall.
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Chorley MP Lindsay Hoyle was joined by the town’s Mayor, Coun Margaret Lees, as well as Coun Hasina Khan, chairman of Chorley Borough Council Equality and Diversity Forum, and Coun Peter Steen, Lancashire County Council (LCC) champion for the disabled, in supporting the event.
Throughout the day, representatives from sight loss and disability organisations, including Galloway’s, Sightline, Guide Dogs, RNIB, Disability Equality North West and the North West Ambulance Service, were on hand to give support and information. There was also a performance by DanceSyndrome, as well as role plays and demonstrations of situations encountered by people with disabilities.
David Hinchcliffe, vice chairman of Visual Impairment Forum, says: “The whole ethos was to bring together people from across the county. This was not just for visually impaired people, as this was for those with any disability. We wanted to give people the opportunity to go around and gather information and tell positive stories.
“Hopefully it will draw more people to the group. Losing your sight or being disabled can cause people to be isolated. We want to break barriers and stop that.
We do a lot of work with LCC, particularly councillors Khan and Steen and they have supported us, which we are very grateful for and we will continue to work with them. We also wish to thank LCC community engagement officer Kiran Branati and Chorley Borough Council. Without their support, the forum would cease to exist.David Hinchcliffe
“This is the second conference we have held. Last year was aimed solely at visually impaired people and the entertainment was a murder mystery. This year, we wanted to extend the event to people with all disabilities.
“We do a lot of work with LCC, particularly councillors Khan and Steen and they have supported us, which we are very grateful for and we will continue to work with them. We also wish to thank LCC community engagement officer Kiran Branati and Chorley Borough Council. Without their support, the forum would cease to exist.”
Visual Impairment Forum for the Lancashire Area meets bi-monthly at Bamber Bridge Methodist Church, in Station Road. The next meeting will be on September 14, from 12.30pm until 2.30pm. Members, from across Lancashire, discuss topical issues that affect people with sight loss. Guest speakers also attend to provide information on support available.