Shoreline was involved with Methodist Women in Britain and Gaining Vision in a 24-hour gathering in Windermere last week. Our purpose was to share experience about visual impairment in relation to the creation of spiritual resources such as the Shoreline packs and Editions magazines. Fifteen people attended and shared their own experiences of visual impairment, whether personally or as friends, carers, spouses or partners.
We quickly realised that ‘one size does not fit all’! Frustration was expressed about direct and indirect discrimination – social attitudes often being more disabling than the condition itself. Examples of good practice were shared, simple things such as having church services available ahead of time to be read electronically during a service, for instance, or paying attention to lighting, steps and other physical issues, as well as font style and size in printed matter.
One participant said: ‘the most important thing is understanding the situation, and being sympathetic to the situation, asking “are you alright, Mary?” ‘.
Our hope is that this experience will directly inform our practice in the creation of future resources, but also make us all more sensitive to and informed about the needs of others. We trust that this awareness can feed back into our daily lives and through us to our churches and wider communities.
We would be happy to take this conversation further – please do be in contact.