Guide Dogs for the Blind meets Vancouver Centre manager over obstacles to blind people in King’s Lynn

West Norfolk Borough Mayor Liz Watson is taken round King's Lynn blind folded by Guide Dogs for the

West Norfolk Borough Mayor Liz Watson is taken round King's Lynn blind folded by Guide Dogs for the Blind's Helen Sismore, to highlight the difficulty blind people face walking around Lynn Town Centre. Picture; Matthew Usher. - Credit: Matthew Usher

Charity campaigners have met with the manager of an outdoor shopping centre in a bid to reduce the number of obstacles which make it difficult for blind and partially-sighted people to get around.

Representatives from Guide Dogs for the Blind met Abbie Panks - the newly-installed manager of the Vancouver Centre - to raise concerns about the number of advertising boards and stalls which cause obstructions in King's Lynn town centre.

As a result of the meeting, Miss Panks has offered the charity the chance to write for the Vancouver Centre retailer's newsletter, so they can highlight the problems the blind and partially-sighted people face in the town centre.

The charity and Miss Panks have also agreed to meet regularly throughout the year, to discuss the issues facing blind people in the town centre, whereas Guide Dogs for the Blind has offered to train shop workers in how to help blind people.

Gill Southgate, vice-chairman of the King's Lynn and District branch of Guide Dogs for the Blind - who is completely blind - said the meeting was 'very positive'.


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She added: 'You can't stop shops having advertising boards but we suggested keeping them along the building line and making sure they can be easily seen.'

She also said that store workers do not always offer blind people assistance - but said that is because: 'Some people do not know how to approach you and do not want to do it in the wrong way.'

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Guide Dogs for the Blind organised the meeting at the Vancouver Centre after highlighting the difficulties blind and partially-sighted people face at an awareness event in October, where West Norfolk Mayor Elizabeth Watson was guided around the town centre blindfolded.

Miss Panks said: 'Following our meeting with Guide Dogs for the Blind, we have invited them to write a piece for our retailer's newsletter. This will mean that their comments will go directly to managers.'

Do you have a view about what could be done to improve access for blind and partially-sighted people in King's Lynn town centre? Write giving your full contact details to: The Letters Editor, EDP, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email EDPLetters@archant.co.uk

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