Fiona McCormick is one of the team leaders within the sight support team at seescape, the Fife-base charity that provides services for people with visual impairments. People living with disabilities are part of a diverse society, but despite greater awareness, those with disabilities still find themselves excluded. Only one in four with a visual impairment is in employment. Part of seescape’s mission is to break down preconceptions of those with sight loss and raise awareness of the often simple initiatives that could make a huge difference.
This is Fiona’ perspective on diversity. “I have been working with a 75 year old to increase her mobility. She is fit, motivated, has been a keen walker and she has been losing her sight for the past 10 years. But she broke her hip in a recent fall in the street and it meant she lost her confidence and with that her independence. Most people will not notice the clutter of unnecessary street furniture and broken pavements, but for those with sight loss, these are all dangerous booby traps and exclude many from enjoying our villages, towns and cities.
“We are currently being consulted by Kirkcaldy train station about its redesign. Rail transport is often vital to get to and from a place of work, but if you take a step back and consider the train station from the perspective of someone with sight loss, the situation is dire. Kirkcaldy train station is quite typical. The current layout is bad; there is a disabled walkway, but it is not signposted; and even the disabled toilet is almost impossible for someone with a disability to negotiate.
“From our perspective, diversity awareness is growing, but it has not yet led entirely to diversity inclusion.”