Organisations to help Kiwis with site loss access essentials

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Support vital for the blind . . . Blind Low Vision NZ (formerly the Blind Foundation) is working closely with people and organisations across New Zealand to support those in need during the Covid-19 coronavirus lockdown. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Blind Low Vision NZ is uniting with blind, low vision, deafblind and other organisations to ensure Kiwis living with sight loss have access to the essentials during the Covid-19 crisis.

Blind Low Vision NZ chief executive John Mulka said access to essential services, such as supermarkets and pharmacies was a particular concern for people who were blind or had low vision.

“While people with an access need can use public transport, taxis and Ubers ride sharing app to get to an essential service, many eye conditions develop later in life and those over 70 have been asked to remain at home to limit their risk of contracting Covid-19,” Mr Mulka said.

Blind Low Vision NZ (formerly the Blind Foundation) and its fellow organisations had been advocating for supermarkets to prioritise their online services to people who could not physically get to a store with many supermarkets making a commitment to do so, he said.

Many Blind Low Vision NZ clients have limited or no access to technology and may be feeling more isolated at this time.

“Working collaboratively with blind, low vision and deafblind organisations, we are phoning our community checking-in on their health and well-being and offering support.

“If someone doesn’t have access to essential services, we are connecting them to organisations who can help like Age Concern and Civil Defence.

“If you are blind or have low vision, please know that you do not have to go through the Covid-19 crisis alone. We want no one to fall through the cracks and not have access to the essentials.”

The organisation, which has been classed as an essential service, can be contacted by phoning 0800 24 33 33 or by emailing info@blindlowvision.org.nz

“It’s critical for us to keep providing practical and emotional support to people who are blind or have low vision to keep doing the things they need and want to do,” Mr Mulka said.