UK & World News
Blind People 'Face Increasing Lack Of Support'
Blind people are being left to fend for themselves - and in less than 10 years could have no support from local councils, a leading charity has said.
The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) reveals there has been a 43% drop in the number of blind and partially sighted people getting even basic council support.
That is down from 55,875 people to 31,740, since 2005, according to the "Facing Blindness alone" study.
But the charity fears that in just 10 years' time not a single blind or partially sighted person will receive any support from their council if the trend continues.
The research also found that a growing number of local authorities are restricting access to rehabilitation or only offering a six week course.
The RNIB says that often blind people need longer to gain the new skills needed to remain independent.
Andy Kaye, from RNIB, told Sky News: "When you lose your sight you pretty much have a bereavement; you lose everything that you've learned to date and have to relearn every aspect of your life."
Ellie Phote has two children, Eleanor, four, and, Marino, five, who are both partially sighted because of a condition called nystagmus.
They already need help at school for everyday tasks like reading and getting around the playground safely.
Ms Phote told Sky News she fears that in the future the support won't be there.
"Children and adults who are partially sighted aren't getting so much help, neither are blind people.
"There have been so many cuts in the last 10 to 15 years I do worry that in the next 10 years, is there going to be any help for these people at all?"
The research shows that although care and support has declined by 30% for all adults with a physical disability since 2008, people with sight loss have been worst affected.
The RNIB is now calling on the Government to make changes to the Care Bill and ensure all newly blind and partially sighted people are offered rehabilitation after first being diagnosed.