Lauren Richardson, 17, has teamed up with seven other young adults to form the youth forum at the Royal London Society for the Blind (RLSB).
She was born with nystagmus, which is an uncontrolled continuous to and fro movement of the eyes and also means she struggles with long-distance vision.
She joined the forum in November, which has launched a manifesto after its members discussed the issues they faced within society. After their difficult experiences gaining employment, using public transport and the perceptions by the general public, the manifesto aims to break down several barriers. Miss Richardson said: “We’ve all found that prospective employers see blind and visually impaired people as a hazard and that stops us from getting jobs. This manifesto is designed to educate employers about the blind and visually impaired and teach them that we have other skills and not to dismiss us just like that.”
The manifesto outlines a number of solutions to the problems they all face, including encouraging the Department for Work and Pensions to give employers better access to resources to help them work with visually impaired employees better.
There are other simple solutions, such as making a helpline number available at bus stops for the visually impaired to call for information.
The forum launched a petition, which has gathered more than 360 signatures so far, to increase awareness of the manifesto and get it integrated into legislation. Miss Richardson added: “To spread the word about this manifesto would make such a difference to us. It would help make us independent people.”
To view the manifesto visit www.rlsb.org.uk/youthmanifesto
To sign the petition visit www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/support-the-youth-manifesto-to-inspire-change-for-blind-young-people