Introducing the RSBC Youth Manifesto

The RSBC Youth Forum are excited to present our manifesto pledges! Last year we spent some time talking about the issues that impact blind and partially sighted young people, and we picked the three that we felt were most important for our manifesto pledges.

Have a listen to our thoughts on the issues and how we aim to tackle them and let us know your thoughts on social media!

Three images: 1) A young lady with dark glasses standing on a train platform, with a train going by. 2) People standing on a crowded bus. The digital monitor screen on the bus shows the name of the street. 3) A man with a white cane is walking alongsid a woman and crossing a pavement with tactile paving.


Our first pledge is to make transport more accessible for vision impaired young people.

Being able to travel confidently is something we really value, but this relies on things such as accessible information and the provision of good assistance on transport networks. If we don’t feel confident in being able to access everything we need then we are much less likely to travel, and this limits our ability to work, study and socialise like our sighted peers.

There are a lot of things that make our journeys easier but some of the most important include: easy location of staff members or help points in train stations and reliable assistance on and off trains.  Accessible train and bus time information and talking buses so we can independently identify where we are and when to get off also help us to travel confidently.

Unfortunately, not all of these are available across the country and inconsistency with things such as tactile paving for road crossings can make it difficult for us to navigate safely.  Lack of understanding from staff and members of the public can also negatively impact our confidence when out and about.

We propose to raise awareness of these issues by:

  • Connecting with Transport for London to continue the conversation of the issues that blind and vision impaired people face when travelling and provide ongoing input on how these can be tackled within the transport network.
  • Driving discussions around the topic through our podcasts and social media engagement, to raise awareness outside of the VI community about the importance of being able to travel independently.
  • Linking with other youth organisations to have broader discussions and share ideas on how best to make progress and take action that will make a difference for all VI young people.


Three images: 1) an office setting with a man talking to a teenage girl sat at her table working on her laptop. 2) A teenage boy typing on a Braille machine. 3) A teenage boy sat a a desk looking at a computer screen. The text on the monitor is large.

Education and Employment

Our second pledge is to improve the experience of blind and vision impaired young people in education and employment settings.

Receiving the right support throughout our education is a vital part of preparing Vision Impaired young people for future success. The quality of support we get can vary widely depending on where we live and there is often a real lack of knowledge about our needs. Often us and our families aren’t given enough information to make well informed choices on important decisions like whether we attend mainstream or specialist schools or what support is available, and this is a pattern that continues into further and higher education.

There are many hurdles when it comes to employment as well. For example, a lot of job applications aren’t accessible to us even with assistive technology, and potential employers don’t know about the range of support that can be put in place to empower us to be happy, engaged and productive employees. When we have the right equipment, adaptions to our environment and awareness from colleagues we can thrive in work.

We can get practical and financial support from things like Disabled Students Allowance and Access to Work, but these are not well known and don’t always provide us with what we need in a timely way to make sure we have what we need to start education or work. It can also be difficult to navigate through these systems on our own and often universities and employers don’t know enough about them to help us.

We propose to:

  • Raise awareness of the support that’s available for vision impaired young people around education and employment.
  • Through our RSBC Unseen podcast continue the discussion on the lack of easily available information about our legal rights, relating to employment and education, so that more young people can make informed decisions and know when we are not receiving what we are entitled to.
  • Bring attention to the skills Visually Impaired people bring to their workplaces and challenge the assumptions that are made about us and our abilities by making it a key talking point.
Thre images: 1) A crowded high street. 2) A teenage girl and a friend outside arm wrestling and laughing. 3) Looking behind a young woman standing at a window wit folded arms, looking outside.

Mental Health

Our third pledge is to raise understanding and awareness of the variety of ways vision impairment impacts on our mental health.

The effects of vision impairment on our mental health are as varied and individual as we are, but we are potentially more likely to feel anxious or depressed because of our visual impairment. A key issue for example is  feeling anxious about going out by ourselves and socialising in a sighted world. This can lead to us feeling disconnected and isolated from other people.

It can be difficult to access support for our mental health. We might not know where we can go to speak to someone, and often it can be hard for people to understand the particular way our situation impacts us. Being able to connect with those who understand our situation and who can approach conversations about our mental health with empathy  makes all the difference. Having more staff with our lived experience of being visually impaired working in the mental health space would also be brilliant.

 We propose to:

  • Through our RSBC Unseen podcast discuss with other young people about their unique experiences and share tips on how we can begin to reduce the challenges that affect us, and raise awareness around the support available
  • Signpost and promote organisations that offer mental health support for vision impaired young people.
  • Drive discussion on what we can do for ourselves to look after our mental health, as well as promoting specific apps and services that are accessible that we can use to ensure more young people are aware if how to manage their emotional wellbeing.