Different ways to get your voice heard
There are lots of different ways to get your voice heard, but sometimes it can be a little daunting knowing where to begin. Below you can find some suggestions of things to do to get started, both inside and outside of RSBC!
RSBC Youth Forum
We run a monthly Youth Forum, which is made up of a group of blind and partially sighted young people who are committed to bringing about positive change for other young people who are blind or partially sighted.
The Youth Forum’s purpose is to ensure that the voices of blind and partially sighted young people are heard. They work to represent their views and opinions, highlight the issues that are important to them, and then use this to influence those that can affect change and bring about improvements in services.
If you are interested in joining the Youth Forum, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Youth Focus North East and Minds in Sight
With our partners we concentrate on getting blind and partially sighted young people in discussion with key ‘decision-makers’ around the country. These ‘decision-makers’ can be anyone from the field of work that is being discussed. In the past the themes of the session have been topics such as public transport, employment, and more.
Talking to experienced people in different industries during these sessions can help you understand how different processes work in the world, which helps to identify issues and helps you to understand how you can influence change in different places.
If you’re interested in getting involved with our projects that influence change, please email us at email@example.com.
There are ways of getting your voice heard outside of RSBC. Some of these include:
Campaigns for blind and partially sighted people
In the U.K. there are lots of different social campaigns you can get involved with that support the rights of blind and partially sighted people. The RNIB has a whole section of their website called Changing Society which lists all the different national and local campaigns the charity are involved in.
This includes campaigns on:
- Blind and partially sighted people not being able to vote independently and in secret,
- Helping make sure streets are accessible to blind and partially sighted people,
- Social distancing and its impact on blind and partially sighted people – called the Our World Upside Down campaign,
- And more!
If you would like to keep up to date with these campaigns, you can sign up to the RNIB campaign network.
Contacting your local MP or councillor
If you would like to have your say on something outside of a campaign run by other people, a good way of doing this is by contacting your local MP to bring attention to any issue you think is important.
Each area (or ‘constituency’) in the U.K. has an elected official called a Member of Parliament – or ‘MP’. These MPs are voted in every five years to represent the needs and concerns of all the people that live in their area of the country (their ‘constituents’). To find out who your MP is, you can use the Find Your MP tool on the UK Parliament website or ring the House of Commons Enquiry Service on 020 7219 4272.
MPs can propose new laws in Parliament, and can ask questions about basically anything in the House of Commons which can give your suggestion a lot of national publicity and can make it so your idea is more likely to be heard. They are also well-known local individuals so if you have a campaign or issue you want to get more attention in your local area, your MP is a good person to get in contact with.
There are three main ways you can get in contact with your MPs Office (remember that MPs are very busy so you might at first be contacted by their assistant):
- By email: most MPs have email addresses that you can write to which are their name followed by ‘@parliament.uk’. For example, Marsha De Cordova (a blind and partially sighted MP for Battersea)’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
- By letter: this is a bit old-fashioned but will still reach and be answered by your MP. When writing to your MP, just write their name on the envelope followed by ‘House of Commons London SW1A 0AA.’
- If you find it difficult to write or email, then you can instead phone your local MP’s office. You can do this by phoning the House of Commons on 020 7219 3000 and asking to be put through to their office (giving your MP’s name).
It is sometimes more effective to contact your local councillor instead of your MP.
What is a councillor? A local councillor is very similar to an MP, but they focus on issues on a smaller more local level. It might be better to contact your local councillor when you have something to say about an issue that only impacts people in your local area.
- For example if there is an overhanging tree on a pathway which blocks your way, or if a local community centre didn’t let your guide dog in, it might be more efficient to contact your local councillor who would be able to help solve this problem more easily.
You can find who your local councillor is easily, by using the Government ‘Find your Local Councillor’ tool.
If you have any suggestions on what else we should have on this page, please let us know at email@example.com.