Michael has led calls for a change in the voting system for blind people at the launch of the Royal Society for Blind Children (RSBC) Youth Forum’s 2018 Youth Manifesto in Parliament.
The RSBC Youth Forum was set up to act as a voice for blind and vision-impaired young people in London and the South East and to unearth potential solutions to challenges they face, such as employment, transport, accessible technology and mental health support.
As the charity’s President, Michael was keen to educate parliamentary colleagues about RSBC’s forward-looking initiatives.
“Not enough people know that people who lose their sight in youth have huge hurdles to overcome”, he said.
“As a Member of Parliament, I am particularly interested in improving access to democracy for the vision-impaired: using technology to reduce barriers to voter-turnout, considering the location of polling stations and making local candidate information more available.
These are basic human rights that some young people are being denied: this is something we cannot ignore.”
MPs from all parties then listened to presentations by the Chief Executive of the charity, Dr Tom Pey, members of the RSBC Youth Forum, Ruksana Khanum, Cory Sharp and Charlotte McMillan, and Areeq Chowdrey of Webroots Democracy.
The four key areas of focus in the manifesto are:
- Raising awareness about what it looks like to be blind or vision-impaired;
- Working with national transport providers in order to improve services for independent travel;
- Campaigning for better mental health support for young people who are blind and vision-impaired; and
- Making our current voting system accessible to blind and vision-impaired people.