Category Archives: News

Copyright Consultation

The “Disability Exceptions” to the Copyright Act (following from the Hargreaves Review) are now in draft form and the IPO is inviting comments on it.
As the base legislation that allows institutions to provide accessible formats, it is important that be aware of this draft and, if possible respond to the consultation.
The exceptions are extended to all disabled students (rather than VIP) and cover non-print materials as well. There some areas that require attention such as at section 31B (8) regarding record-keeping (no time limits specified) and (9) to notify each copyright holder when creating an accessible copy. This may have a significant impact in your admin load.
The deadline for the consultation is Sept 11.

Accessible Tourism! Survey.

Help shape the future of accessible tourism in Europe
Are you a traveller with particular access requirements? Do you have a disability, or do you regularly travel with young children?
The European Commission is conducting an online survey in order to better understand the demand for accessible tourism, undertaken by GfK, the University of Surrey, ProAsolutions and NeumannConsult.
The aim of this survey is to research the travel patterns and behaviour of people with specific access requirements. The topics covered in the questionnaire are designed to gain an understanding of your personal situation, your travel experiences and your thoughts about travelling in future, so that we can build up a picture of the demand for accessible tourism.
The survey results will be used for a report identifying options for improving the range of accessible tourism services, which will be widely disseminated among and evaluated by stakeholders in the sector, and your responses will ultimately help inform future policy.
To participate, register at and enter your email address to receive a link to the questionnaire. The survey will be open until 22 August 2013.

Talking ATM’s

  Some of you may know that Barclays and the Co-Op are currently
rolling out talking Automated Cash Machines (ACM) for use with
headphones.  You may not know that:
  1.  From the beginning of next year, most of the other banks
will be rolling out an equivalent service.  These include,
Nationwide, Lloyds, Natwest and all of the rest of the Royal Bank
of Scotland group.  Santander and HSBC are still in talks with
RNIB about introducing the service.
  2.  Barclays have a web page where you can put in your street
name, town or post code, and find out where your nearest cash
machine is, and where you can ask for your nearest talking
external cashpoint or your nearest internal cashpoint, or both
types in one list.
  Please note: You do not have to be a Barclays customer to draw
cash from a Barclays machine.
If you are not a Barclays customer, the bank doesn’t charge you
extra for using the machine.
The headphone sockets are normally situated close to the card
For safety reasons, it may be wise only to listen to the spoken
output through one earpiece, so that you can still hear what’s
going on behind you in the street.

Coop ATM’s

As of today, we now have over 1800 machines that have talking functionality
enabled on Co-operative Bank ATMs. By the end of this week, this will be
increased again to over 2500 machines which equates to over 93% of our
The below website will take you to the Co-operative Banks accessibility page
which includes
  a.. A high level view of the project
  b.. A user guide
  c.. A link that will show post codes and addresses for all our enabled

Barclay’s Talking ATM Locator

If you go onto the Barclays website to Store Locator and enter your location, you can then ask where your nearest Barclays cash machine is.
Having selected this option,  you are then given a further option to select Internal or External cash machines with audio.
By clicking  these options, you will get a list of which branches have their talking ATMs – and these days, the majority do. Not many people know this!
 you don’t have to be a Barclays customer to use them – neither is there a charge for doing so. 
Here is a link to the Store Locator page for you to try this out.
Hope it’s of some use to you.

Retinal Transplants Becoming A Possibility

For the first time, scientists have successfully transplanted light-detecting cells in the retina, grown from embryonic stem cells, into mice–a feat that could advance similar therapies using the artificial cells to treat degenerative eye diseases toward human trials.
The animal transplant is a huge step for embryonic stem cell-based therapies, which have moved slowly to the clinic despite their promise.
A team of scientists from University College London’s Institute of Ophthalmology and Moorfields Eye Hospital in London grew a synthetic retina from embryonic stem cells in the lab, extracted the light-sensitive photoreceptor cells that line the back of the eyes, and transplanted the cells into night-blind mice. Researchers observed that the cells seemed to develop normally, integrating into the existing retina and forming the nerve connections needed to transmit visual information to the brain.
“This study is an important milestone on the road to developing a widely available cell therapy for blindness as it proves unequivocally that embryonic stem cells can provide a renewable source of photoreceptors that could be used in treatments,” said Dr. Rob Buckle, head of Regenerative Medicine at the U.K.’s Medical Research Council, which funded the study.
Previous research by the UCL and Moorfields Eye team found that transplanting immature rod cells–essential for seeing in the dark–from the retinas of healthy mice into blind mice can restore their sight. Since this approach would not be practical in humans, the investigators sought to grow retinas containing the various nerve cells needed for sight.
Using a new technique developed in Japan that involves 3D culture and differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells, the researchers grew retinal precursor cells that closely resembled cells that developed normally. They then injected about 200,000 artificially grown cells into the retinas of the night-blind mice. Three weeks after the transplant, the artificial cells integrated into the mouse retinas and showed signs of looking like normal mature rod cells. After 6 weeks, the cells were still present, and researchers observed synapse formation, suggesting that the new cells were able to connect with the existing retinal circuitry. The study appears in Nature Biotechnology.
Human embryonic stem cells, or hESCs, are thought to have greater potential for treating disease because of their ability to turn, or differentiate, into more types of human cells than adult stem cells can, yet there are no FDA-approved treatments that use them.
The major concern with transplanting hESCs into patients is the potential for hESCs to grow tumors, including teratoma–tumorlike formations containing tissues belonging to all three germ layers.

Taxi Driver Refuses To Take Guide Dog

We may think that the following is an isolated incident but this is still not the case.  One of our members shared a similar experience with a taxi driver refusal with a Huddersfield  taxi firm yesterday and I have expereienced numerous experiences of similar events happening to me over recent years. Fortunately I am pleased to say, our member was able to sort the matter out with out it resulting in another court appearance but such occurances are still too frequent.
Just over a month ago, a receptionist preventeed me and a group of other people using the first taxi that came along because she thought another taxi was more suitable to carry a guide dog.
The subsequent taxi driver that came along, put this correct with the person but I still don’t feel that she was totally convinced.
Taxi driver refused to let blind passenger’s guide dog into his car  because
he thought his boss would ‘go ballistic’
Desmond Baldwin, who’s registered blind, ordered the taxi from a local firm
But driver James Chesney, 53, refused to have guide dog Denby in his car
Claimed a driver who shared the car had a daughter with an allergy to dogs
Chesney has been fined more than £1,000 for breaching the Equality Act
A taxi driver could lose his cab licence after refusing to take a fare
because the passenger had a guide dog. James Chesney, 53, was fined £1,000
for telling the customer his boss  would ‘go ballistic’ if the golden
retriever was allowed into the car. The driver claimed Desmond Baldwin ‘s
guide dog, Denby, could cause the  daughter of one of the other drivers to
have an allergic reaction. Chesney, from Droylsden, Tameside, was charged
under the Equality Act with  refusing to take a pre-booked disabled
passenger because he was accompanied by an  assistance dog.
Taxi driver James Chesney, pictured left, has been found guilty of
breaching the Equality Act for refusing to pick up blind customer Desmond
Baldwin,  pictured right, from his house because he was with his guide dog
Denby He denied the offence but was found guilty by Manchester magistrates
after a three-hour trial. He was fined £300 and ordered to pay £800 costs.
The court heard how Mr Baldwin had pre-booked the taxi to go for a meal
with friend Stephen Kingsberry, who is also blind, at The Pearl restaurant
in  Audenshaw on June 24.
Laura Raine, prosecuting on behalf of Manchester council, said when  Chesney
arrived he refused to take the fare, stating his boss would ‘go ballistic’.
Mr Kingsberry’s carer Pauline Harrop told magistrates she was ‘100 per
cent sure’ Chesney refused to take them on those grounds.
Chesney said he believed the car was exempt from taking guide dogs
because his colleague – who also drove the vehicle – had a poorly daughter
who may be allergic  to dogs.
Trial: Chesney denied the charge – claiming he was exempt from taking
guide dogs as another driver who used the car had a daughter with a dog
allergy,  but he was found guilty at Manchester Magistrates’ Court, pictured
But he also claimed he was about to take the men to the restaurant when
another cab, from Hastings taxis, the same company, pulled up and took them.
James Street, defending, told the court the firm had sent another car as
a replacement and added: ‘He didn’t refuse the job, he queried it and when
he was  told to go (and do the job) he did it.’
Magistrates ruled Chesney ‘appeared confused by the sequence of
events’ when he gave evidence in court, while Mr Baldwin and Miss Harrop
were ‘clear  and concise’.
Speaking after the hearing, Mr Baldwin, 59, from South Elmsall, near
Pontefract, West Yorkshire,  said: ‘I’m glad
he’s been found guilty. It’s over with now and let’s hope it reminds
the other taxi drivers they can’t refuse people with guide dogs.’
Mr Kingsberry, who made an official complaint which sparked the
investigation, added: ‘I believe everyone who has a guide dog has the right
to go where they  want.’

Guide Dogs Capaign News

Welcome to the July edition of the Guide Dogs Campaigns Update!  We have some great news from our Parliamentary Reception and an important new survey for you to help us out with this month.
Take five minutes this month to:
Streets Ahead Survey 2013
A guide dog owner walking down a cluttered high street
“Street clutter is a really big problem for blind people and it can make you feel even more cut off if you know you’ve got to negotiate all this detritus every time you go out.” Guide Dog Owner, London
Wheelie bins? Overhanging branches? Cars parked on pavements? There are lots of obstacles that stop people who are blind and partially sighted from getting out and about independently. We want to find out more about the inconsiderate barriers to mobility encountered on roads and high streets across the UK, which is why throughout July we will be conducting our ‘Streets Ahead Survey 2013’. Help us shape the future of our Streets Ahead campaign by spending five minutes to take part online now. Don’t forget to encourage your friends and family to get involved too!
Safe and Sound Reception Success
Thanks to all the thousands of you who took a few minutes to invite your MP to our Parliamentary Reception last month. The event took place on 26 June and was a huge success with 140 MPs turning up to find out more about our Safe and Sound campaign! We also took the opportunity to present Minister Norman Baker with a giant mix tape of favourite sounds, as provided by hundreds of campaigners, to remind him of the importance of sound!
Transport Minister Norman Baker presented to him by Guide Dogs CEO Richard Leaman
Read more about the reception, check if your MP had their photo taken on the day and find out how you can still help campaign for the installation of these important sound generators on quiet vehicles by visiting our website.
Last chance to nominate!
The Guide Dogs Annual Awards 2013 logo
The deadline for nominations for the Guide Dog Annual Awards 2013 is the end of this month. If you know someone who has been particularly active in campaigning for better accessibility for people who are blind or partially sighted then make sure you put them forward for the ‘Breaking Down Barriers’ Award. Perhaps you know someone who has been campaigning for better crossing points in your local area, or working with the council to address street clutter problems? Make sure hard working campaigners get the recognition they deserve at this year’s awards and complete a nomination form now!
Help us wield more influence
The more people we have involved in our campaigns, the better, and you are the best people to lead our recruitment drive. It would be great if you could

RNIB Campaign News Update July

Stop for me, speak to me fortnight of action
Join the bus campaign fortnight of action from 19 July which brings together campaigning on a local, regional and national level. There are loads of ways to get involved, from joining the national bus relay, to taking part in a swap with me event, mystery shopping, blogging, letter writing and using social media as well as other campaigning activities, you can be as creative as you like!
The fortnight follows some fantastic “Stop for me, speak to me” activity that has been taking place across England over the last few months, designed to raise awareness and gather evidence of the problems that blind and partially sighted people are still experiencing when travelling independently by bus.

More campaign news and action
Challenge your MP to “Call my bluff”
The “Call my bluff” game invites you to guess which statements about the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) are true and which are a bluff. The WCA, which is the test for Employment Support Allowance, is repeatedly letting disabled people down and this urgently needs to be addressed by a new independent review, headed up by Dr Litchfield.
Challenge your MP to play too, and ask them to write to Dr Litchfield’s review team, urging essential improvements to the assessment. If you have experience of the WCA, you can also respond directly to the review team’s call for evidence before 27 August.
Invite your MP to Save Our Sight in Parliament
RNIB is hosting a reception in the Houses of Parliament on 15 July to highlight the problems in accessing treatment for cataracts – please ask your MP to attend our reception to find out how they can help people in your area at risk of sight loss.
At the reception your MP will be provided with data on the number of people who need cataract surgery in their local area and the number that actually manage to access it. They will be able to find out about the actions they can take nationally and locally on behalf of their constituents who may be at risk of sight loss.
Vote for the best care campaign action
We’ve suggested three actions we could take as part of a new care campaign. Vote for your favourite action and the winner will be rolled out as part of the campaign, launching this autumn.
The new campaign will tackle the shocking drop in care and support provided for people living with sight loss which is leaving people without basic help they need to live independently, both at home and also when they go out and about.
Books without borders breakthrough win
We’ve had a fantastic campaign success for our Books without borders campaign. A new ground-breaking UN treaty was agreed last month that will give blind and partially sighted people greater access to books in a format they can read, such as large print, braille or audio CD.
Singer Stevie Wonder backed the RNIB campaigns team and World Blind Union’s successful negotiations for a strong treaty as part of the Books without borders campaign. The treaty is important because it legally allows blind people’s organisations, libraries and others to use the new exception to copyright rule in order to make and provide accessible books where previously they could not have done so.
In your area
Our network of local campaigners have been busy raising awareness and pushing for positive changes where they live. Neil’s been successful in tackling parking on pavements in Grassington, Maxine persuaded her MP, Andrew Lansley to accompany her on a local walk of Cambridge whilst blindfolded and Peter gained support from his newly elected South Shields MP. There’s loads of local bus campaigning happening too. Check out our regional campaigns update for more.

Further PIP Consultation Till 5th August.

The Department Of Work & Pensions  have recently published a further consultation on the Moving around activity for Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
The consultation is only on the assessment activity Moving around, which looks at an individual’s ability to move around physically. The consultation is not about other aspects of the assessment or benefit.
The consultation does not affect current PIP claims or the current PIP assessment process. The current criteria are still in place.
The consultation opened on the 24 June and will run until 5 August.
Full details of the consultation and how to let us have your views can be found on the website.