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Leek woman wins award for her contribution to blind people

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: August 11, 2014

By Leslie Jackson

  • Sarah Gayton with her award for supporting blind people across the country in the new shared space creation in Leek.

  • Sarah Gayton with her award for supporting blind people across the country, pictured in the 'shared space' in Derby Street, Leek.

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A LEEK woman has been recognised for her contribution to blind and partially sighted people.

Leek baker Sarah Gayton has been presented with the Grimshaw Award by the National Federation of the Blind of the UK.

Ms Gayton has produced a powerful documentary film which was premiered in the House of Lords last Decembe, highlighting the difficulties blind people were having following the introduction of shared road space systems in towns.

The documentary, entitled Sea of Change - How does a Blind Person Cross the Road, was shown to delegates who were attending the 21st Birthday of the United Nations International Day for Persons with Disabilities.

The film, which starts and ends in Leek, travels across Britain to Coventry, Warwick, London, Lewes, Wakefield and Southend-on-Sea, which are among many towns now with shared space road designs.

The film also shows how communities are feeling the impact of shared space projects.

It was inspired by the introduction of a shared road system in Leek.

The presentation of the award took place at the annual general meeting of the National Federation of the Blind in London.

Ms Gayton said: "The introduction of shared space is causing people many problems all over the country.

"I feel very privileged after receiving the award. The film was produced to give blind and partially sighted people a voice.

"It has been very well received by communities all over the country.

"We have taken a copy to Number 10 in London and also premiered it in the House of Lords.

"The film, which is the shocking truth of blind people being designed out of our high streets, is told by the people it affects.

"The award night in London was an excellent event and I met many blind and partially sighted people who are not happy with shared spaces being made in their towns.

"The production team have filmed members of the Federation of the Blind of the UK, whose voices are on the whole ignored during consultation processes when town and city centres are being regenerated, and are left battling the councils to try and get crossings back after changes have been made."

Ms Gayton said the film had also inspired young people from across the world, and has now received film footage from Kenya, Nigeria, Ecuador and Pakistan on the issues of accessibility and disability.

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  • royzee  |  August 14 2014, 9:54PM

    well deserved Sarah good on you

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