White Cane Day is a day of celebrating the achievements of people around the world who are blind or low vision. Using the ubiquitous white cane as its symbol, it has been celebrated yearly on October 15 for decades.
Footpath accessibility is again becoming an issue for Ballarat locals with vision loss with the recent introduction of e-scooters proving to be a particular hazard as they are often left obstructing footpaths.
The week before White Cane Day, on October 7, we are inviting members of the press to come along to a community event that will provide them the opportunity to experience what the average day is like for someone who is reliant on a white cane.
This will involve being blindfolded, provided a white cane, and guided by a Vision Australia staff member around a series of obstacles commonly faced by locals on a small strip of footpath.
“People think simply closing your eyes and taking a few steps is enough to replicate the blind and low vision experience,” Joanne O’Connor, Vision Australia acting Ballarat regional client services manager, said.
“While that goes some way towards that, you must remember that these people live in this world every minute of every day. We need to raise awareness of this for any change to happen.”
This event will be taking place on October 7 at Vision Australia office 14 Coltman Plaza, Lucas at 10:30-11:20am. The group will then head to Ballarat CBD to perform a group walk before arriving at Oscar’s Hotel at 18 Doveton St South approximately 12:00pm, where we will have lunch.
There will be opportunity to speak to locals who are blind or low vision, as well as Vision Australia staff. We are confident that this experience will make for a fun news piece that is informative for the local Ballarat community.