PARTY CONFERENCE STAND VISITS
The Somerset Guardian, 11th October 2023
Every year, prior to the Conservative Party Conference, a number of constituents usually write asking me to visit various stands that are promoting and supporting certain issues that they often have a personal interest in. It is something that I am always keen to do and this year was no exception.
Whilst it is always both educational and helpful to talk to a diverse range of bodies, three stands struck me as particularly interesting and well organised. These were the Guide Dogs, Marie Curie and the Alzheimer’s Society. Something that I wrote about recently as September was World Alzheimer’s month. There were many constituents who requested that I talk to the Society this year and it was an honour to learn more and represent them.
Equally, talking to those who had come to represent Marie Curie about the excellent work that they do to help people who are approaching the end of their lives as well as offering support to their families and friends during bereavement was most humbling. Often with nowhere to turn to, Marie Curie gives people invaluable guidance during the dark times and for many, the hope to go on.
It was a great pleasure to meet Elaine who was there to represent the Guide Dogs and was I lucky to encounter Inca, a lovely black Labrador, with whom I had a picture taken. Elaine told me about the serious problems that pavement parking and street clutter cause for people with sight loss. This needlessly increases the anxiety that people are already anticipating about what obstacles may lie ahead when they are going about their daily business.
Cars blocking pavements are also one of the main barriers preventing people with sight loss from walking the streets safely and in some cases can force people onto the road. Pavement parking has largely been prohibited on pavements in London since 1974 and the charity is calling for this to be extended across the rest of England.
People with good sight unwittingly take many things for granted but we should be more mindful to consider how our actions affect those who are disabled and vulnerable right across the board.
As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of any assistance: firstname.lastname@example.org.