Blurred People
Is this how some of
your church see you?

Facts and figures

  • There are over 2 million people living in the UK with sight loss.
  • It is estimated that by 2050 the number of people with sight loss in the UK could double to 4 million people.
  • 1 in 5 people over 75 are eligible to be registered as blind or partially sighted.
  • Almost half of blind and partially sighted people feel ‘moderately’ or ‘completely’ cut off from people and things around them.
  • Everyone’s eye condition is different and only a small percentage of blind people have no sight at all.
  • Few churches will have people with guide dogs and white canes, yet most churches will have people who are struggling with sight loss. 

Barriers to inclusion 

Physical barriers:

  • getting to church or house group;
  • participating in the church service due to being unable to read hymnbooks, projector screen or printed materials.
  • inadequate or unsuitable lighting;
  • getting around the church or hall.

Social barriers:

  • not being able to make eye contact with people;
  • not knowing who is present;
  • not being included in conversations;
  • not being viewed as having the ability to participate. 

Removing Barriers 

  • Don’t make assumptions and instead ask the person what help they may need. Everyone’s needs are different.
  • Introduce yourself and initiate conversations with the person with sight loss.
  • Don’t use inappropriate language that makes a person feel excluded.
  • Make sure that all spaces where people walk are kept clear to prevent accidents.
  • Try to see the person’s ability and not just their disability.
  • Don’t assume that blind people need or want to be healed. 

Including people with sight loss in the life of the church 

  • Technology such as email, iPads, tablets and memory sticks can be a great way to make visual information in churches accessible to people with sight loss.
  • Most of the popular hymn and songbooks are available in braille or large print from Torch Trust.
  • Songs on a projector screen can be produced in large print easily and also in braille given enough notice. The same is true for Bible study material.
  • Bibles are available from Torch in Braille, large print and audio.
  • Sometimes visual presentations are played on screens in churches without an audio description. In these situations, it would be very helpful for a sighted person to sit beside the person with sight loss and describe what is happening on the screen.
  • People with sight loss should have the same opportunities as sighted people to contribute to all aspects of church life. 

Looking at the community around the church 

  • 100 people a day in the UK are told that they are losing their sight.
  • Only 1 in 5 have someone to support them at this tough time and only 1 in 12 are offered any form of counselling.
  • Losing sight can be traumatic, and can bring increased risk of depression, anxiety, loss of confidence and social isolation.
  • Opportunities exist to support people adjusting to their sight loss through Journeying With befriending.
  • Volunteers are needed to reach people with sight loss socially and spiritually by starting new Torch Groups or by joining an existing one.
  • Could you help to organise a local Torch event for blind and partially sighted people?
  • Partner with Torch to help make your church a welcoming and accessible place to come for people with sight loss from your community.