Healthwatch Essex launches a sensory awareness campaign

Healthwatch Essex has launched a new Sensory awareness campaign, co-created with the Collaborate Essex forum. The campaign comes as result of national reports of abuse aimed at those living with sensory impairment during COVID-19.

We listened to feedback from the Collaborate Essex forum, which brings together people with a variety of different disabilities including those who are blind, deaf and deafblind.

Those involved with the campaign have expressed how COVID-19 has brought new challenges including being unable to see COVID-19 specific signage, difficulty social distancing, being unable to lipread through masks and guide dogs not being trained to locate the back of queues.

With one in five people across Essex living with a sensory impairment, we’ve found it important to support their appeal: ‘be aware, be tolerant, be kind’.

Be kind illustration Sam Fox is a Collaborate Essex forum member; she said, “The pandemic has been horrendous as a blind person. If I’m not holding onto my guide dog, I have to touch things around me and it’s unsafe. I’m washing and sanitising my hands upwards of 15 times a day due to touching and social distancing.

“I am so proud to be part of the sensory awareness campaign. I want everybody to see it and just take a little bit of time to notice what we are going through. I think the film is a fantastic reflection on what it’s like for those with sensory impairment on a day-to-day basis”.

Healthwatch Essex CEO, Sam Glover said, “COVID-19 has brought new challenges to the sensory impaired community and at Healthwatch Essex listening to lived experiences is at the heart of what we do”.

If you would like to find out more on how to identify and help those living with sensory impairment you can click here.