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There is a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding surrounding sight loss. Here we will answer some frequently asked questions and some information from some of our Visually Impaired service users

What Can Rehabilitation Help With?

Do I need to be registered as visually impaired to receive a service from Bradbury Fields?

No, you do not. If you have an identifiable sight problem which cannot be corrected by glasses or contact lenses, but which causes you to struggle with everyday life, then Bradbury Fields will be able to help.


What is a Blue Badge and how do I get one in Liverpool?

Blue badge permits provide parking concessions if you have severe mobility problems and have difficulty using public transport. You qualify for a mandatory blue badge without any assessment if you are registered as blind or receive the high rate mobility component of PIP or DLA. If you are registered Partially Sighted, then entitlement would be considered on a discretionary basis taking into account any other illnesses or disabilities affecting mobility.

Applying for a Blue Badge can be done in two ways:

Complete the application online through the council website

Visit a Council One Stop Shop to go through an application with a member of staff

To complete the application you will need the following documents:

  • Proof of entitlement, either a copy of your certificate of Visual Impairment or benefit award letter
  • Proof of identity, either a valid passport, driving license or birth/marriage certificate
  • Proof of address, either utility bill or bank statement (dated within the last 12 months)
  • One passport sized photograph
  • £10 application fee (this is to make the pass. If you are applying on a discretionary basis they will ask for the fee after assessment and you would not have to pay unless your application was successful)

What is a Disabled Persons Railcard? And how do I get one?

A Disabled Persons Railcard saves 1/3 on most rail fares across Britain for you and a companion. You can apply for the railcard if you are registered as Blind or Partially Sighted, or if you receive any component of Personal Independence Payment PIP.

How much does it cost?

£20 for one year

£54 for three years

Bradbury Fields can help to complete the application form or you can apply online here:

Along with your application you will need to send:

  • Proof of your entitlement, either Certificate of Visual Impairment / BD8 or benefit award letter
  • Payment details need to be sent with the application, either a cheque or card details


How do I get a disabled person’s bus pass in Liverpool?

This is a free travel pass that allows anyone registered as Blind or Partially Sighted to travel on local buses and trains anywhere at anytime. You can also travel free on buses anywhere in England between 9:30am and 11pm.

Bradbury Fields can help people to complete an application form which can then be sent in with the appropriate information or taken in to one of the Mersey Travel Centres located in Queens Square bus station Liverpool, Liverpool One or Bootle Strand.

Here is what you will need to apply:

  • An application form, this can be obtained from Merseytravel
  • Proof of registration, Certificate of Visual Impairment
  • Proof of address, either utility bill or bank statement (must be dated within the last 6 months)
  • Passport photograph – If you don’t already have a passport sized photograph this can usually be taken at either of the travel centres

Application forms can be downloaded from the Merseytravel website:


How do I apply for a Talking Book Subscription?

If you live in Liverpool or Knowsley, our Rehabilitation Teams can help you apply for the services listed below:

RNIB Talking Books

  • Choose to receive your Talking Books on either Daisy CD or USB stick
  • More than 23,000 high quality, unabridged audio books, delivered direct to your door
  • Borrow up to six books at any one time – with extra books for holidays
  • Borrow as many books as you want over the year
  • The speedy on-demand service means you will receive the books you want straight away with no waiting for any title
  • All audio books fit on just a single CD, or three books on a single USB stick

Calibre Audio Library

Calibre Audio Library is a national charity providing a subscription-free service of unabridged audio books for adults and children with sight problems, dyslexia or other disabilities, who cannot read print. You can join Calibre Audio Library for a one-off membership fee of £35 or take advantage of the player package for under £70 which includes a choice of either the Boombox or Sovereign USB players. Calibre also offers a free 12 week period for people who want to find out if audio books are right for them.

If you would like to access these services please use the numbers below:

For Liverpool contact: 0151 221 0888

For Knowsley contact: 0151 244 4094


Am I entitled to a British Wireless for the Blind radio?

BWFB, current criteria:

  • You must be registered Blind or Partially Sighted
  • You must be over 8 years old
  • You must be a UK resident
  • You must not be in possession of audio equipment that you can operate
  • You must be in receipt of a “means tested benefit” this is a state benefit such as Income Support or Pension Credit
  • For more details on the current criteria please visit:

Or contact: Bradbury Fields Admin. Phone: 0151 221 0888


What is a Cinema Exhibitors Card? And how do I get one?

Cinema Exhibitors Association Card, this card can be used to verify that the holder is entitled to one free ticket for a person accompanying them to the cinema. The card is valid for 1 year from the date of issue.

Printed application forms are available from cinemas across the UK who support this scheme, or alternatively you can download an application form here. Bradbury Fields can assist in completing this application form if needed.

To apply for the card you will need proof that shows you meet one or more of the following criteria:

  1. a) In receipt of Personal Independence Payment, DLA or Attendance Allowance
  2. b) Registered as a Blind person

You will also need to supply a passport photograph (this will appear on the card).

A processing fee of £5.50 is chargeable per card. This is to be sent along with the completed application.


How can a blind person take part in sports and exercise?

“I believe any sport or outdoor pursuit is possible for a blind or visually impaired person. Some may need more adaptation than others. The fundamentals, though, stay the same.

Look at football for example, I am blind and play for the Merseyside Blind Football Club, we play five-a-side with coaches on the sideline screaming instructions! Does this sound different to the football you see played any day of the week? No! The only difference is we listen for our ball as it’s got ball bearings inside it and in theory tell the opposition when we are about to tackle them.

Other sports and pursuits I participate in include bike riding, cricket and tennis. Again the fundamentals stay the same. With the bike, somebody else steers so it’s a tandem. With cricket it’s a bat, bigger ball and stumps with some different rules. With tennis a softer ball; the net stays the same though.

In September 2011 I found SAVI North West

and through them found sport again. The difference that opportunity has made to my confidence is unbelievable. When I played sport the first time I took it for granted, never will I do that again.

If you’re afraid that’s understandable – I was in September 2011. The first step though just like with all the sports and activities I participate in is to communicate. Get that right and anything is possible”.

Eamon Preston: Member of SAVI North West, Merseyside Blind Football Club.


How do you tell the time if you’re blind?

There are many great pieces of equipment to help you tell the time such as easy to see watches, talking watches that speak the time and Braille display watches that you can feel.  We sell lots of equipment in our Resource Equipment Centre at the Bradbury Centre.


How is Bradbury Fields funded?

Our funding is a mixture of:

  • Local Authority funding
  • Trusts & grants
  • Donations

We rely on these quite heavily as they allow us to run and / or support our charity activities including our various clubs such as Fishing, Gym, Swimming, Spa Club, Tandem Cycling and Music Groups including Choir.


What can you see?

I am sight impaired/partially sighted and I can read the top line on the eye chart when tested at 6 metres away. The top line is numbered 60 so they write my level of vision as 6/60, which can be confusing. It means I can see at 6 metres what someone with full vision can see at 60 metres. I don’t have any problems with my side vision. My friend is sight impaired and she can see the second, smaller line on the chart (6/36) but, she has lost side vision, causing her to bump into things. We are both registered sight impaired but our vision is different.

I am severely sight impaired/blind. Some people may have no vision at all, some may only perceive light. I can read magazine print with my ‘tunnel vision’ but cannot see obstacles or moving objects outside this small area of useful vision. In poor light I struggle to see anything as it is the side vision (peripheral) that lets us see in low level light and see movement. Others who are severely sight impaired may not be able to read any size print or identify someone’s face or the food on their plate but can move around fairly well using their side vision.

“So do you see that what blind or partially sighted people can see is very individual? The variations in eye conditions, the situation and the task being carried out can dramatically affect visual performance and ability to function in daily life”

Dawn Scott – Rehabilitation Worker


How many people are there living with sight loss in Liverpool? And how many in Knowsley?

 Liverpool has approximately 3570 people registered on their database.

1363 people registered Severely Sight Impaired / Blind

1344 people registered Sight Impaired / Partially Sighted

863 people not registered.  These people are either registerable or are awaiting registration documents.

Data gathered November 2020.


Knowsley has approximately 1,044 people registered on their database.

505 people registered Severely Sight Impaired / Blind

539 people registered Sight Impaired / Partially Sighted

Data gathered November 2020.


Do I have to give up driving if my vision deteriorates?

We understand that this is a worry many people have when they first experience sight loss. Developing a visual impairment does not immediately mean you’re not allowed to drive. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) considers everybody’s sight loss on a case-by-case basis, and it’s often possible to continue driving if it’s satisfied that you still have sufficient sight to drive safely, including a normal field of vision (how much you can see around you).

However, it is important that you notify the DVLA of some conditions. The RNIB has a comprehensive guide to what, how and when you should tell the DVLA.

Bradbury Fields is able to provide a range of support to those worried about being unable to drive, from talking through your worries with you to advising about alternative ways to get about, including concessionary travel schemes.


Do all blind people read Braille?

Less blind people read Braille than in the past. This is mainly because a greater proportion of people who are blind have lost their sight later in life and are less inclined to want to learn Braille. Braille is no longer essential to access printed material with the greater and cheaper availability of magnification and speech synthesis on computers, phones etc. Nowadays, it is easier to produce material in audio and large print formats. Many pieces of equipment such as clocks, watches, calculators and scales are now talking whereas in the past they would have been tactile. Therefore, in many cases people can still access printed material without having to learn a new skill.

However, Braille is still an important medium for many blind people. For many people who have lost their sight early in life it will be their preferred format. For many people who also have a severe hearing impairment, Braille may be their only means of accessing printed material.

It is important that people are consulted as to their preferred format prior to providing them with material as this will differ depending on the individual.


Why do some blind people use guide dogs and others use long canes?

“I have been a guide dog owner for more than 50 years and over those years have had seven dogs.

When I first thought about what would make mobility easier for me, I immediately thought of a dog. I was young and loved dogs and I am sure this influenced my choice. Since getting my first dog, right up to today, I have found that to go out with a dog gives me all the information I need. I feel safe when I’m out. The dog looks out for my safety and makes sure I don’t fall down steps, walk into obstacles or get run over. I can’t imagine feeling as safe with a cane.

I also like having the companionship of the dog when I am out and also when I am at home. I feel he is much friendlier than a long cane! I know that he also has to be looked after and that I gladly do”

Geraldine Bounds – Guide Dog Owner

“A long cane requires very little maintenance, no: feeding, grooming, toileting or visits to the vet.

My cane has far less and different responsibilities: e.g. when going away you don’t have to check whether the location is suitable for a guide dog. No need to make appropriate arrangements for someone to look after your guide dog.

I find it much easier to travel on crowded public transport; even small dogs, when lying down, take up a relatively large amount of floor space when compared to the feet of a person standing/or sitting.

To date, nobody has attempted to feed my long cane food and it also does not get distracted by other human behaviour.

My long cane can be taken anywhere with very few questions being asked. Amazingly, after decades of campaigning etc., guide dog owners still encounter some difficulties when using taxis, going into restaurants, occasionally when going into pubs and entertainment venues, and looking for rented accommodation”  – Raymond Brough – Long cane user

So, it comes down to this, the most essential thing for all visually impaired people who want it, is to be able to have independence through mobility. What method you choose is very much a personal matter. It is always a choice and everyone is entitled to decide what’s best for them.


How much is standard/enhanced rate Personal Independence Payment PIP?

Daily Living Standard Rate – £59.70

Daily Living Enhanced Rate – £89.15

Mobility Standard Rate – £23.60

Mobility Enhanced Rate – £62.25

These are paid per week.


How much is low/high rate Attendance allowance?

Low rate £59.70

High rate £89.15

This is paid per week.

Can I claim DLA or AA if I have savings or any other income?

Yes, as both are non-means tested benefits and savings or other income will not affect entitlement to these benefits.

If I get Disability Living Allowance DLA or Attendance Allowance AA will I lose any other benefits?

No, and sometimes receiving DLA or AA may open doors to other entitlements.