Blind mum claims charity for blind didn't help
ANNETTE Sylvester says a charity for the blind is "discriminating" against her because she is blind.
The 35-year-old wanted to attend computer training courses with Gloucestershire County Association of the Blind at Cheltenham.
But she claims she received no help to get there from her home in Bourton- on-the-Water, from either GCAB or the county council's adult social services sensory team.
Mrs Sylvester, who moved from New Zealand in July with her husband Lee and children Tabitha, 11, and Reuben, six, desperately wanted to be independent and start working again.
She lost her eyesight five years ago when she suffered a haemorrhage following an operation to lower the pressure in her eyes.
"I've never even been on a bus on my own as a blind person and I don't know the area," she said.
"Before we came over I'd emailed GCAB to say I was coming under their jurisdiction. Usually if you lose your sight or move you get mobility training to familiarise yourself with the area and any of your regular routes.
"I heard nothing, sent more emails once we arrived and still didn't hear anything.
"When we got a landline phone I rang and said I wanted to get more au fait with computer technology as a blind person and asked again where did I go to find out about bus services or eligibility for taxi vouchers.
"But it was like talking to a brick wall. Despite a waiting list I eventually got a place on the course. But Lee is going away on work and could only take me twice to the sessions so I lost my place."
She said she had also lost out on the social aspect of meeting other visually impaired people in the area.
"It's crazy – it's a charity supporting blind and partially-sighted people but I'm being discriminated against," she said.
Mrs Sylvester was re-directed to the county council.
"Eventually I was told I might as well teach myself computing at home," she said.
GCAB general manager Steve Martin said: "Our computer training sessions have a waiting list and we ask that people attend on a regular basis.
"It's up to the individual to get themselves to the centre."
A county council spokesman said: "Mrs Sylvester hasn't approached us directly about route training, but if she did require this training we can assess her needs and offer the service if it is feasible for her."