Please Give Me Space: The masks designed for blind and partially sighted people under the pandemic
People with a hidden disability may feel anxious when maintaining social distancing. A face mask design for them may change this phenomenon.
Blind and partially sighted people in Wales can use wearable social distancing face masks and branded badges with the specific symbol supported by the charities.
The new social distancing resources are wearable and have a Please Give Me Space symbol on the items. The types of these items include branded badges, face masks, lanyards, snoods and tabards. The blind and partially sighted people can wear these items when they go out to remind the public that they are trying to maintain social distancing and they also need to be given a safe space at the same time.
“Please Give Me Space symbol is a campaign to encourage social distancing,” said Gareth Davies, a big part of developing the resources. “And it is something that we have created wearable products for particular people with a hidden disability. The lockdown affects a lot of people’s mental health, particularly those with hidden disabilities. There was an increased level of anxiety then had associated with depression and because people were scared to go outside, to go to the shops, to do the things they would normally do like travel on the bus so that created a lot of anxiety.”
“I’m not purposely trying to be close. But sometimes it happens that my perception of how far two meters is. Having campaigns like Please Give Me Space, really does help me and other people who are visually impaired and who have autism and mobility issues. It helps to show people that we have invisible but we are trying to confine to the rules and please just give us a little bit more space, did it affect any mental health,” said James Ledger, who has used social distancing items.
Ansley Workman, Director of Royal National Institute of Blind People Cymru said: “The pandemic is having a huge impact on blind and partially sighted people across Wales. Social distancing is one of the main concerns, as judging proximity and distance is often very difficult for someone with sight loss and of course, guide dogs cannot be trained to socially distance. Not all disabilities are visible and it might not be obvious that someone is struggling to social distance. We want businesses, organisations and the wider public to better understand the difficulties our community faces and the support they can provide to people with sight loss.”
This campaign has been supported by a lot of areas and organisations. In Wales, there are many businesses and universities that have got behind it. People can buy the product from the website freely.