Project of the month
1st Staindrop Cubs
Issue picked: Disability
1st Staindrop Cubs are doing all that they can to help their community understand visual impairment.
Launched in October 2015, the A Million Hands project led by the Cubs from Staindrop, Durham has grown by leaps and bounds. Their tenacity to raise disability awareness in their local community led them to Downing Street where they delivered a petition against street clutter in September 2016.
Street clutter has been an on-going issue in their area for several years and poses great problems for people with sight loss. Their motivation to draw attention to visual impairment was stirred when a girl, who attends a school nearby to where they are based, lost her sight after having a brain tumour.
With great passion for the topic they got stuck into learning more about visual impairment by taking part in a blind obstacle course and meeting Christine Kay, a local Guide Dogs representative, and her guide dog Sula. She shared her experience of having to avoid the dangers of cars parked on pavements.
‘They did not stop asking her questions’, said Cub Scout Leader, Jacqui, ‘and they showed great compassion. One or two of them began to tear up when Christine explained how she lost her sight.’
What Christine experiences is a daily struggle for her and others with sight loss. Her story made an impact on the Cubs so much so that they conducted both street clutter and pavement parking surveys to assess the problem in their community.
Shocked by their findings, they then decided to create posters to raise awareness of the issue and their own parking tickets, which they handed to ‘offenders’. They would carry a supply around their community and if they saw a car that was parked incorrectly, they left a ticket under the windscreen window.
The campaign didn’t stop there; the Cubs filmed a video to help promote the petition, which garnered over 25K views on Facebook. Their campaign, however, hit a stumbling block when the official petition was not granted due to another petition of a similar nature being submitted.
Despite the setback, the Cubs decided to write to the Prime Minister at the time, David Cameron, who then invited them to Number 10 Downing Street. The petition also caught the attention of their local MP, Helen Goodman.
‘Despite not reaching the 100,000 votes they needed for the petition to be put into effect, they still want to have their say and raise awareness.’ said Jacqui. ‘Because of the work they are doing, people in our community are certainly more aware of the issue. They are also aware that the young people are leading the project. Us adults are here to help and guide them along the way.’
It has been an eventful year and the campaign continues to make waves. Recently, the Group have received a letter informing them that their campaign has been passed by Downing Street to the Department of Transport.
The Cubs are not stopping there and are looking forward to hosting a blindfold walk around the village. They are hoping to invite Helen along to help the community understand the challenges that people with sight loss experience every day.