Brimbank blind walk begins

blind walk 16-3-17 Moiz Siddiqui [stripped top] with organiser/carer Miriam Bilander and Chrietos Cypreou [blue top]

More than two dozen blind or vision impaired people from across Melbourne descended on Brimbank Park last week for the first in a series of walks across Melbourne’s west.

Organised by Blind Sports and Recreation Victoria, the walks are designed to bring together members of the vision impaired community to explore nature, learn about local history, and connect socially.

The walks were made possible through a grant from Brimbank council. Program co-ordinator Miriam Bilander said such a simple concept could make a big difference.

“The aim of these walks is to promote physical fitness, get out of the house and get active, reduce isolation and also learn about some of the local history,” Ms Bilander said.

“I don’t want to paint the picture that all blind or vision impaired people are socially isolated, but certainly it is hard for some people to get out and experience new things like this.

“We meet at Flinders Street Station to travel by public transport, with a lot of vision impaired people lacking confidence on that, and we always finish with coffee and lunch somewhere so it is a really social outing.”

Ms Bilander said 25 people attended the first walk in Brimbank Park last Thursday, with similar numbers hoped for the next walk at Overnewton Castle (April 28).

“We’ve got volunteers who help guide people, and often they become friends and catch up regularly,” Ms Bilander said.

“We make sure our walks are very tactile, lots of touching trees, bush treasures and smelling flowers. The feedback is always very positive.”