Talking hole in wall machine helps partially sighted people

Christine Ward SUS-140326-100103001
Christine Ward SUS-140326-100103001

LLOYDS Bank in Rye is leading the way with a new talking ATM which will allow blind and partially sighted people to be more independent.

The hole in the wall, at West Street, boasts technology which allows users to hook up to a head-phone socket and be guided through their transactions.

Liz Elgar, from the bank, demonstrated the machine last week to members of the East Sussex Association of Blind and Partially Sighted People (ESAB), including local woman Christine Ward.

Liz explained: “The machine gives people pin access and also allows them to top up their mobile phone.”

She added: “There are plans for Lloyds to roll out 1,300 of these machines by the end of 2014 and we are proud in Rye to be one of the first to offer it.”

Steve Saunders, from ESAB, said: “This will make a difference to people and is overdue. I used to work in a bank and the technology was there to do this 20 years ago so it is long overdue.”

Christine Ward explained the difficulties faced by a visually impaired person in getting around Rye. She said: “The biggest and most dangerous problem I find is the complete lack of adequate traffic light operated pedestrian crossings in and around the main roads in Rye. We only have one, which is not enough.

“Since moving to Rye in 2007, I have been keeping a record of potential car accidents, and incidents, some which could have been fatal, where if I did not have my other senses and full wits about me I would not be here to write this.

“On average, I encounter three to five potentially serious vehicle incidents every year in Rye due to drivers not being fully aware of what a WSCS (white symbol cane stick) represents. When you see someone using one, it will always mean the user suffers from a serious lack of adequate or a complete lack of sight, so we are letting you know this.

“This affected me so badly last year, that for a while, I stopped going out so much on my own. However, I got over this and continue to use my WSCS to let the general public/car drivers know I can not see very well, which I use when I need to, when out on my own, crossing roads and in areas which are not operated by traffic lights, and in any area which I am not familiar or used to, or where there is insufficient lighting for me to see.”