THE two top men at South Lakeland District Council became ‘disabled’ for a day to experience what it’s like to have mobility and sight problems.

Council leader Brendan Jameson and acting chief executive Lawrence Conway took to the streets of Kendal to find out how difficult it is to get about as a wheelchair user and blind pedestrian.

They were among four SLDC staff members and councillors who took on disabled roles as part of a Disability Awareness Day last Thursday.

The aim was to try to understand the problems faced by people with disabilities so that council policies can better reflect their needs.

Coun Jameson became a wheelchair user while Mr Conway took on the role of someone with a sight impairment, wearing Sim Spex goggles for the day.

Meanwhile, Coun Hillary Stephenson took on the role of someone with dyslexia while she carried out her day-to-day duties and Nick Pearson, street scene manager, was given a temporary hearing impairment.

Genuine wheelchair user Ollie Flitcroft, from Cumbria Disability Network, and Dave Nelson, an experienced support worker with partially sighted people, accompanied Coun Jameson and Mr Conway as they toured the town centre in their roles.

Coun Jameson said: “It was really hard work using a wheelchair, even just going up the gentle slope from the Town Hall to Stricklandgate. It’s been a very interesting experience.”

Mr Conway said: “Trying to get about as a blind person proved to be a real work out, even though I was only walking.”