Newcastle Vision Support

What is NEAT

North East Action on Transport arose from a user led Newcastle only transport group that Newcastle City Council Sensory Support team used to facilitate.

The group started properly in 2013 as an attempt to widen input right across the North East to gain as far as possible a collective visual impairment perspective and action to make public transport accessible for visually impaired people.

The group is co-chaired by Newcastle Society for Blind People  and Sight Service

The Co-Chairs are Bill Norman (until July 2017 ) NSBP and Jonathan Mears, Sight Service.We are a completely independent group. This page is being hosted by NSBP's website solely because of its current role in co chairing the group


The group started as north east wide  but has now restricted itself to the NECA area given that the Tees Valley devolution decision will produce different local priorities and the difficulty of   being representative  across the region with the level of resource available to the group.


Membership is a  deliberately informal mix of individuals  and organisations

Organisations represented

·      Newcastle Society for Blind People

·      Gateshead and South Tyneside Sight Service

·      Northumberland Low Vision Action Group ( NAG)

·      Sunderland and County Durham Royal Society for the Blind

·      Guide Dogs for the Blind

·      RNIB



To make public transport accessible for visually impaired people in the NECA area.


·      Everyone has an equal voice in NEAT- an individual has a much say as e.g. the RNIB

·      Working  in partnership is the only way forward

·      We work for the benefit of ALL VI people not just people who use smart technology

·      We reflect the range of transport issues across the NECA but maintain a clear focus on what is achievable benefit the most people


·      Ensure people have a voice as full partners in transport decision making . This is especially so for NECA strategic transport planning

·      Ensure involvement so at all stages

·      Produce information based on users experiences that could influence transport decisions towards accessibility

·      Promote and exploit opportunities for consistency of accessibility across the NECA area

·      Support an integrated public transport concept

·      Support national visual impairment transport priorities

·      Produce good practice based on members’ experience

·      Take a partnership approach with transport providers , Nexus and NECA

·      Work in partnership with other disabilities groups where there are common priorities

Formal status


We resolutely remain an informal useful led issue group


The group is supported by co-chairing organisations

Co-chairing supporting and coordinating NEAT is a recognised part of the NSBP Vintage Empowerment Officer ( currently Bill Norman ) ‘s role


We decided to focus on buses for our first three years

This is now coming to an end and we are considering wider issues on Metro and rail

Bus priorities have been

·      Audio visual announcements on all new buses

·      Mandatory Disability Driver training that includes specific scenarios and references to VI people

·      Ensure VI people have a voice in NECA

·      Ensure accessible public transport buses and routes for Health venues especially hospitals  - RVI North Tyneside Rake Lane and Sunderland Royal Hospital 

And a fifth priority introduced in autumn 2016:

  • Accessible timetables both printed and digital


For more on this please click Resources

·      Campaigning work on audio visual announcements  and driver training both in support of national action and specific local action

·      Good practice guidance on audio visual announcements

·      Producing a guide to make praise or complain about bus companies in the North east

·      Supporting the Quality Contract Scheme proposals

·      Report on accessible transport for VI people to NECA

·      Good working relationship with NECA on transport strategy

·      Joint work with LD transport group

·      Link to , and membership of , Tyne and Wear Public  Transport User Group  management committee