180,000 blind and partially sighted people find it hard to go out alone. We want to change that. The new My Guide pilot scheme is a partnership between Guide Dogs and community organisations like the PAB. This is a nationwide sighted guide scheme using a team of specially trained volunteers, to help people with sight loss get out of their homes and into the community. The aims of this scheme are to reduce the isolation that many people with sight loss experience, to help rebuild confidence and regain independence.
My Guide has been running as a pilot programme initiated by Guide Dogs since October 2010, with the aim of helping more blind and partially sighted people get out and about on their own terms. It is designed around the development of a national standard of teaching sighted guiding techniques and involving volunteers and the community to assist visually impaired people build their confidence, involve their network of support and the community at large to actively solve their mobility barriers.
The My Guide programme has several key elements:
- Creating a national standard of sighted guiding
- Increasing sight loss and sighted guiding knowledge
- Supporting confidence boosting activities to visually impaired people
- Enabling more blind and partially sighted people to get out and about through simple sighted guiding assistance
- Encouraging independence and less reliance on lifelong assistance from a dedicated source to get out of the home (e.g. family member or local blind society transport schemes)
After passing their training, a volunteer is typically matched with a visually impaired person for a period of up to 6 months. Objectives are set out as to what the visually impaired person would like to achieve in this time, and they will usually work together for a few hours, once a week, to achieve this.
With the help of our volunteers you can start getting out and about and start doing things that you enjoy. My Guide volunteers can guide you to the shops, a coffee house, social club or even the local bingo. Once there, they will help you meet people such as shop assistants or club members, who can provide support on an ongoing basis.
Why use the My Guide Scheme?
- Gain the confidence to go out again
- Increase your independence
- Make new friends and get involved in your community
- Take part in the activities you enjoy
- Go out without relying on your family and friends
For more information about how to use this service, please contact us. More information can also be found on the Guide Dogs website at https://www.guidedogs.org.uk/services/my-guide/