Sight loss affects around 2 million people in the UK, a number which is on the rise. It is estimated that at least 180,000 of these people rarely leave their homes alone and struggle with feelings of isolation and depression.
To change this, The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association offer a variety of services, including My Guide. My Guide is a service that Guide Dogs offers whereby a trained, sighted guide, is partnered with someone with sight loss. My Guides accompany service users to facilitate tasks such as running errands, practicing everyday routes, using public transport, or going to the gym to build confidence in these areas. Guide Dogs can also offer training in sighted guiding for friends and family members.
Sally Yigit, My Guide Service Manager, says “The service offers a fully trained voluntary sighted guide to support our clients in accessing the local community. A My Guide partnership enables our clients to leave the house with confidence, use public transport, access local clubs and sports facilities such as the local gym or simply enjoy a walk in the sunshine. If you have any form of sight loss, and wish to gain confidence in leaving the house, come and talk to us. We are here waiting to help you improve your independence”
David, a service user, says “The My Guide service is absolutely brilliant. I was waiting to have a guide dog and Izzy, my My Guide volunteer, helped me learn new routes and gave me the confidence that I needed to prepare for having a guide dog. She supported me in getting used to going out and about again and has become a friend to me and my partner.”
If you are visually impaired and would like to make use of the My Guide service, please call the South West Team on 0345 143 0204. If you would like to volunteer with the My Guide service please apply online: www.guidedogs.org.uk/volunteer.