My Guide is a relatively new scheme which Debbie Playford coordinates in Lowestoft and across Suffolk on behalf of Sensing Change working in partnership with Guide Dogs for the Blind Association.
My Guide scheme aims to support nationally the 180,000 people with sight loss who for various reasons don't get out and about in their community. It works by having a trained volunteer to act as a short-term sighted guiding partner to help achieve specific aims such as going to a local club, society, sporting or leisure activity or even just for a coffee.
The My Guide scheme is not a befriending scheme but has been designed to help reduce the isolation that many people with sight loss experience. It is very much about getting people back out into the community to rebuild confidence and regain independence, thereby enabling them to use other services available within their community. My Guide Volunteers are matched with a person with sight loss who is socially isolated for up to 6 months in order for them to progress onto further mobility training to maintain independent travel.
We currently have 5 trained My Guide Volunteers in the Lowestoft area and we are looking to recruit further volunteers in the Waveney and Suffolk Coastal district outside of Lowestoft.
18 national voluntary sector organisations have worked together to create a high quality, consistent sighted guide training programme, endorsed by Vision 2020. The founder organisations hope that more and more people can use sighted guiding skills to make a difference to the lives of blind and partially sighted people.
The training is offered free to anyone over 18 years of age and is nationally recognised, the same training was used in the 2012 Olympics. We only ask volunteers for 2 hours a week commitment.
We also need help to identify those people with sight loss who are socially isolated who would benefit from being matched to a My Guide Volunteer.
Debbie has a theory that everybody knows someone with sight loss, it maybe someone in their local community or who live in the same street or perhaps a relative or friend. Any of these people may benefit from the My Guide Scheme.
To find out more about becoming a My Guide Volunteer in Lowestoft or Waveney, call Sensing Change on 01473 260030 or download the My Guide Volunteer leaflet.
Member since: 10th July 2012
Co-owner of thebestof Lowestoft
Really enjoy the challenges that this brings!