Emma Brown, Services Marketing Manager Scotland, from the charity Guide Dogs Scotland, outlines below how the organisation can help people with sight loss. She also discusses the resources available to learn the useful skill of sighted guiding as well as the benefits of volunteering with the charity.
Guide Dogs Scotland provides a range of services for adults and children who are blind or partially sighted, as well as support for family and friends. The services extend beyond the guide dog, and are outlined below.
Information and Advice
Information and advice: these handy webpages offer information on different eye conditions, advice for using equipment around the home for daily living skills, and mobility advice. It is a handy one stop shop for people with a vision impairment, their family and friends, or professionals. There is also the Guide Line, the information line, which can be contacted on 0800 781 1444 or firstname.lastname@example.org where a person centred conversation will be carried out by Guide Dogs’ staff, and self or professional referrals can be made.
For adults, the iconic guide dogs support people with sight loss to get out and about independently. Full eligibility criteria is available, however there are no upper or lower age restrictions and applicants don’t need to be registered blind or partially sighted. Training and support is provided.
Sighted Guide Training
The charity also matches sighted guide volunteers with adults with sight loss. They recruit, check and train volunteers, to help the person get out and about and improve their mobility. Whilst this service is open to anyone in Scotland, there are a number of volunteers ready to be matched in Dundee and the surrounding area. As this service relies on volunteers, if there is no available volunteer, they would seek to recruit and train a volunteer for the client.
The charity can provide sighted guide training to friends, family and anyone who supports someone with sight loss, to help them feel more confident guiding. The 1.5 hour virtual session offers best tips on how to guide. There are also videos on the website on how to offer sighted guiding – ideal for CLWs who may come across people with sight loss.
Guide Dogs Scotland also has a range of volunteer opportunities across Scotland, from fundraising to puppy raising. Volunteering is a great way to develop a new skill, improve confidence and social connections, while supporting the lives of people with sight loss. Available roles and locations can be found online: www.guidedogs.org.uk/volunteer
Support for Children and Young People
The charity also has lots of support for children and young people with a vision impairment. This includes Buddy dogs for children aged 4-18 with a visual impairment, or young people aged 19-25 with a visual impairment and additional needs and Technology and sensory equipment grants
Get in touch
If Community Link Workers would like more information on services, or leaflets or posters to display in the workplace they can contact Emma.Brown@guidedogs.org.uk (Services Marketing Manager, Scotland). You can also follow Guide Dogs Scotland on Facebook and Twitter and find out more by watching the video https://youtu.be/szqH1PVI6lU
Emma Brown is Services Marketing Manager Scotland for Guide Dogs Scotland.