I was asked on Wednesday at our local fundraising meeting if I would come along on Friday morning to help my mobility worker assess two volunteers for the “Sighted Guiding Mobility Service” which is being piloted I think in Northern Ireland. This is basically a service offered by Guide Dogs to help people regain their confidence and get out and about before they progress with long cane training or become guide dog applicants. A volunteer would take a client out as much as they needed, and it would last for about 3 months. This could be taking them to the cinema or shopping. They work one to one with the person. This
Probably explains it better.
So this morning I got picked up at about 9 o’clock to head into town where we would meet two volunteers who were being assessed by my mobility worker. They were from the local fundraising branch, so we kind of knew each other beforehand.
Before we got started, we waited for the first volunteer to come. While we were waiting, my mobility worker explained a little more about what the service was. He said that everyone who was on the fundraising branch knew basic sighted guiding techniques, but that this was basically going into more detail, like how to go through doors and such with a blind or partially sighted person.
Shortly after, the first volunteer came up and introduced herself to me like she would a client. We walked out of the shop we met at, and just walked around one of our shopping centres, then back again. The woman was a bit nervous at the start, but once we got going, she was grand!
When we got back to where we’d started, we headed up to the restaurant part and had a coffee while we waited for the other lady to arrive. My mobility worker then filled in some paperwork once the second woman had arrived.
After about half an hour, I did a route to the second shopping centre that we have with the second woman. She seemed really confident from the start. The only problem that they both had was with going through doors. The correct way to do this is to always have the visually impaired person on the hinge side of the door, so that they could control it. (That used to drive me mad in school). But they both got this after they were refreshed on how to do it.
I thought it was really good for both the volunteers. They were both confident, but the second woman seemed not to be as nervous. They will hopefully be matched some time in the future with a blind or partially sighted person.
All the guiding techniques can be adapted to suit each person, which is good. I thought it was a very informative morning.
When I came home I was expecting Ushi to be all hyper since I hadn’t taken her with me, but she didn’t even notice me! She went straight to sleep, and was asleep when I got home! It’s a good thing that she isn’t bothered by not going with me, but it makes you feel unloved! She did come over for a few scratches, but she is back in bed now.
I suppose I’d better go get motivated to take her out for our walk. It’s meant to snow later, so want to do it now if I can. It’s just hard to find the motivation!