My Guide - sighted guide

To support a person with sight loss to safely navigate the environment, building self-confidence and increasing social interaction whilst maintaining dignity and promoting independence. Variable depending on individual needs. Approximately three hours per week.

Meet one of our existing Sighted Guides

Being partnered with Grace has been a joy; she has really come out of her shell..."

Joe

For Joe, aged 73 from Enniskillen, helping people is something that comes naturally after a lifetime in the hospitality industry.

Grace (63) has always been a very active person so when she was diagnosed with glaucoma 15 years ago it was a big shock that left her feeling nervous, scared and uncertain about her future. 

As the years went on and her vision got worse, the thing that scared Grace the most was just how variable the glaucoma made her vision. “I couldn’t be sure from one day to the next what I would be able to see and that really knocked my confidence. It just goes on and off and that made me really worried about going anywhere on my own.

Meeting Joe was a real blessing. My eye consultant in Omagh suggested that I give the My Guide service a go and I can’t tell you what a great idea I think it is.

Having someone with you who has the patience and the knowledge of how to guide you and help you find your way around has increased my confidence so much. Every time we meet is different and we go all over the place to have coffee or explore the town. Joe has given me the confidence to go back to the places we’ve been to on my own. I go out more now and I feel more confident and happy, it’s just brilliant.  

I feel happier, healthier and fitter than I was before – it’s just great to get out and my next ambition is to get a guide dog!”

For Joe, helping people is something that comes naturally after a lifetime in the hospitality industry, but it was when his own vision was affected badly by double vision a decade ago that he thought about how much it can affect your confidence. 

“It really scared me and walking through the town to do simple things that I took for granted before was the worst. I would see two cars coming towards me and think I had no way of avoiding them until I realised that it was my eyes playing tricks on me.”

Thankfully Joe’s vision was only temporarily impaired but it had a lasting effect on him.

“I got chatting to a guy from Omagh who is visually impaired and he suggested volunteering to me  I haven’t looked back since. I really care about making a difference  it is brilliant to be a part of watching someone else go on to achieve something with my encouragement. Being partnered with Grace has been a joy; she has really come out of her shell. I like to challenge her to do things that she thinks she can’t do  I know she can!

The biggest thrill I have had since volunteering with Grace is hearing that she had popped to the shops for the first time on her own – it was just for a simple bag of crisps but it was a big milestone for me and for her! I’m nobody special but if I can leave someone happy in my company then I get an immense amount of satisfaction from that.

All my working life I have worked with people in the hospitality industry and I feel like I can use a little of the skill I used over the years in putting people at ease – I hope to keep on doing it for as long as I can.

Volunteering as a My Guide has been amazing for me, once you experience the difference you can make to someone, in really simple ways, you’ll be changed forever.”

  • Provide sighted guide assistance on a regular basis to people living with sight loss to help them achieve their goals
  • The lengths of partnerships vary, from six weeks to 12months+, your availability will be matched with a suitable customer
  • Undertake all elements of My Guide training (approximately two days)
  • Support access to local services and facilities in their local community
  • Provide regular feedback on progress and any issues that arise to your line manager
  • Provide the My Guide role at agreed times/location based on the mutually agreed activity plan
  • Maintaining professional boundaries and adhering to safeguarding procedures
  • Your local community/possible travel to support people out of the area
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Patience and flexibility
  • Able to undertake your role safely and effectively
  • Act in a non-judgemental way, without discrimination
  • Make a life-changing difference to someone in need in your community
  • Opportunity to meet and interact with other Guide Dogs’ volunteers
  • An opportunity to build experience and knowledge of sight loss and develop your existing skills
  • Gain skills and experience whilst doing something that you enjoy
  • Build experience and skills while growing your confidence
  • Meet people, have fun and be part of your community
  • Help a charity do more while you learn what you are good at
  • Become a valued and integral part of the Guide Dogs team
  • Increasing the independence, dignity and wellbeing of people living with sight loss through the delivery of the My Guide service
  • One day Sighted Guide training and certificate upon completion of training
  • Guide Dogs safeguarding training
  • Payment of all out of pocket expenses in line with Guide Dogs policy
  • An opportunity to take part in any general Guide Dogs volunteer training that is available
  • Support, information, training and resources to enable you to undertake your role safely and effectively
  • Yes, this role requires that you have an Enhanced Disclosure
  • 18 years

Why not see if there are any My Guide volunteering roles in your area?

My guide partnership Volunteering for Guide Dogs