My Guide

My Guide volunteer Truly guiding Gladys180,000 blind and partially sighted people rarely go out alone. We want to change that figure and the My Guide service forms part of this effort. By matching blind and partially sighted people to sighted guide volunteers, it helps people with sight loss get out of their homes and back into the community. My Guide aims to reduce the isolation that many people with sight loss experience, helping to rebuild their confidence and regain their independence. There are currently 14 active matches in London and counting!

How does it work?

A volunteer is trained in a VISION 2020-endorsed sighted guide course. Once their assessor is satisfied that they can guide safely, they all go through the CRB-checking process. When the CRB checks have cleared, the volunteer guides a service user for a couple of days a week for an agreed amount of time. They agree aims and activities in advance, for example, attending social or leisure events. During their time together, the My Guide volunteer and service user identify support which can be put in place at the end of the partnership, such as other local services or friends and family members who could be trained in sighted guiding. We have already provided training to several befriending schemes in London such as Disability In Camden, Blackfriars Settlement and AgeUK.

Friends and Family

We can provide free bespoke training for friends and family members tailored specifically to your needs. The training consists of a basic introduction to sight loss awareness, and sighted guide techniques. The training can be done in your home, or with a group of other blind or partially sighted people and their friends and family members.

“My parents never really understood how difficult it was for me to get my bearing and feel safe when being guided incorrectly. Having them experience the daily struggle I live with using goggles replicating my lack of vision, gave them a chilling insight to how difficult life is for me.  
On the Family & Friends sighted guide training, the trainer demonstrated and taught them on how to guide me safely and confidently with & without Kika (my amazing guide dog). Since the training they’ve taken everything they’ve learnt onboard & when I’m out being guided by them I feel safe.  
Attending the training has opened my parents eyes to the difficulties that I struggle with on a daily basis and are now confident and comfortable when helping me get around.”  

If you would like to apply to the scheme and be matched with a trained My Guide volunteer or have your friends or family members training in Sighted Guiding, email charlotte.gavelle@guidedogs.org.uk



Helen & Chris

Helen and My Guide volunteer Chris

Helen is a very interesting 93 year old service user who immigrated to the UK during the Second World War. She has since lived in Primrose Hill and knows a lot about the area and the people in the community. However, her eye condition means that she didn’t feel comfortable going out on her own especially in the evenings, so we decided to match her to 66 year old Christine, a lovely and committed My Guide volunteer. For their first outing, Chris took Helen to an appointment at the hospital and they followed it up the next week by a walk up Primrose Hill, which is a walking distance from Helen’s flat. They also often visit the local shops.

Chris said: ‘Helen is very interesting and also has a great sense of humour. But she is quite strong minded and as she walks to Primrose Hill by herself, she can be quite bold about crossing the road and I have had to remind her who the guide is! Luckily, she laughs. All is going very well.’ Helen reciprocates Chris’ admiration and says: “Chris is a very intelligent and sweet volunteer. We’ve been able to do things that I couldn’t have done alone like going to the shops over Christmas time. I’ve really appreciated having been matched to someone close to my own age whom I can share things with.”




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