My Guide service hits the spot

A blind veteran from Rotherham is encouraging people to get involved Guide Dogs, sighted guiding service My Guide.

John Bower, 72, has praised the charity’s My Guide service that helped him continue his archery practice.

The former British Blind Sport’s National Archery Champion called upon Guide Dogs when his wife became ill and unable to take him to practice. John needed help with getting to and from the practice centre and for someone to be his spotter during training.

John said: “My ‘My Guide’ volunteer Rhys was great. Not only would he guide me but he helped me set up my equipment and acted as my spotter. Advising me of where my shots were landing and any corrections I might have to make. This was all new to Rhys but he picked it up really quickly.”

Rhys, from Sheffield, added: “I soon realised that it was more than just archery practice to John but also a nice social meeting too. This made me feel even better that I was helping somebody like John not only take part in a sport that he was passionate about but to keep in regular contact with friends.”

My Guide is a mobility befriending service that helps people with sight loss to get out of their homes, reducing the isolation many people with a visual impairment experience and giving them greater choice and access to the community.

The My Guide service in Rotherham and Sheffield is in need of volunteers to help people like John. Full training is given and the scheme matches volunteers with someone who is blind or partially sighted.

Volunteers will spend a few hours a week, guiding their partner out to activities that the pair will agree at the start of their time together, like going to the shops, sporting events or joining a local coffee group.

David Clough, from Guide Dogs, said: “This has great benefits to the volunteer as well as the beneficiary. It’s a wonderful and flexible opportunity for volunteers to make new friends, learn really useful skills, whilst making a real difference to someone in their community.”

John added: “My Guide really improves a person’s quality of life. Having someone help you get out and about is invaluable. If you’re able to volunteer please do as you can change someone’s life.”

If you would like to find out how you can become a volunteer or how to apply for the service please contact Guide Dogs on or 0345 1430221. Alternatively for more details on the My Guide service please visit