Guide Dogs Northern Ireland
Bringing you all the latest news from around Northern Ireland as well as features from our staff, volunteers and guide dog owners.
Across Northern Ireland around 9,000 blind and partially sighted people rarely leave home alone. We’re committed to changing this, so we’ve launched a new scheme to help bring independence to people who are blind and partially sighted throughout NI.
Guide Dogs NI's My Guide service is all about getting blind and partially sighted people out and about in their community, on their own terms. My Guide matches a person who is blind or partially sighted with a trained volunteer – and we are recruiting volunteers across Northern Ireland.
“My Guide matches a person who is blind or partially sighted with a trained volunteer,” explains My Guide Ambassador Arlene Verner.
Learn more about My Guide.
Guide Dog Week 2014 was kicked off with the announcement that Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy is to begin the roll out of audio visual (AV) systems on Metro buses in Belfast from the start of 2015.
Buses play a vital role in enabling disabled people, including those with sight loss, to live more independent lives. But the worry of being unsure if you have caught the right bus, where you are on your journey, or when your stop is coming up, puts many people off using them. AV systems enable people to use buses with confidence and improve the experience of bus travel for all.
The Minister’s commitment to AV in the Metro area will make a real difference to the lives of people who are visually impaired, but there is still more work to be done to extend this right across Northern Ireland.
Read more on Talking Buses in our news section.
During Guide Dog Week at the start of October, Belfast City Hall was lit up in blue and white to celebrate three decades of Guide Dogs working across Northern Ireland.
Since October 1984 we’ve created more than 400 guide dog partnerships and developed a range of services to help even more people who are visually impaired.
Our first base in Sandown Road was at the heart of its community for 25 years and from it we pioneered practices that have gone on to be used by Guide Dogs nationally. In 1992 we were the first team to use volunteer boarders for our dogs and in 2008 we piloted a sighted guiding scheme that became our My Guide Service.
We’re celebrating our birthday over the next year with a number of events.