The My Sighted Guide training consists of a variety of subjects to enable people to gain the awareness and skills necessary to guide people with sight loss safely.
Level 1 - Community Sighted Guide (approximately 3 hours)
This level of training provides sight loss awareness and sighted guide training to enable you to offer assistance to a person with sight loss while they are out and about in their normal daily lives, or as part of their job. It requires no particular time commitment beyond the course.
Level 2 – My Sighted Guide Volunteer (full day)
This is for anyone who has completed level 1 training and wishes to become a My Sighted Guide volunteer. The content of the course covers in more detail sighted guiding techniques, communication, safeguarding and how to work towards person centered support plans.
Safeguarding - (approximately four hours, although this may vary depending on the provider)
Once you have completed level 1, 2 and safeguarding, you will then be able to offer time-limited, sighted guide support for blind and partially sighted people, specifically to help them increase their independence and reduce isolation.
The person with sight loss and the volunteer can work together as long as it takes to meet the goals initially agreed upon. Goals can change, for example from wanting ‘to get out of the house’ to wanting to ‘be able to use the bus to the local shops independently’. Each My Sighted Guide partnership is regularly reviewed.
If you are a registered volunteer with Guide Dogs, volunteer expenses that are reasonable and agreed in accordance with our volunteer expense policy will be reimbursed.
With costs such as food and drink or entrance to events, the person who is blind or partially sighted should pay for these themselves. The volunteer may be able to get a discounted rate for some transport and events as they are assisting the person who is blind or partially sighted. Your local mobility team can provide guidance on individual cases as needed.
With a My Sighted Guide Partnership, the person who is blind or partially sighted and the volunteer are carefully matched and work together as long as they both wish to. If either party withdraws from the My Sighted Guide Partnership for whatever reason, we will work with you to provide a new My Sighted Guide Partnership if required.
This can vary depending on need and availability. A partnership session tends to be two or more hours weekly, fortnightly or monthly, at times that are convenient for both them and the person with sight loss.
Volunteers are carefully selected to match the goals and, where possible, the interests of the blind or partially sighted person. The first meeting is with a member of staff and if all parties are happy to work together, then the My Sighted Guide Partnership is initiated. Regular reviews and support from a local staff member are also provided, as needed.