My Guide Project

What was the My Guide Project?

ABA`s My Guide programme offered unique opportunities to service users and volunteers to build partnerships that help to decrease the isolation and dependence experienced by many people as they adjust to living with a visual impairment.

How did it work?

• ABA recruits volunteers and delivers VISION 2020 endorsed training.

• ABA identifies local people with visual impairment who may benefit from the My Guide scheme.

• Service users and CRB-checked My Guide volunteers are then matched.

• Service users and My Guide volunteers work in partnership for three to six months, setting clear goals together.

• During the partnership, My Guide volunteers regularly guide service users to social and leisure activities, e.g. the shops, a café, or even the local bingo.

• My Guide volunteers then train up members of the service user`s community (e.g. family, friends, members of local clubs) to support their ongoing independence.

The training has been developed by Guide Dogs and accredited by Vision 2020 – the UK`s umbrella group for organisations that work in the area of visual impairment. Organisations that complete the training are entitled to use nationally recognised "My Guide Open for Business" branding – both on their premises and in publicity – which marks them out as an accessible business for visually impaired customers. Qualified businesses will also be listed in our and partner organisations information for service users, helping them to reach a wider audience, who might otherwise be reluctant to attempt to access businesses and services.

ABA is accredited to deliver this training and has already trained a number of our own staff and volunteers. We have been successfully running a My Guide volunteer project, which pairs trained volunteers with visually impaired service users, in order to help the service users to develop confidence and independence in accessing local businesses and services.

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