My Guide training makes 2013 culture events more accessible

Volunteers from the North West Volunteer Now Centre who completed a course to assist blind and partially-sighted blind people around the city. Included in photo is Volunteer Co-oordinator John McBride. (1005JB06)
Volunteers from the North West Volunteer Now Centre who completed a course to assist blind and partially-sighted blind people around the city. Included in photo is Volunteer Co-oordinator John McBride. (1005JB06)

More than twenty City of Culture volunteers have undergone specialist training to help make 2013 events more accessible for blind and partially sighted people.

Twenty two of Derry’s culture crew - recruited to assist and promote the range of culture events - have taken part in the My Guide training organised by the North West Volunteer Centre in partnership with Guide Dogs NI.

John McBride, Volunteer Coordinator for the North West Volunteer Centre said the training will give people with visual impairment the confidence to come and enjoy the events in the city.

“Our volunteers have been fantastic in their role, supporting a wide variety of events, demonstrating that volunteering is very much a part of the city’s culture. The time, energy and commitment of our volunteers is our greatest resource, and we are delighted with the training provided by Guide Dogs NI.

“The feedback from the volunteers was very positive and they are looking forward to supporting people who avail of this service.”

My Guide coordinator Arlene Verner said Guide Dogs NI are delighted to have been involved.

“Guide Dogs NI is committed to ensuring that blind and partially sighted people enjoy the same freedom of movement as everyone else and what better place to showcase this than with the fantastic events throughout the City of Culture year.”

Volunteers are being encouraged to join a My Guide pilot scheme where they will be given more advanced training and then partnered with a visually impaired person for three to six months.

Anyone interested in availing of the My Guide service can contact the NW Volunteer centre on 02871271017 or e-mail john@volunteeringnorthwest.co.uk