A new service to support people with sight loss getting out and about has been launched in South Yorkshire.
Guide Dogs’ My Guide service is voluneter-led and relies on members of the public donating a couple of hours a week to guide someone in their local community.
Following a successful trial in Rotherham and Doncaster, the service is being rolled out to Sheffield and Barnsley this week, as part of national Volunteers’ Week, and an appeal has now been launched in the region for volunteers.
Jayne Shakespeare, from Rotherham, started using the My Guide service two months ago.
“The My Guide service has made a huge difference to my life in a short space of time,” said the 57-year-old, who started to lose her sight five years ago due to a tumour that began growing under her optic nerve.
Although there was no issue with Jayne’s eyes the tumour pressing on the optic nerve started causing problems to her vision, this was due to the way her brain was interpreting what she was seeing. She no longer has depth perception, cannot see in three dimensions, and has no peripheral vision in her left eye. She also has post fixation blindness that can cause an object to disappear when it is focused on. This means that Jayne has difficulties with locating kerbs and is disorientated in unfamiliar places.
Prior to losing her sight, widower Jayne had an active life. She said: “The service enabled me to regain some of the independence I had before my sight was affected. It has given me the opportunity to enjoy activities that I used to love, allowing me to go out shopping or to visit country parks. I really wanted to get back into yoga and my guide Amy has helped to make this happen.”
Jayne’s My Guide volunteer Amy Crookes, 34, is a business development manager from Rotherham. She said: “I get a lot out of volunteering. I’ve made a new friend and have new experiences too. It’s really flexible, rewarding and diverse. I’d highly recommend it to anyone who would like to get involved in volunteering.”
Visit www.guidedogs.org.uk/myguide for details.