Barclays Wealth and Investment Management employees have received training to help them guide visually impaired people as part of a scheme aimed at building the confidence and independent of those with sight loss.
The ‘My Guide’ training session, a joint venture between the Manx Blind Welfare Society and Guide Dogs for the Blind, was delivered at Barclays’ Eagle Court office in Douglas.
During the two-hour course, employees heard about the consequences of sight loss and tried out some practical exercises as they learned about safely guiding visually impaired people.
Employees heard that many people with sight loss lose their independence due to the practical challenges of getting around. That can rock their confidence and leave them feeling isolated. The My Guide scheme seeks to tackle that loss of independence by teaching ‘sighted guiding’ techniques to people in the community, so they can safely and confidently guide visually impaired people.
Free training is now being offered to companies, organisations and other charities by the Manx Blind Welfare Society.
MBWS Volunteers Coordinator and Events Organiser Debbie Kenyon said: “At the end of the two-hour course, participants understand and are aware of the benefits of sighted guiding.”
“They learn how to give safe sighted guiding both in their place of work and in the community, learn about the emotional and practical consequences of sight loss and the barriers to independence it can create.”
She added: “We were delighted to offer this course to Barclays, as it shows their commitment to helping visually impaired people in their branches and in the community. Barclays was the first corporate organisation to take advantage of this new training scheme and we hope that they are able to utilise their new skills in the future.’
Ian Smith, Assistant Vice President of Operations and Disability Champion for Barclays in the Isle of Man, said: “It was a great event, and much appreciated by all attendees.
“As well as learning from the information provided, everyone went through a practical session where they acted as guides to a colleague wearing a blindfold and took them around the building as well as up and down stairs, through doors and sitting down at chairs.
“We have learned valuable skills which will enhance our interaction with and understanding of the needs of colleagues and customers with visual impairments.”
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