Reader letter: Guide volunteer gave me my life back

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Volunteers’ Week is taking place from 1-7 June and I’d like say a massive thank you to my ‘My Guide’ partner Pam for what she has done for me and continues to do for me.

Pam volunteers with charity guide dogs as a My Guide volunteer, a scheme which provides sighted guiding for people with a visual impairment.

I registered with the My Guide scheme as I wanted support in going to the gym and guide dogs matched Pam and me together.

If you told me back in March 2015 that I would be enjoying the equipment at Sports Direct Gym (in fact any gym) I would of thought you were being absurd.

Although since losing my sight in November 2000 I have wanted to join the gym I did not think that it would have been possible.

That I would not have been able to have access it let alone enjoy what I am doing. Pam has shown me that the gym is accessible to me, someone who is visually impaired and if I can do it anyone can. She has not only helped me with the gym but she has showed me that I should not be embarrassed to ask for help for me or my guide dog Zola.

Although I have a long way to go, she has also given me the first steps in confidence in other aspects of my life. I know that I am still on the first steps but if I feel like this now, who knows where I will be and how I will feel in six months time. I’d like to thank Pam for all the support and kindness that she has always shown me and thank her for not making me feel so disabled. She may not realise it but the little things she does in keeping me and Zola safe, the manner in which she talks to me, as though I am just as good as anyone else and the respect she have always shown towards me are very important to me.

I’d like to encourage other people to become a My Guide volunteer in Nottinghamshire.

By spending a couple of hours a week with someone you can make a real difference to someone’s life.

If anyone would like to find out more about My Guide they can email volunteer@guidedogs.org.uk, or call Dave for an informal chat during office hours on 0845 372 7424.

Alternatively visit www.guidedogs.org.uk/myguide

Jeanette Stevens & guide dog Zola