Welcome back to Fashioneyesta!
Today I have for you all a little blog post about a project with the charity Guide Dogs that I was recently involved with and it is something that I feel would be both relevant and beneficial to a lot of my visually impaired readers to talk about.
A few weeks ago myself and a group of other guide dog owners took a trip to the London Olympic Park with the London Mobility Guide Dogs Team to help the new park stewards who had been specially trained to guide visually impaired park users around this monumental landmark.
The aim of it was to allow us to learn about the visual aspects of the park and to gain mobility in it as I am sure some of you may know the park itself can be a bit of a labyrinth to negotiate.
The experience was as much for us to get a sense of the park, to map it in our heads and to have someone audio describe the visuals as it was for them to be able to use their training on guiding a visually impaired person through the park. I guess in that sense you could call us the gineua pigs in that we were the first group of people to road test this new venture.
The new Guides had the chance to meet up, chat about our experiences and then we spent an hour walking around the park with our guide that was allocated where they were able to show us some of the landmarks like the sculpture, the Olympic Garden and the Aquatic centre. This was a really valuable thing for me personally as it has now allowed me to be able to metals map the park so that i now feel more confident to go there independently.
After that we traveled back to the meeting room where we were based and were able to give feedback to the guides as well as the team who run this service and the accessibility team not just on the guides performance but also other ways that the park could improve.
I raised a few points, you guys know me when I can wave the flag of accessibility I will. I mentioned that it would be a good idea to launch an interactive and accessible app that people could use which would have a GPS tracking device to allow them to independently walk around the park. I also suggested that the park also have a tactile model for visually impaired people to feel to gain a sense of what it would look like from a birds eye view and some of the landmarks surrounding the park. As it happens this is an idea that they are already putting into pace and it will be something that the park will have in their Paralympic centre.
Both of my guides that I had was very informative and able to talk about the parks layout, the backstory behind the different aspects of the park and what sort of activity took place at the park which was very engaging and interesting.
Another issue that myself and my guide both addressed was the issue that the canals around the park do not have any fence perimeter to prevent children, dog or people from falling in which is a concern to visually impaired people, people with children and so on. It is something tat they are going to explore further.
But, all in all the experience was extremely valuable and it is something that the park will be officially rolling out to their user and it is something that you will all be able to access as a visually impaired person which is great if you are going to make a trip to the park any time soon. However, it is something you have to book in advance to ensure that there are guides at the park.
You can enquire about booking a guide by calling 0800 0722 110 and quote ‘park mobility.’ Or you can consult the website by clicking here for more information about accessibility.
The guide service runs between 10am-3pm.
Theatre part about the day was that we were featured on London Live as some of you might have seen from a previous post, if you didn’t click here to go and check that out. But, all in all the day was amazing to go and experience the park and to have an input into how the park would develop it’ services to visually impaired people and disabled people in general.
Anyway that concludes todays blog, please follow my blog and support my work if you are not already that would be amazing.
Comment below if you have used this service and your thoughts on it and I will see you all next time.