Sighted guides for visually impaired travellers

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Sighted guides for visually impaired travellers

Postby dreaded_luggage » Mon Jul 22, 2013 1:28 pm

Once upon a time there was the Guide Dogs Adventure Group, and they were ... hopeless? Well, they had the contact lists and the office and so on but they weren't right good at running things. The IDEA was good, though: trips for visually impaired people (VIs), matched or slightly outnumbered by sighted guides (SGs). Unfortunately, they got bought out by the thieves and liars at the Winged Fellowship Trust, who oh-so-sensitively changed their name to Vitalise just to be really offensive to the VIs. Fortunately, they've gone bust and been shut the heck down, so no more defrauding the disabled for the denizens of that wretched hive of scum and villainy.

Unfortunately, that leaves a bit of a gap.

The big questions:

1) How would G feel about a few of their trips becoming, effectively, GDAG trips?

2) How interested would people be in volunteering as SGs?

Smaller questions:

Which trips?

For each trip, how many surplus guides would be needed? It's all very well having 6 VIs and 6 SGs on a scrabble or ballroom dancing weekend, but on a two-week trek across Austria (been there, done that, bought another pack of blister pads) I'd want maybe 7 VIs and 10 SGs, to be able to split the group onto harder and easier routes and have at least one spare guide with each group just in case.

How much price difference to inflict is the tricky one. As one ruffian who saw the brochure put it: "That's a bit harsh, innit? They're charging the blind ones more!" In my experience, a long-distance hike on an easy trail is very easy guiding and the SG is getting more out of it, so while the SGs would be "on duty" from 6am to 11pm every day it'd be easy, so maybe no price difference at all. Likewise, a canoe trip down the Tarn is an experience that makes up for the mental effort of guiding a VI. A museum visit, though? That's hard. You've got to describe what's available and then describe what your VI wants to 'see' in as much detail as requested. Awkward building designs and awkward mountain paths are also hard. There are things I used to casually do solo that, guiding, are quite an operation, like walking across the sloping rocks above Scale Force in the Lake District. Would SGs want the VIs to subsidise their trips, and if so to what extent?
dreaded_luggage
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