An appeal for volunteers in Hereford has been launched by Guide Dogs.

Since lockdown restrictions have eased, the charity is looking for volunteers that can help local people with sight loss get out and about in their community once again.

People with a vision impairment are helped by Guide Dogs' ‘sighted guides’ who guide them round their local area for a couple of hours a week or a fortnight.

The partnerships are made by matching people with their volunteers based on common interests and the service helps people with sight loss to not only boost their confidence but to do things they enjoy too.

Hereford Times: Guide Dogs is appealing for me people to become volunteers in Hereford (Guide Dogs)Guide Dogs is appealing for me people to become volunteers in Hereford (Guide Dogs)

Louise Taylor, from Hereford, has been visually impaired since birth. She said: “The pandemic has definitely knocked my confidence and taken away my independence.

“Social distancing is very hard when you can’t see. You can’t find the white line on the floor to queue for a bank or shop.

“I’ve also had people refuse to help me because they don’t want to touch me or even take a shopping list from me.”

In order to regain her confidence and return to doing her hobbies, Louise would like to be partnered up with a volunteer who can help her achieve these things.

She added: “Hopefully a volunteer would help me regain some confidence again and do the things I enjoy, like going for long walks around Hereford and going swimming.

“It’s also the social side of things. It would be nice to have someone to go for a coffee with and have a natter.”

Beth Wise, My Sighted Guide Volunteering Manager for Hereford, said: “The pandemic has led to many people with sight loss feeling isolated and losing their confidence.

“This has been made worse by many social distancing measures only being marked by visual cues.

“We have several people in Hereford waiting for support from a volunteer sighted guide, who are keen to build their confidence again and get back out now that lockdown has eased.

“Volunteers can give as much or as little time as they like – just a few hours a week can make all the difference to someone.

“If you think you could help someone living with sight loss in your area, we’d urge you to get in touch.”

How to volunteer for Guide Dogs

To become a volunteer, you must be 18 or over and an Enhanced Disclosure check is required as part of the role.

Guide Dogs will provide new volunteers with full sighted guide training.  

If you’d like to find out more, you can contact Beth Wise via, call 0800 781 1444 or visit the Guide Dogs website.