SAVI’s Stella Black delivered the training that took place at G Live, and was organized by Guildford Tourist Information Centre who support local tourism businesses through the Attractions group and Conference Group. The Mayor of Guildford, Cllr Diana Lockyer-Nibbs, who herself is visually impaired, has chosen SAVI as her charity for her mayoral year, and also attended the training.
Representatives from Radisson Blu Edwardian, Ramada Guildford/Leatherhead, G Live, Wey and Arun Canal, Painshill Park, Guildford Heritage Services and the Tourist Office will now become Visual Impairment Champions back at their own venues and teach other team members to correctly assist and guide visitors with visual impairments.
The training covered the various types of visual impairment and guiding a visually impaired person to a seat, through a door, and up and down stairs.
Diana Roberts, Tourism Marketing and Development Manager said: “The attractions and hotels in and around Guildford attract lots of visitors from the UK and overseas and we want them all to feel welcome and have a good experience. We hope this will be the first of many training sessions so that visitors with a visual impairment will know they will be well looked after if they come to Guildford.”
Roger Blake, of Radisson Blu Edwardian Guildford said: “We certainly had our eyes opened to the problems experienced by visually impaired people. It was a great course and the various types of glasses we used to simulate various visual impairments certainly gave a better understanding of the types of problems experienced by many.”
Jez Smith of Guildford Heritage, which looks after the Guildford Museum, Guildhall and Guildford House Gallery said: “The training session was informative and presented in a practical and digestible format. It provides essential information for anyone working in the public service sector”.
After the training session, Cllr Diana Lockyer-Nibbs, Mayor of Guildford said: “Visual Awareness Training is absolutely vital. Because visual impairment is a hidden disability, it is exceptionally important for staff of hotels, restaurants and other public places to be aware of the problems that can arise when a visual impaired person is in unfamiliar surroundings; being offered the right assistance can greatly improve the experience.”
The Mayor of Guildford will be hosting and supporting several charity events during her Mayoral year in aid of SAVI, and Guildford Tourist Information Centre are planning further training so that all local hotels and attractions can be included.