Letters, Monday, July 7, 2014

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People needed to be sight guides

THERE are 8,120 people in the Sunderland area living with impact of sight loss.

 Of these, 960 have serious sight loss. Guide Dogs ‘My Guide’ sighted guide scheme aims to assist more of those individuals to get out and about and do things that they enjoy – but we need your help.

 My Guide volunteers are matched to a partner with sight loss. The partnership then spends an hour or two each week for a 12-week period doing pre-agreed activities together. These have included shopping, bowling, archery, going out for a coffee, attending church, going to a hobby to name but a few.

 My Guides are given nationally accredited training and ongoing support so that they can enjoy this rewarding role, which is enabling someone to make the most of life in a very direct way.

 In addition to our usual My Guide role, Guide Dogs also has three-sighted guiding opportunities that may appeal to people with specific skills and experience. We would particularly like to hear from potential volunteers in Washington who have experience of being with wheelchair users. We’d also like to hear from someone in the Houghton area, who would enjoy going to gigs and pop concerts and has experience of being with a young person with Asperger’s.

 To find out more about any of these exciting volunteer opportunities and to make a difference to the life of a person living with sight loss, contact 08453727423, newcastle@guidedogs.org.uk or leave a message at www.facebook.com/guidedogs

Claire Devine,

volunteering consultant,

North East & Cumbria

Not everyone likes theatre musicals

THE other day, I thought that it would be lovely to have a visit to Sunderland Empire, our splendid old theatre, as I hadn’t been there in a while.

 So I looked at the programme of events for the next six months.

 Oh dear. Absolutely nothing that I had the least interest in seeing.

 Perhaps that’s because the very thought of a musical production makes me feel nauseous.

 I think it’s because the end of term “treat” every year at my school was a showing of The Sound of Music.

 After a few years, we hated it so much that it wound us up to dizzying heights of hatred and frustration.

 An effective revenge, you might think, by the school, on parents, at the start of the school holidays.

 Anyway, I hate anything with “chunes”, which pretty much excludes everything on at the Empire. So much for variety. Not a decent (unmusical) play in sight.

 Taking a look at other theatres in the region, there are plays by Shakespeare, plays on football, even a Fawlty Towers play.

 Wonderful. Just not here.

 Come on, Empire Trust, give me something to watch and enjoy that stimulates my mind, not my stomach.