Thursday, 3 September 2009

Gemma's drive for guide dog funds

A Visually impaired Swansea woman is taking on a charity drive to raise money for the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association.

Gemma Jones, age 27 and of Treboeth, will complete an entire lap of a driving circuit in Cowbridge in a dual-controlled car with the help of an instructor.

Mrs Jones, a
Swansea Council Rehabilitation Officer for the Visually Impaired, is undertaking the challenge on Sunday September 6 and is looking to raise at least £200.

Many similar events are taking place on the same day across the UK with the aim of raising about £19,000 combined- a figure that would pay for the training of two guide dogs.

Gemma, who lost all her sight in 1998, is aware of the huge difference a guide dog can make to the lives of the visually impaired.

Naylor, a five-year-old Labrador retriever, has been by her side for the last three years.

Gemma said: "Naylor has completely changed my life since we had him.

"He's helped to inject a sense of normality into everyday tasks and this has boosted my confidence and independence.

"Naylor goes everywhere with me- to work, to the shops and even to church.

"Any money that I raise by the charity drive will be going to a very worthy cause."

Gemma's work with the visually impaired is partly based at the Swansea Vale Resource Centre but also sees her out and about in the community with Naylor for two days a week.

Some of her work involves putting together rehabilitation programmes for visually impaired people that may involve advising them how best to make hot drinks safely, how to use a long cain properly or how to catch a bus without difficulty.

Cllr Nick Tregoning, Swansea Council's Cabinet Member for Social Services, said: "A lot of hard work is undertaken to make life easier for people who are visually impaired in Swansea and Gemma is part of a team who make a great difference to the quality of life for many.

"The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association is a fantastic cause to raise money for and I hope people get behind her to help raise as much money as possible."

Anyone who'd like to sponsor Gemma can get hold of a form by either calling her on 01792 785020 or by contacting Alison Charles at Guide Dogs for the Blind on or 02920 839100.


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