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Kent Association for the Blind

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KAB's Guide Communicator Service

Our Guide Communicator service provides one-to-one support for people with dual sensory impairment. Our Guide Communicators (GCs) provide guiding and communication support to enable individuals to continue to do everyday tasks for themselves such as dealing with correspondence, shopping, attending appointments as well as accessing their local community.

The purpose of the Guide Communicator Service is to improve quality of life by reducing isolation and minimising risk for people who are deafblind, empowering them to lead independent and autonomous lives. Guide Communicators provide guiding and communication support. All have CRB clearance, are trained and supervised by KAB, and are skilled in different forms of communication, such as:

Clear speech

Deafblind manual alphabet

Block

British Sign Language

“I consider this an essential service, I am now able to go out and get around, I stayed in for the last 20 years”

 “Having the service enables me to eat well and get shopping and gives me the confidence to go out. I felt vulnerable before the GC began to visit but I enjoy going out now”

"It’s so good to have someone who lets me do things for myself. Before I had a Guide Communicator my family felt that they had to do things for me ... I was terrified of losing my independence."


Guide Communicators can help people to:

  • Make telephone calls and manage correspondence,
  • Budget, and manage home life,
  • Participate in social and leisure pursuits,
  • Access news, information and technology,
  • Take exercise,
  • Using environmental aids,
  • Use public transport,
  • Shop, and check, food sell by dates,
  • Attend medical appointments,
  • Maintain and improve daily living skills.

Guide Communicators are not able to:

  • Help with personal or domestic care,
  • Lift people or heavy objects,
  • Administer drugs or medicines (although Guide Communicators can help people to self-administer),
  • Undertake medical tasks,
  • Be responsible for peoples' money.

The Guide Communicator Service operates 7 days a week between 7am and 7pm, and outside these hours by arrangement. The service is current available in Kent, Medway, Bromley and South London.

Who could benefit?

Any adult who due to their dual sensory impairment is experiencing difficulty with communication, accessing information or mobility. It is available to people living in their own homes, supported living or residential settings.

Support available

Our staff are trained to provide a service that's specific to individual need. This may include a professional sighted guiding service; support with low vision and hearing aids; and a wide range of communication such as clear speech, lip reading, block alphabet, deafblind manual alphabet, sign language (Makaton, Sign Supported English, British Sign Language), symbol systems, objects of reference, or hands-on and hand-underhand communication.

"Hannah’s Guide Communicator is an absolute angel, she has made an amazing difference; you can’t believe the change in her."

Service Cost

The service is charged at an hourly rate which varies according to the complexity of need, the skills required, and where and when the service is delivered. Deafblind people can request a specialist assessment from their local authority, and may be eligible for financial help to meet some or all the costs of the service. People can also purchase Guide Communicator support privately.

Service availability - When and Where?

The service is available seven days a week and the minimum booking is one 2-hour session per fortnight. The service can be provided long-term, or as part of a short term enablement programme and is available to people of any age, whether living in their own home, or in supported or residential settings. 

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