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Mall offers free personal guide service to visually impaired

A FREE service has been launched to help people who are blind or visually impaired get around one of Scotland’s biggest shopping malls.

From left, intu Braehead guide Christine Wilson; visually impaired shopper, Theresa Jenson; Christine Olsen from the mall and visually impaired shopper, Cathy Slyder

Staff at intu Braehead have been given specialist training by the Visability Scotland charity to act as personal shopping guides around the stores.

Theresa Jenson, from Erskine and Cathy Slyder, from Paisley were the first to take advantage of the new service, as they were guided around the stores at intu Braehead, by staff members, Christine Olsen and Christine Wilson.

Cathy said: “This means a lot to me. It’s a great service and very helpful as the staff who accompany us are able to describe the colour, design, type of material and size of what we were planning to buy.

“If it wasn’t for this service I would have to rely on family to come round the shops with me.”

Theresa added: “Having this service at intu Braehead gives me some independence and means I don’t have to rely on other people.
“And I can buy my family presents without them having to be there with me when I do that.”

Already this year, a specialist trainer in sign language was brought in by intu Braehead to teach up to 20 staff basic sign language skills during a two-day course.

And staff have also been given specialist training by Scottish Autism to make life more comfortable for people with autism when they visit the centre.

Lydia Brown, intu Braehead’s community development manager said: “We want to make sure everyone – and we mean everyone – has the opportunity to come to intu Braehead and experience what we have to offer.

“The recent training that gives our staff the skills to help people who are deaf, blind or suffer from autism shows we are serious about this.”