As we continue to move towards ensuring here at Paradise Wildlife Park, all visitors are able to enjoy their experience. We reached out to Guide Dogs UK to discuss how we could continue to work to make our site more inclusive and accessible for those with visual impairments. Zoos and Aquariums often are unable to accommodate guide dogs on site due to bio-security measures to protect not only the guide dogs themselves but also the animals in the care at the zoos and aquariums. Due to this Guide Dogs UK is working with BIAZA the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums sites across the UK to help staff like here at Paradise Wildlife Park to support those who are partially sighted or blind to navigate areas of the zoo without the assistance of a guide dog.
Guide Dogs UK is a charity that works towards Providing mobility for the blind and partially sighted. Supporting research, raising awareness and campaigning for the visually impaired. Their sighted guided training teaches individuals how to guide a person with sight loss, with confidence, skill and empathy.
On the 11th of May 2023, here at Paradise Wildlife Park, we welcome the incredible team from Guide Dogs for a training day for our staff. Our staff worked with the trainers to become Sighted Guided trained. Through the session, the team learned basic guiding techniques and how to navigate specific challenges that might be around the site here at the Park. Our staff also had an introduction to common eye conditions and their impact as well as awareness training for access rights and barriers to independence.
We are proud to say all our staff who were able to take part passed the awareness course and we are now a Sighted Guided site. This allows us to continue to work towards and provide a location that is inclusive and accessible for all whilst we are unable to allow guide dogs on site.