Techniquest Glyndŵr has worked with Guide Dogs for The Blind Cymru to bring their sensory tunnel van to the Science Centre for the day as part of a programme of visits they have organised to the area.
The team of 4 from Guide Dogs Cymru accompanied the van to help make contact with members of the public and students as part of a bid to recruit volunteers to help the organisation.
The interactive exhibition van will be at the Tesco Extra site in central Wrexham today until 3pm.
During the day various visitors came to try out the challenge for themselves including staff and students from Wrexham Glyndŵr University, members of the public and staff from Techniquest Glyndŵr.
Jacqui Hughes-Jones, Community Fundraiser with the Guide Dogs Association said: “We have brought the van with us today as part of our campaign to recruit local volunteers to our organisation. There are a number of visually impaired people in the area who are keen to have a sighted volunteer to work with them as they develop their skills to negotiate their life without sight
We are also looking for local student ambassadors who would be interested to talk about our work in schools.
Today we will be visiting the Tesco Extra store near the Border Retail Park in the centre of Wrexham so I am hoping between the two visits that we will be generating lots of interest amongst people from the Wrexham area.
Nathan Fry the Guide Dogs Engagement Officer was welcoming visitors to the van explaining what to expect as they tried out the sensory tunnel.
He explained “In this van we have created a mini-environment fitted with various obstacles that might be found on the street. By putting on our special “mindfold” mask, visitors will be able to experience the disorientation that occurs when the eyes are open but there is nothing to see because their vision has been temporarily obscured by the mask.
Once inside the van, we ask people to try and identify all of the various items that have been installed just by the sense of touch and set against the background noise of a typical street scene.”
Being visually impaired himself Nathan added, “This challenge really helps to make sighted people aware of some of the issues associated with moving about in a world without sight. You might come across all sorts of unexpected items on the pavement such as wheelie bins, bicycles and even parked cars that could be tripped over.
“By bringing this van today, as well as raising awareness of visual impairment we are also hoping to recruit some additional volunteers and increase the support for our valuable work, not only locally but across Wales.”
The team also had brought along a couple of guide dogs, “Kayley” and “Mason” who were able to be part of the visit because they were officially ‘off duty” and away from their owners and these provided a popular additional attraction to the visit.
Mandy Jones, Senior Exhibition and Events Coordinator at Techniquest Glyndŵr said “Techniquest Glyndŵr always likes to support other charities and when Guide Dogs Cymru approached us about bringing their sensory tunnel challenge to the area we thought it would be an interesting additional activity we could host but also help them at the same time.
“Being situated on the University Campus is ideal for their visit since they are particularly interested in recruiting volunteer Student Ambassadors to help with their visits to schools in the area raising awareness of their work.”