New government funding will boost training for blind people to use a ‘guide dog’ smart phone app, Minister for Disabled People Esther McVey announced today.
The award-winning “Georgie” app has a voice-assisted touch screen and features to help blind people with everyday activities such as catching the bus, reading printed text and finding unfamiliar locations.
The Department for Work and Pensions is providing the charity, Communication for Blind and Disabled People, with £14,240 to help train 200 people to use the new app.
Minister for Disabled People Esther McVey said:
Georgie is fantastic new technology for blind and partially-sighted people in today’s busy world.
It can help people with finding their way around in a new place, or be a lifeline in an emergency. We’re working with a local disability group to fund a training programme for 200 blind people who want to get the best out of the new app.
The app was designed by blind husband-and-wife team Roger and Margaret Wilson-Hinds from Peterborough, who named it after her first guide dog.
Roger Wilson-Hinds, Designer of Georgie, said:
The DPULO initiative is a great example of how the government is backing disabled entrepreneurs like myself to champion disability issues and I am proud that our charity received a grant to improve the lives of others with special needs.
The great thing that attracted me to creating the app was the notion of gaining confidence, and also having reassurance that you could press a button and get help if you were lost.
‘Georgie’ user Stephanie Sergeant, 59, from Birmingham said:
I used to struggle to know when to get off the bus. I am amazed how much difference Georgie has made so I can now hear where the bus stops are. I can arrive anywhere with confidence thanks to Georgie!
‘Georgie’ won the “Google Outstanding Use of Technology in the Field of Diversity” award at the European Diversity Awards 2012.
Notes to Editors:
- Georgie is available for any Android smart phone. For more information on visit http://www.screenreader.net/index.php?pageid=36
- Professional trainers will work full time with blind people to enable them to learn how the Georgie navigation tool can support them.
- The proposed training project will take place at local blind societies throughout England and the training recipients will be representative of blind and disabled people in the local area.
- In the UK almost two million people are living with sight loss, with 360,000 registered as blind.
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