Safeguarding Policy for Sense Adventures
Safeguarding Policy for SENSE ADVENTURES where sighted volunteers act as guides for Blind and Visually Impaired Individuals. SENSE ADVENTURES activities are focused on walking but can extend to other related activities such as holidays.
The purpose of this safeguarding policy is to ensure the safety and well-being of all participants, particularly blind and visually impaired individuals, during SENSE ADVENTURES activities that involve the provision of sighted guides. This policy outlines guidelines and procedures to prevent and respond to any potential safeguarding concerns.
Note: Public Liability Insurance MUST be in place for all Activities.
2. Sense Adventures Commitment
SENSE ADVENTURES is committed to creating a safe and inclusive environment for all participants, regardless of their abilities. We recognise the unique needs and vulnerabilities of blind and visually impaired individuals and strive to ensure their safety and enjoyment during our activities.
3. Recruitment and Training
All sighted guides undergo thorough recruitment procedures, including background checks and reference verification, to ensure their suitability for the role. They receive training in guiding techniques, communication, and understanding the needs of blind and visually impaired individuals. All Guides will get a “Vision Guide” to reinforce and remind the knowledge gained.
4. Participant Consent and Assessment
Before participating in SENSE ADVENTURES activities, blind and visually impaired individuals, along with their guides, will be required to provide consent for their involvement. Additionally, an assessment of the individual's physical capabilities and needs shall be conducted to ensure their safety and to tailor the experience accordingly.
See Graded Walk Guide – Policy and Procedures
5. Communication and Support
Clear communication is essential. Guides are instructed to maintain open lines of communication with blind and visually impaired participants, ensuring they feel comfortable expressing their needs and concerns. Guides will be trained to offer appropriate support, assistance, and guidance throughout the activity.
6. Activity Planning and Risk Assessment
SENSE ADVENTURES activities will be planned and assessed with safety in mind. Consideration will be given to factors such as terrain, weather conditions, and the physical demands of the activity. Activities will be Graded (e.g. easy, moderate, difficult) and ALL participants are expected to meet any minimum requirements. During an activity, flexibility will be applied to accommodate the abilities of blind and visually impaired participants as well as guides.
See Graded Walk Guide – Policy and Procedures
7. Emergency Policy
SENSE ADVENTURES will minimise the risk of emergency with appropriate policies [this document]. SENSE ADVENTURES will strive to have a first aider for ALL Grades of walks.
In the event of an emergency, guides are responsible for the immediate safety and well-being of blind and visually impaired participants. Clear procedures will be in place for handling emergencies, including medical incidents, adverse weather conditions, and unexpected incidents.
See Emergency Procedures
8. Reporting and Response
Any safeguarding concerns, whether related to blind and visually impaired participants or other members, will be taken seriously and addressed promptly. Confidentiality
All personal information and safeguarding matters will be handled confidentially and only shared with relevant parties on a need-to-know basis.
9. Review and Improvement
This safeguarding policy will be regularly reviewed and updated to ensure its effectiveness and compliance with best practices.
By adhering to this safeguarding policy, SENSE ADVENTURES aims to provide a safe and enjoyable experience for all participants, especially blind and visually impaired individuals, who trust us to guide them through our shared outdoor activities.
Recruitment and Training Record
- Records to include, Guides Name, assessor, checklist of training requirements and responsibilities, record of ongoing consent, and validity dates (from & to)
- Every blind and visually impaired individual MUST have a sighted guide.
- Ideally, every walk will have an additional sighted “tail-end” who will be located at the back of the group. They would NOT be guiding, but will be vigilant to any matters and concerns that might arise, and take appropriate action.
- Every walk will have a designated “route leader”. They will ensure a risk assessment of the walk has been made BEFORE starting, and make any Risk Assessment decisions during the walk.
- First aiders: Any walk Graded Medium or Hard MUST have a first aider.
Sense Adventures equality, diversity and inclusion policy
Sense Adventures is committed to encouraging equality, diversity and inclusion within our organisation, and eliminating unlawful discrimination.
The aim is for each volunteer to feel respected and able to give their best.
The organisation - in providing guided walks and walking weekends to VI/blind people - is also committed to ensure that no unlawful discrimination of customers or the public.
Our policy’s purpose
This policy’s purpose is to:
1. Provide equality, fairness and respect for all our volunteers, whether regular, new or short-term.
2. Not unlawfully discriminate because of the Equality Act 2010 protected characteristics of:
- gender reassignment
- marriage and civil partnership
- pregnancy and maternity
- race (including colour, nationality, and ethnic or national origin)
- religion or belief
- sexual orientation
3. Oppose and avoid all forms of unlawful discrimination of our volunteers. This includes in:
- terms and conditions of service
- dealing with grievances and discipline
- selection for training or other developmental opportunities
The organisation commits to:
1. Encourage equality, diversity and inclusion at Sense Adventures as they are good practice and make business sense
2. Create a working environment free of bullying, harassment, victimisation and unlawful discrimination, promoting dignity and respect for all, and where individual differences and the contributions of all volunteers are recognised and valued.
All volunteers should understand they, as well as Sense Adventures, can be held liable for acts of bullying, harassment, victimisation and unlawful discrimination, in the course of their employment, against fellow employees, customers, suppliers and the public.
3. Take seriously complaints of bullying, harassment, victimisation and unlawful discrimination by fellow volunteers, customers, suppliers, the public and any others in the course of Sense Adventures’ work activities.
Such acts will be dealt with as misconduct and appropriate action will be taken.
Further, sexual harassment may amount to a criminal matter, such as in sexual assault allegations. In addition, harassment under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 – which is not limited to circumstances where harassment relates to a protected characteristic – is a criminal offence.
4. Make decisions concerning volunteers based on merit (apart from in any necessary and limited exemptions and exceptions allowed under the Equality Act).
5. Review volunteer management practices and procedures when necessary to ensure fairness, and also update them and the policy to take account of changes in the law.
6. Monitor the meeting of the aims and commitments set out in the equality, diversity and inclusion policy.
Monitoring will also include assessing how the equality, diversity and inclusion policy, and any supporting action plan, are working in practice, reviewing them annually, and considering and taking action to address any issues.
Agreement to follow this policy
The equality, diversity and inclusion policy is fully supported by the Directors of Sense Adventures.
Last updated 7/12/2023
Code of Conduct for Volunteer Guides
Sense Adventures offers guided day activities and short breaks to blind and sighted people in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.
Volunteer guides assist blind and sighted people as required and we are delighted that you have joined our friendly team.
Our volunteers make it all possible and your support makes a real difference to the lives of the blind and partially-sighted who would otherwise not have the opportunity to have a day out or a holiday
This Code of Conduct outlines the standards of behaviour expected of volunteers to help ensure that Sense Adventures is effective, open and accountable. The aim is to ensure that we work together to foster a happy and relaxed atmosphere.
Volunteers are required to:
- Act honestly, responsibly and with integrity.
- Treat others with fairness, equality, dignity and respect.
- Communicate respectfully and honestly at all times.
- Observe safety procedures, including any obligations concerning the safety, health and welfare of other people, both other volunteers and blind participants.
- Respect everyone’s right to personal privacy and ensure that any personal information is kept secure and not disclosed.
- Act in a way that is in line with the purpose and values of Sense Adventures and that enhances the work of the organisation.
- Challenge any unacceptable behaviour and report any breaches of this Code of Conduct or any concerns without delay to a leader or Director.
Specific principles for our day walks and holidays
Volunteers are required to:
Follow Sense Adventures policies and procedures as well as any instructions or directions reasonably given to them. Guides should not deviate from the itinerary as instructed unless consulting with leaders first. Leaders however may make decisions to change the plans if circumstances change.
Volunteers are not obligated to volunteer at specific times, but if you commit to doing something and are unable to, please ensure Sense Adventures is made aware as soon as possible bearing in mind that bookings are taken from the blind participants depending on the number of guides available so changes in your availability impact directly on these bookings.
Arrive in good time for activities and report to the leader immediately before engaging with guests to ensure that walks keep to time schedules.
Be prepared with fuel if transporting, mobile phones fully charged and switched on as train disruptions for the blind participants often cause last minute change of plans.
Listen carefully to the leader’s briefing, they will state who is the First Aider for the day.
If you think any alteration is needed to the itinerary, please always speak to the Leader first who has the full picture. The Leader’s decision is final.
You must not:
- Allow concerns or allegations to go unreported.
- Develop inappropriate relationships with visually impaired people attending Sense Adventures activities.
- Make sarcastic, insensitive, derogatory or sexually suggestive comments or gestures to or in front of anyone.
- Act in a way that can be perceived as threatening or intrusive.
- Make inappropriate promises to vulnerable people, particularly in relation to confidentiality.
Last updated 27/9/2023