Meet the Team: Zoe

Image of Zoe smiling against a white background. Her name is in black lettering.

Zoe Maclean is a lover of languages, travel enthusiast and one of our Reviewer Engagement & Outreach Coordinators. She loves spreading awareness about disabled access and before joining the team became a Euan’s Guide Ambassador in 2017. We spoke to Zoe as she works at home on the west coast of Scotland.

What have you been up to recently?

During lockdown in my spare time, I have been enjoying doing some baking and trying out different recipes. More recently I started doing adult colouring books as I quite enjoy arts and crafts. I also love doing training exercises with Remus my assistance dog. It helps me to forget everything for a while and I think he enjoys learning too.

You live near Largs and often work remotely. How do you find this?

Working from home has some definite advantages as it helps me manage my pain and energy levels more effectively. At the moment I am missing being able to come into the office as it is always nice to see everyone and to be able to share thoughts and ideas in the same room. At the moment in particular the team video calls that we have been doing have really helped me to stay connected and to feel part of the Euan’s Guide team.

You mentioned Remus earlier? Can you tell us a bit about him and how he helps you?

I have had Remus as my assistance dog for nine years now. We were partnered in April 2011, but I have known him since he was an eight-week-old puppy! He inspires me every day to be the best that I can be. It is nice for me to have someone to care for rather than being the one who is being cared for all the time. In that way I guess he gives me my own sense of independence and freedom. He gives me confidence to go out and do things that I want to do that I would otherwise find difficult. He is nonjudgmental and accepts me for who I am. I really enjoy writing my blogs “Rambles with Remus” as I enjoy sharing the different things that we get up to and hopefully I can raise awareness of different types of assistance dogs at the same time. I feel it is really important for business owners and the general public to understand the role of assistance dogs so that they can better understand the job that they do to help their partner who might have a range of different disabilities and so need the dog to help them in different ways.

What were you doing before working at Euan’s Guide?

Before I started working with Euan’s Guide I was doing a lot of voluntary work for different charities and organisations. I first heard about Euan’s Guide through a friend who had recommended the website for finding disabled access information about different venues - especially accessible accommodation. I then started to do reviews for Euan’s Guide and I was invited to become a Euan’s Guide Ambassador in November 2017.

What does a day as a Reviewer Engagement & Outreach Coordinator look like?

My role at Euan’s Guide is usually quite varied but it mainly involves working with new and existing reviewers and helping them to gain confidence in doing reviews. I also get to tell more people about Euan’s Guide which I love! This includes charities, disabled peoples’ organisations, community groups and other partners. I also work with new and existing venues to encourage them to list on Euan’s Guide or help them keep existing information up to date.

What has been your favourite moment with the team?

So far it has to be the team Christmas night out at Edinburgh Royal Botanic Gardens and seeing all the Christmas lights that were there. It was so pretty especially in the dark and it was nice to spend time with everyone as a team outside of work. I really enjoyed the night! I hope we can all get together again when it is safe to do so.

Do you have a favourite accessible venue or place to go?

That’s an interesting question! Glasgow has a lot of fond memories for me as this is where I went to university. In terms of a favourite venue I like to find somewhere where I can meet up with friends so it usually involves a cafe or a bar! I also really enjoy going to gigs. A few years ago I was lucky enough to attend T in the Park Festival in Perth which really took me by surprise in terms of accessibility. The staff were all really helpful and made me and my family feel really welcome as spectators.

What do you look out for in a disabled access review?

I think a good review has information about what you enjoyed about the venue. That could be a good accessible toilet, or friendly staff or just a nice atmosphere. The more information that you can provide about that particular visit the better! Also, I really enjoy looking at the photographs that people include in the reviews because that gives you a visual representation of the accessibility of the venue. A photograph can tell you a lot about the space available in a venue and the dimensions of things in relation to your wheelchair, walking frame or walking stick which gives you a better idea of how you personally would move about the venue.

What are some of your goals for the future?

I would love to learn more languages. I have always been interested in languages during my university career and I have a basic knowledge of BSL and Mackaton but would love to learn more! Also, in the future I would like to do more to represent and help people with Cerebral Palsy. As an adult with Cerebral Palsy I don't feel that people know enough about it.

Want to talk to Zoe or anyone else at Euan's Guide? Get in touch!

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