The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association
We have nominated The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association as our charity for 2017. We are hoping to raise £5,000 for the charity so that we can sponsor a much-needed puppy.
Our Centre Manager, Robin Swift, kicked off the sponsored events with a 65-mile bike ride to and from the office. Robin raised just over £1,000 towards our target.
Please visit our JustGiving page if you would like to donate.
How we are undertaking the campaign
The local branch of the charity will be visiting Clock Towers Shopping Centre at regular intervals throughout the year, bringing along the adorable guide dogs for support and to meet the shoppers. We will also be raising money for the Guide Dogs during our in-centre activities and through taking part in sponsored events. Keep an eye on our latest news to see what is happening.
Guide Dogs for the Blind Association is a charity dedicated to developing services to meet the needs of those with sight loss. Their aim is to support these people to move around safely and confidently, to get out of their homes and live their lives. The world-famous guide dogs are just a part of their work, which also includes helping people with sight loss cope with obstacles they face in leading their daily lives.
Case Study – Paul Holloway
My name is Paul and I have been registered blind for approximately 20 years. I have lost my sight due to a genetic condition called Retinitis Pigmentosa which means the retina (the light sensitive part of the eye) slowly stops working and degenerates over a long period of time.
I have used a white stick since 2000 which I found very slow and frustrating to use as it took me ages to go anywhere on my own. In August 2013 I visited a friend in York and while exploring the city on my own I had an accident and ended up walking off a quay and landing on a sandy bank in the river. This made me revaluate my situation. After many conversations with friends and family and a couple of conversations with a friend who was already a guide dog owner I decided to apply for a guide dog.
I first called Guide Dogs for the Blind at Leamington who were extremely helpful. A couple of weeks later I had a consultation at home with a Mobility Instructor who went through what mobility options I had. The outcome was that the best option was a guide dog. The next step was a consultation at home with a Guide Dog Mobility Instructor (GDMI). During this consultation every aspect of my life was looked at to make sure the right dog was matched with me. I was also asked what my preferences were with regard to the dog, i.e. Did I want a male or female, black or golden etc. Finally I was put on the waiting list.
Then in October 2014 I received a phone call from my GDMI to say that a dog was available that might suit me and would I like to meet her and I replied very excited, yes. A couple of days later the GDMI brought Pippin to my place of work and she jumped into my arms and we were an instant hit. We spent a short time together and set a date to start class.
So Pippin had already been at "school" for 6 months, and now it was time for me to join her for the last part of her training and for me to be trained. Usually the last 3 to 4 weeks of training are completed with both parts of the partnership training together so the bond between owner and guide dog starts to form. This takes 6 to 12 months.
Meet the team
We took a bit of time out recently to meet the some of the trainers and dogs at our local centre in Leamington Spa. It was fascinating to watch the interaction and see in person the wonderful work that the charity does, the way the dogs respond, and the joy and freedom the owners get from the guide dog network.