27th Oct, 2016

Volunteers sought to help change lives

Evesham Editorial 19th Dec, 2014 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

BOSSES of a national charity are calling for more volunteers across Evesham and Pershore to help give blind people a better life, especially in the run up to Christmas.

Observer reporter Nigel Slater found out more about plans for a local fund-raising group for Guide Dogs for the Blind Association.

WITH about ten guide dog owners in the Vale area and others waiting in the wings to join them, the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association mobility team want to increase their numbers.

Founded in 1934, Guide Dogs for the Blind Association provides independence and freedom to thousands of blind and partially sighted people across the UK through the provision of guide dogs, mobility and other rehabilitation services.

The charity ran a stand in Pershore at the town’s Christmas Lights Switch-On event last month which saw them explain to visitors about their work.

Sue Bushell, the area’s community engagement officer, said: “What fascinates me about Guide Dogs is that connection between a person and animal and the huge difference that animal can make to a person’s life.

“As a volunteer you will have the opportunity to develop an understanding of the difficulties faced by people who are blind or partially sighted.

“Talking to people at collections, giving someone a few minutes of your time and explaining about the work of guide dogs makes you feel like you are making a difference.

“Our fund-raising and awareness events are vital as the Guide Dog Service receives no Government funding and it costs £5 a day to keep each partnership on the road and give the independence that everyone needs.

“We are sure there are people who live and work in the area who like us can see the opportunities there are to raise awareness about our work and raise the funds that are vital to make a difference to people’s lives, after all sight loss is life

changing – but so are guide dogs!”

Pershore Mayor Coun Tony Rowley selected Guide Dogs for the Blind Association as one of his chosen charities when he took office earlier this year.

“Guide dogs are a wonderful charity giving hope and freedom to so many – young and old – to be able to live life as fully as possible,” he said.

“I was particularly attracted to guide dogs because there is no minimum age for guide dog ownership.

“At the time of considering charities I read about a young girl who had lost her sight but because of a guide dog she was able

to complete her education at school and go on to university.

“The guide dog enabled her to have mobility, flexibility and confidence to realise her full potential. “I was also interested to learn of the use of Buddy Dogs and other services offered by Guide Dogs to help people living with sight loss and other


Anyone who would like to know more should contact the Birmingham Mobility Team on 08453 727434 or e-mail Birmingham@guidedogs.org.uk for more information.