Future guide dogs and their trainers travel for free

A guide dog training on a tram

Trainee guide dogs and their trainers can enjoy free travel on public transport across Greater Nottingham, thanks to the Robin Hood Network.

The Robin Hood Operator’s Group has donated 20 free travel passes to sight loss charity Guide Dogs, whose local team is based in Phoenix Business Park, Nottingham.

Guide Dog Trainers from the team will be able to use the passes across the city and surrounding areas, to help familiarise the dogs they are training with different modes of public transport such as buses and trams.

Tracey Leigh, Canine Assisted Services Manager for Guide Dogs in Nottingham, said: “We’re extremely grateful to the Robin Hood Operator’s Group for providing free travel cards for our local Guide Dog Trainers in Nottingham.

“Learning to travel on public transport calmly and confidently is an important part of any guide dogs’ training, helping to prepare them for their future role supporting someone with sight loss.

“Having these travel cards means our trainers can carry out vital training exercises with our dogs on different modes of transport in the city, whilst avoiding extra cost to our organisation.”

Guide Dogs is almost entirely funded by public donations. It costs the organisation £54,800 to support a guide dog from birth to retirement and £75.7 million each year to run all the services Guide Dogs offers.

A spokesperson for the Robin Hood Network said: “The Robin Hood Partnership of bus, tram and rail operators across Greater Nottingham is delighted to continue our support of the charity Guide Dogs.

“Public transport plays a major role in enabling residents and visitors to get around Greater Nottingham quickly and safely, but through the fantastic work that the charity does to train guide dogs, we can be sure that our services can be used by everyone.”

Among the operators allowing use of the travel cards are: CT4N, Kinchbus, NET Tram, Nottingham City Council Link Buses, Nottingham City Transport and trentbarton.

A guide dog begins its training at around 12-14 months old and, in normal circumstances, most dogs qualify as working guide dogs by the age of two.

If a dog isn’t suitable to become a guide dog, they may be considered for another canine service offered by the charity such as the buddy dog service for children with a vision impairment.

A guide dog training on a bus

Can you help?

Guide Dogs is currently looking for volunteers in Nottingham who could look after trainee guide dogs on evenings and weekends. For more info, contact Volunteering Coordinator Melanie Brown via melanie.brown@guidedogs.org.uk or visit guidedogs.org.uk/boarding

To find out more about The Robin Hood Network, visit: www.robinhoodnetwork.co.uk

About the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association

Guide Dogs is here to help the two million people living with sight loss live the life they choose. Children and adults. Friends and family. Their expert staff, volunteers and life-changing dogs are here to help people affected by sight loss live actively, independently and well. Founded in 1934, they are a charity that is almost entirely dependent on donations. Find out more at guidedogs.org.uk

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