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Network Rail look after Guide & Assistance Dogs toileting requirements with 1st doggy spend in Birmingham

doggy spend areaGuide dogs and other assistance dogs finally have a place to “go” in Birmingham City centre as Network Rail introduce Birmingham’s first doggy spend area in the New Street station redevelopment.

Sue Bushell Community Engagement Officer for Guide Dogs Birmingham Mobility Team said

“We are delighted that Network Rail understands the importance of this issue and has built a spending area for assistance dogs at New Street, there isn’t another in the City. Locals and visitors have for years been raising this as an issue and it will make a big difference to them (and their dogs!) to have this facility, we just need to spread the word now that it is there and available for use.”

Guide dogs provide life changing mobility for people who are unsighted or partially sighted enabling them to get out and about independently wherever they need to go for work or leisure. 

There are currently over 4,900 assistance guide dog partnerships in the UK.  Being a central hub for the Country, many dogs pass through Birmingham’s New Street Station on a daily basis.  The dogs are trained to toilet before going out and to only “go” in appropriate places called “spending areas” as it is easier for their owners to identify where they have been and clean up – they are very reluctant to go anywhere else although obviously on occasions needs must and they have to.  So you can imagine if you are on a long train journey or out for the day in a big city this can be a problem. 

Carol Stitchman, head of design for Network Rail said:

“As part of the station design we have spoken at length to the RNIB, local access groups and NR’s BEAP (Built Environment Accessibility Panel) on a number of mobility impaired improvements. One of these was a ‘dog spend’ area for assistance dogs. There are very few precedent studies. But the design guide from the users was that the area was to be undercover, easily cleaned, accessible, in a busy but safe area and close to one of the main entrances to the station.”

Guide Dogs are really pleased that in the re design of New Street Station a spending area was incorporated.  Ideally located near to the taxi drop off/collection point it will enable Guide and other assistance dogs travelling through the City to have an opportunity to use it and make themselves more comfortable and able to concentrate on looking after their owner’s needs.

To find out more please contact guidedogs@guidedogs.org.uk or call 01189 838784, or if you would like information on our services or volunteering opportunities please visit our website.