Service User Representative

Alison May Sur 

My name is Alison May and I am the Maidstone Mobility Team's Service User Representative. This role was set up by Guide Dogs to support all those who receive one of their services, whether that be the provision of a guide dog or those receiving mobility or My Guide Training. My aim is to reflect your opinions, concerns and needs back to Guide Dogs as well as supporting those who may be feeling anxious or in need of reassurance.

When a person is accepted onto the waiting list for a service, permission is asked for their details to be passed onto me in order that I can support them or provide additional information whilst they are waiting to be trained. I also meet those undergoing hotel-based guide dog training or contact those who are trained at home, provided they are willing for me to do so. I also attend most social events in order to meet as many service users as possible.

I work closely with the Maidstone Team, attending many of their meetings but should stress that I am a volunteer and not a paid member of staff. I am, in fact, a guide dog owner myself, three of the last dogs having been trained by the Maidstone Team. Some of you may also know me as I worked as a Rehabilitation Worker for KAB until my recent retirement.  

How can I support you? In any way I can! Calls I have received have included frustrations over dogs spending when in harness, grief when a dog has retired or become seriously ill, anger about being refused by a taxi driver, concerns regarding an interfering relative, fears over fitness for training, anxiety over a dog's pending retirement, frustration about the time spent on the waiting list - ah yes, and just to share the joy of the new partnership!  I'm not a GDMI but I am an experienced guide dog owner and have undergone long cane training so may have some practical tips to share - or just be a friendly ear when no one else seems to be listening!

If you would like to contact me, I can be reached on 01304 853477 or Alison.may@guidedogs.org.uk




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