Our work is only possible because of the support and help of so many people.
This Impact Report demonstrates the difference your support has made to the lives of people living with sight loss.
To all of you who have supported us and enabled us to continue our life-changing work, our most sincere thanks.
We supported 10,000 people with sight loss.
We supported 1,788 children and young people.
We provided 2 million days of mobility.
We bred 1,250 puppies.
We matched 843 people with a guide dog.
guide dog partnerships were in place by the end of the year.
Our mobility instructors completed 1,039 mobility assessments and 3,647 individual training sessions.
people received sighted guiding support.
buddy dogs supported children and young people.
volunteers gave more than 19.5 million hours of their time.
unique visitors came to our website.
We shared our story with 200,000 scouts.
We generated 11,876 items of media coverage.
people campaigned for us.
By the end of 2015, 4,994 people were able to take control of their lives thanks to the support of a guide dog
It costs just under £55,000 to breed, train and support one guide dog throughout its working life.
Our work ensured we were able to provide a guide dog to people like Nathan whose guide dog brought him new-found independence and confidence.
I'd lost all my confidence and I didn't want to step out of the door. Before, when I had a bit of vision, I could use that alongside Hudson. Now I had to trust him 100%. But he was by my side the whole time, I think he knew what was happening, and one morning I thought I didn’t let sight loss beat me before and I'm not going to let it beat me now.
Our work ensured we were able to provide a guide dog to people like Nathan
Nathan went totally blind aged just 19.
With the help of his guide dog Hudson, Nathan has been able to meet the immense challenges facing him.
Reflecting on the moment he was told all his sight had gone, Nathan said: "It was strange really, hard to take in. I'd already lost a lot of my sight when I was younger due to Uveitis (an inflammatory eye condition that destroys eye tissues), which is why I got Hudson. Then just a few months later, I suddenly lost the rest of my sight within about a day. I realised how much having even 5% vision mattered and I was utterly devastated. I tried to stay strong for the people around me but I couldn't go more than an hour or so without crying. I thought, 'that's the rest of my life never seeing anything again, how am I going to do this?'"
Hudson supported Nathan during his bleakest moments, not only as an assistance dog but as a companion. But it was hard for Nathan to even think about getting out of the house.
"I'd lost all my confidence and I didn't want to step out of the door. Before, when I had a bit of vision, I could use that alongside Hudson. Now I had to trust him 100%. But he was by my side the whole time, I think he knew what was happening, and one morning I thought 'I didn’t let sight loss beat me before and I'm not going to let it beat me now.'"
After doing some extra training, Nathan and Hudson are now stepping out together again with confidence. Nathan is an active volunteer fundraiser for Guide Dogs and has raised £5,000 by hosting various events including a 16-mile walk from Mansfield Town Football Club to local rivals Chesterfield.
His volunteering has resulted in an honorary place on the RAG committee at Nottingham Trent University and his newfound confidence means he is also preparing to travel to London on his own for the first time.
"It's difficult to summarise what Hudson means to me. I now have the confidence to carry on living my life and the motivation to prove there's life after sight loss. I don't have to rely on my parents to drive me around and I can get out and about just like anyone else my age. He's given me a sense of freedom and independence. He means the world to me and I don't know what I would do without him."
1,846 people benefited from sighted guiding in 2015
From research we conducted in 2015, 95% of respondents said that support from a sighted guide enabled them to do the things they wanted to do.
It is estimated that 80,000 people with sight loss would use a sighted guiding service.
Back on the road to independence
Reading-based, former HGV driver, Stuart Pearce, began to lose his sight in 2014 as a result of diabetic retinopathy and, no longer able to drive he lost his job, income and independence.
"Three laser operations didn't work, my sight got worse and worse. I was registered sight impaired/partially sighted in January 2015 and at that point I was absolutely devastated and scared. I'd completely lost my independence. However, the My Guide service has greatly helped me overcome these emotions."
Stuart describes his vision as like wearing dark glasses all the time. "Everything is grey, there's no colour and so it is difficult to detect kerbs, steps, slopes and so on."
Luckily for Stuart, the Eye Clinic Liaison Officer at The Royal Berkshire Hospital referred him to Guide Dogs’ My Guide service.
Stuart was matched with Richard, a sighted guide volunteer and initially they worked together to rebuild Stuart's confidence in getting out and about. Meeting once a week, Stuart explains that he has gained so much more: "Having Richard walking with me gives me reassurance that I am safe and I won't walk into anything. He is always happy to help me work out how I'd get to certain places. Without the My Guide service I don't know where I'd be. I certainly wouldn't have been about to start at college less than a year after losing my sight."
132 buddy dogs helped children with sight loss improve their confidence and self-esteem
Orla has a condition called achromatopsia, which causes her to have photophobia (sensitivity to light) and nystagmus (constant involuntary eyeball wobble in both eyes). Orla has poor depth perception and when she is tired or stressed her eyeballs wobble more. As Orla was going to new places, she would become frightened, which led to an increase in the eyeball wobble which made her more frightened. Orla lacked confidence and my husband and I became worried about how to help her overcome her fears.
We found we stopped going on days out as a family and invited friends to come to our house as it was easier for Orla.
At the end of the school summer holidays we discovered buddy dogs on the Guide Dogs website and we thought it may be a good idea, so contacted our local mobility team.
Then we got our buddy dog, Elanor. I knew it would help her a bit, but Elanor has completely changed my little girl. We have done more in the few months we have had her than we did in the whole of last year. My frightened little girl has nearly vanished and I now have a bubbly, happy little girl who tells everyone about Elanor. I asked her one day if she was OK and she smiled at me and said 'of course' as she has her 'bestest friend in the whole wide world' next to her. Elanor walks Orla to the classroom door in the morning and at the end of the day Orla runs straight out of the classroom door to give Elanor a hug. Our whole family is so much happier now we have Elanor.
We campaigned to end the problem of pavement parking
180 MPs attended a Parliamentary Reception – to encourage MPs to introduce a Pavement Parking Private Members Bill.
MPs from across the political parties supported the Pavement Parking Bill in December.
1,200We delivered 1,200 pavement parking themed birthday cards to the Minister for Parking.
The Government is now commissioning research into whether legislation on pavement parking could be introduced.
We campaigned for buses to be Talking Buses
Only 19% of buses currently have next stop information.
29,531 people signed our petition to make audio-visual announcements compulsory on new buses.
"I have missed my stop because the driver drove past it without saying anything to let me know."
We campaigned for quiet vehicles to be heard
40% Quiet vehicles are 40% more likely to be involved in an accident than conventional vehicles.
6,416We delivered 6,416 petition signatures to the Department of Transport calling for the Government to make it compulsory for quiet vehicles to have a sound generator built in and turned on.
How we raised our money in 2015
The money we raised came from a number of different income streams
|Sponsor a Puppy||£32.3m||£27.0m||↑|
|Community Fundraising and events||£7.5m||£7.0m||↑|
|High value partnerships||£6.3m||£2.5m||↑|
|Raffles and lotteries||£5.2m||£4.4m||↑|
*excludes investment income, income from local government grants and other non-fundraised income.
We managed 4,454 street collections.
people took part in a sporting event.
schools supported us.
We achieved 600 Name a Puppy sponsorships.
107 Charity of the Year partnerships supported us.
new supporter groups were created.
How we spent our money in 2015
This Impact Report does not constitute the statutory financial statements of the Association as defined in s435 of the Companies Act 2006 for the years ended 31 December 2015 and 31 December 2014. The statutory financial statements for the year ended 31 December 2015 have not yet been audited or filed with the Registrar of Companies or the Charity Commission; they will be available in due course on the Association’s website. The statutory financial statements for the year ended 31 December 2014 have been delivered to the Registrar of Companies and the Charity Commission. The report of the auditor on those accounts was unqualified, did not contain an emphasis of matter paragraph and did not contain any statement under s495(2) nor (3) of the Companies Act 2006.