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Guide Dogs puts MPs in the bus driver’s seat

17 Oct 2014

Nick Clegg with us on our Party Conference Stand When one guidedog owner told Guide Dogs’ Campaigns Team that getting off buses that aren’t fitted with audio visual (AV) announcements was like a ‘game of chance’ this was the inspiration for their most recent Party Conference stand.

The team have recently returned from touring their ‘House of Cards’ memory game at the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat party conferences.

Over 170 MPs visited the stand during the conferences, the largest number Guide Dogs have ever had. Amongst the visitors were influential ministers including the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg (pictured), George Osborne, Theresa May, Transport Minister Baroness Kramer and Shadow Transport Secretary Mary Creagh.

The team challenged MPs, councillors and party members to complete a card game of ‘pairs’ matching bus users to their destinations. Playing against the clock, MPs found it difficult to remember all the journeys – you can listen to an audio description of the game at the following link: https://audioboom.com/boos/2502962-let-s-play-house-of-cards.

Visitors also spun the ‘bus wheel of misfortune’ at the game show-themed stand, playing a ‘game of chance’ on whether they received a give-away or not.

Guide Dogs’ recent Destination Unknown survey showed a shocking seven in 10 passengers with sight loss have been forgotten on a bus, demonstrating the serious side of the memory game and why Guide Dogs is campaigning for talking buses. Only 19 percent of the UK’s buses are talking, and most of those are in London, acting as a real barrier to independence where AV provides a simple solution.

Guide Dogs is now working on the comprehensive follow up, ensuring this unprecedented support for the campaign from Members of Parliament delivers lots more talking buses across the UK.

James White, Campaigns Manager at Guide Dogs, said “Guide dogs do a fantastic job getting people with sight loss out and about independently. But they aren’t able to tell their owners when to get off a bus. This is why we need the Government to make sure all new buses are accessible to guide dog owners, long cane users, and indeed lots of other members of the public who find audio visual announcements helpful, for example people who are travelling to unfamiliar places.

“Having a memorable and fun stand at party conferences is a great way to gain support for a campaign amongst influential politicians, and we had really positive response to our activity.”

You can sign up for Guide Dogs campaigns updates to hear about how our follow up work goes at the following link: www.guidedogs.org.uk/signup



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