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Guide Dogs announces the winner of the charity’s amazing design competition!

30 Jun 2016

  • Jack Norris, aged 11, will get to see his ideas come to life after creating winning Discovery Den design

  •  TV presenter and broadcaster Nick Knowles was among the competition’s judges

  •  Competition celebrates partnership with The Scout Association for their campaign, A Million Hands

Guide Dogs is delighted to announce that the winner of the charity’s Discovery Den competition is… Jack Norris, from 1st Shrewsbury Scout Group!

The competition challenged Scouts of all ages to create a brand new Discovery Den for the charity, to help other children and young people understand what it’s like to live with sight loss. Over the next few months Jack, who has strong family ties to Guide Dogs, will work with the charity’s designers to see his ideas turned into reality.

Once Jack’s design has been brought to life, schools and youth groups far and wide will be able to book the new-look exhibition van for a visit. The van will teach children and young people about what Guide Dogs does, showing them how the charity makes sure that when someone loses their sight, they don’t lose their freedom as well.

The competition celebrates Guide Dogs teaming up with The Scout Association as part of the A Million Hands initiative. By entering this competition, Jack took action on one of the biggest issues the UK faces today – disability. Launched in October 2015, A Million Hands is designed to get the UK’s half a million Scouts doing more to tackle four social issues – disability, mental health, dementia and access to clean water and sanitation.

As another part of his prize, Jack will also enjoy a VIP trip with his Group to Guide Dogs’ Training School in Leamington, where they will meet adorable guide dogs in training. The guide dog service does not receive any government funding, and the charity relies on donations from individuals to continue its life-changing work with some of the two million people in the UK who have sight loss.

Winning the competition is particularly special for Jack, who goes to Greenfields Primary School in Shrewsbury, because his grandma has glaucoma and is hoping to hear soon about being matched with her second guide dog. Jack said: “I was so excited when I found out I’d won because I like being creative and designing things. My design just popped into my head. I thought ‘what would Grandma like to have in there?’. I’m really looking forward to seeing my design in real life, and meeting some guide dogs in training!” Jack lives with his mum Penny, who’s one of the leaders of Jack’s Scout Group. Penny is also a member of Guide Dogs’ Shrewsbury volunteer fundraising group, after getting involved because her mother, Linda, has had a guide dog.

TV presenter, broadcaster and competition judge, Nick Knowles, said: "I was so impressed by the entries to Guide Dogs’ Discovery Den competition. It was incredibly difficult to pick a winner, but I thought Jack showed a huge amount of imagination and creativity. He’s created an experience that would appeal to all ages and everyone will leave the bus with a much better understanding of the challenges faced by people with sight loss. Well done!”

Eva Penhallurick, The Scout Association’s Community Impact Group Representative, British Youth Council Representative, and fellow competition judge, said: “All the entries were fantastic! I had real difficulty choosing, and the other shortlisted entries had very commendable elements. They should all be very proud of themselves!”


Jack Norris With Guide Dog Toy