My 2 days with the Guide Dogs Campaigns Team

I was fortunate enough to spend two days shadowing the lovely Guide Dog’s campaigns team in order to learn how they engage with politicians and other key stakeholders. I was made to feel very welcome by the team and, as a public affairs officer at a criminal justice charity, it has been interesting for me to see how Guide Dog’s campaigns compare with those of the organisation I work for.

Whilst sitting in the campaigns team meeting, I learned about the numerous campaigns that Guide Dogs have instigated such as the Talking Buses campaign  to promote audio visual announcements on buses and the Streets Ahead campaign to legislate against problem pavement parking.What struck me the most was the extent to which their campaigns are instigated and influenced by the particular experiences and obstacles that blind or partially-sighted people and guide dog owners face whilst conducting every-day activities which other people may take for granted.

Furthermore, I was specifically interested to learn about the innovative ways the team engages and influences parliamentarians and politicians at a local, national and international level. One initiative I was particularly impressed by was the team naming a guide dog after Baroness Kramer, Transport Minister, on her birthday. Another strategy which caught my attention was inviting politicians to go on a guided walk whilst blindfolded.    

Photo

The most exciting part of the two days was being blind-folded, given a walking cane and led outside by a member of the campaigns team for a guided-walk around Euston Station. This experience gave me a real insight into how it must feel to navigate your way around a busy urban environment being dependent on the cane and a guider. I felt vulnerable as well as an increased awareness of the pavement and the places where it was uneven or the surface changed.     

You can find out more about the campaigning work of Guide Dogs and how you can help on our Campaigns page

Comments

mary, 6:59am Tue 12 Jan 2016:


glad to read this, great works..!!

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Photo of Ursula Tebbet Duffin who is the author of the blog

By Ursula Tebbet-Duffin, Public Affairs Officer at the Howard League for Penal Reform