The day Guide Dogs took over Parliament!

"I have been matched with my first Guide dog Kerry since April 2012. Within the last three years Kerry has made a massive difference to my life. I was quite independent before having Kerry. I would travel around using a long cane but I would become very tired and stressed easily.

On the tenth of June I was invited to attend the pavement parking reception in parliament. Which was hosted by Lord Holmes. Along with fellow Guide Dog owners and staff. I travelled down from Liverpool that morning with our Engagement officer Penny Williams and fellow Guide dog owner Becky Clarke. Last September I had the opportunity to go on to five live to discuss the problems about pavement parking and Becky appeared on BBC breakfast talking about similar problems in her home area.

I was given the opportunity to deliver a speech. Focusing on the problems which are caused by pavement   parking. Not just for people living with sight loss but for everyone who uses pavements. Within my speech I spoke about my own personal experiences of having to walk into the road with my Guide dog Kerry and no matter how many times I may have to do this it is still equally as scary and daunting. As I feel so strongly about this, I wrote a poem with my Dad who is a long cane user.

Pavement parking

There is a vehicle parked there!Reception
The person who left it shows they don't care
Now I have to step into the road
Maybe in front of a heavy load
With bated breath Will it be life?
Or will it be death
My guide, my dog my friend
Cannot see around the bend
Take time to find a suitable space
Life isn't a game
Or a race
So when you park
Pause for thought
For those of us who live in the dark
Be a life changer
Support us to put pavement parking to an end
You will be helping many of your dear friends

By sharing my poem to the MPs at the reception I hoped it would make the problem real to them and that they would take it further to have a Bill passed to make it illegal to park on pavements across the UK and not just within central London.

Meeting with the MPsMeeting with the MPs and being able to talk to them about living with sight loss and the issues which are caused in everyday life by people parking on the pavements I felt it made a real difference. As they were able to meet Guide dog owners and our fantastic dogs, puppy walkers who are taking the pups out and about getting them ready to become a Guide Dog, and them having the chance to speak to staff who work tirelessly to enable people like myself to live an independent life.

I was really pleased to hear that over 180 MPs attended the reception and over three of them are going to take it forward. I feel this is a great result for Guide dogs."

The great news is a few weeks after the reception Simon Hoare MP introduced a Pavement Parking Private Members Bill! If you'd like to support the Pavement Parking campaign you can take our latest online action.


Francis, 5:09pm Fri 31 Jul 2015:

If you happen to walk into a vehicle that s parked in this manner it could easily be marked by your pram, buggy, if it did get narked then in my humble opinion it is the drivers fault. Why should you rake your child into the road?? Or a white cane! If it did get scratched it is not your fault as you are unable to see it and take evasive action to miss obstruction on pavement.

Wendy, 7:57pm Thu 30 Jul 2015:

I find that pavement parking is daunting and a huge risk to safety when you have to navigate around the vehicle and I am fully sighted

yvonne, 6:03pm Thu 30 Jul 2015:

Its bad enough trying to dodge cars and wheelie bins with a pram along the pavement when you have must be very challenging without sight.

julie, 5:05pm Thu 30 Jul 2015:

Pavement parking should not be allowed. My road is absolutely full on one side with cars parked on the pavement. I myself have many times had to walk into the road, and I am sighted. Vans are also parked this way, they should be on the local lorry park.

WATSON, 1:25pm Tue 28 Jul 2015:

Let us hope that this time there is no objection to a long-overdue crackdown on dangerous bad parking habits. We are supposed to give people with disabilities equal rights with abler people - and even these suffer through being forced into the road!

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Dawn Gerrard Speech

This week's blog was written by local campaigner Dawn.