It’s been a busy time for the Policy, Public Affairs and Campaigns team at Guide Dogs, as the team attended the Conservative, Labour, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), Plaid Cymru, and Scottish National Party (SNP) political party conferences over the last few weeks.
Party conferences are a key opportunity for Guide Dogs to engage with politicians, party members and policy makers about our campaigns. This year the focus was the Open the World campaign, with the team speaking to conference delegates about the impact of pavement parking and access refusals.
Across the conferences the team spoke to over 130 MPs, as well as many Peers, MSPs, MSs, Councillors and prospective parliamentary candidates. Among those to the visit the Guide Dogs stand included the Prime Minister, the Home Secretary, the Shadow Transport Secretary and the Shadow Minister for Disabled People.
Each year the Policy, Public Affairs and Campaigns team brings campaign messaging to life in an engaging way by inviting politicians to take part in a game, and this year was no different with delegates playing a pinball style game.
Party conference delegates had five chances to score as many points as they could but were deducted points for hitting any of the obstacles on the pinball board. The pinball obstacles represented the many issues facing people with a vision impairment, and included pavement parking, overgrown and overhanging bushes on pavements, bins left out across pavements and, e-scooters and dockless rental bikes and scooters.
We are so grateful to all our volunteers Siobhan, Elaine M, Colin, Becky, Mick, Scott, Jonathan, Neil, June, Elaine O, Stephen, and Tracey who attended the various conferences with their guide dogs to share their first-hand experiences with politicians.
During the conference season the Government petition calling for tougher legislation on pavement parking reached 10,000 signatures. You can still add your name to the petition.
The team will now be focusing on following up with the connections that were made during the political party conferences, asking politicians to help us further our campaigns.
Guide Dogs are calling on the Government to crack down on dangerous pavement parking.
Plans to close train ticket offices in England will leave visually impaired passengers 'isolated and left behind’ according to a new Guide Dogs survey.
Guide Dogs hosted an event in Parliament where MPs heard about the discrimination guide dog owners face when they are turned away from a business or service because they are with their guide dog.