In October we were delighted to have over 300 supporters, UK-wide visit their local high street to educate shops, cafes, restaurants, taxi companies and other businesses about the access rights of assistance dog owners in support of our Access All Areas campaign.
Joel Young, Campaigns Officer says: “This is the second time we have asked people to be High Street Heroes and we were amazed at the response and effort given. It’s been great to hear the positive response our supporters received, especially the stories about the businesses where they have changed perceptions and increased awareness.” Below is some of the feedback and images shared by our supporters who took part: “A very good day today in Exeter. I went out with a guide dog owner. We visited many shops, cafes and estate agents. Responses were good apart from one who thought that ALL dogs were barred from their shop! After a chat they realised this was wrong and will talk to the owner about putting up the sticker.” Dave – Exeter. “I asked a friend who has a canine partner if they’ve ever been refused and they named three places. I visited and left information and they said they’d read it.” Sharon – Colchester. “I visited my local High Street yesterday and what a response! All 10 shops I visited took the leaflets and said they’ll share them with staff and put on notice boards. They were also shocked guide and assistance dog owners have been refused and, found the information on different assistance dogs and how to assist people with sight loss useful.” Margaret – Dunfermline. “I visited with, my guide dog Thor, as many shops and restaurants as I could in Harwich until I ran out of leaflets. To dispel some myths about food hygiene, religious objections and allergies was interesting. The leaflets also gave me prompts on what to talk to people about… All in all, a great day - Thanks.” Fiona and guide dog Thor – Harwich. “What fun we had visiting retail premises on Aberdeen Beach yesterday! There were four of us in total. The weather was beautiful, and retailers were very friendly and accepting of our message and stickers. Our next outing is to Holburn Street in the city centre. Thank you for the opportunity to help make things better for all assistance dog owners.” Mary and guide dog Vince - Aberdeen If you’d like to support our campaigns sign up to receive our updates and, follow us on Facebook and Twitter for news on our progress and how you can get involved.
Guide Dogs has worked with RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People) to empower guide dog owners to tackle the rising reports of cafes, hotels and taxis refusing entry to their guide dogs.
New figures show that three-quarters of guide dog owners (76%) have been illegally turned away by businesses and services, such as taxis, restaurants, shops, cafes, hotels and pubs.
A guide dog owner experiences access refusals at two Leicester Square restaurants in London when her and her husband went to eat with their family and guide dogs.