Charities collaborate to empower guide dog owners to tackle access refusals
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.
The sight loss charities have released a new toolkit to provide support and advice to guide dog owners and anyone with sight loss across the UK, informing them of their legal rights and including practical information and guides to challenge access refusals.
The new jointly-produced pack contains details of a guide dog owner’s rights under the Equality Act 2010 (England, Scotland and Wales) or the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (Northern Ireland), a step-by-step guide to making a complaint, an example complaint letter, plus an advocacy letter from Guide Dogs and RNIB with a summary of the law and information about the service provider's obligations.
John Welsman is Guide Dogs’ Policy Business Partner for Travel and Mobility and, as a guide dog owner, has experienced access refusals himself. He said: “When somewhere like a shop or restaurant won’t accommodate someone with a guide dog, that’s not only potentially illegal but it can also be a huge blow to that person’s confidence, feelings of acceptance in society and willingness to go out with their guide dog independently.
"We work hard at Guide Dogs to give people independence and confidence by partnering them with a guide dog. If an individual is then stopped from accessing services with their dog, this is then limiting them from using their highly trained dog when it matters most.
David Clarke, Director of Services at RNIB, said: “Our legal rights team works tirelessly alongside many members of the blind and partially sighted community to challenge discrimination – including illegal guide dog refusals to public places, which I have experienced myself. With the number of access refusals for guide dog owners increasing, it is vital that people are aware of the law and have the tools they need to tackle illegal practice themselves.
“By working with Guide Dogs, we hope that the expertise of our legal rights team will inform and empower even more guide dog owners to know their rights, recognise unfair practice and challenge discrimination should they encounter it.
“With many of these incidents being down to a lack of understanding or poor staff training, we hope that this new toolkit will help lead a step-change in how people treat guide dog owners and help prevent illegal and upsetting access refusals.”
Guide dog owners can get the toolkit from their local Guide Dogs team, or from RNIB on 0303 123 9999.
- Guide Dogs warns of Christmas gift that could place you on the naughty list
- Guide Dogs and Aunt Bessie's forge new partnership to help raise awareness of sight loss
- Public back Guide Dogs' call for new law on pavement parking
- Happiness of children with a vision impairment has 'significantly decreased' over past decade
- Guide Dogs moves up to fourth place in the YouGov CharityIndex for Brand Health
- Guide Dogs launch a guide for Higher Education providers to support students with vision impairment
- Marks and Spencer is the latest national corporate partner for Guide Dogs
- Guide Dogs calls on Government to end inaction over pavement parking
- Guide Dogs and Citi in brand new partnership
- Libby Clegg takes to the ice
- Guide dog owner appears on Ready Steady Cook
- Guide dog owner set to be Radio 1's first blind presenter
- We call for public to help those with sight loss trying to social distance
- High Street Heroes 2019
- Strictly-lover Neve meets her hero, Craig Revel Horwood
- A quarter of pet dog owners say fireworks are their dogs biggest fear
- Sight loss charities join forces to launch online advice hub
- Shut out due to sight loss: Three in four guide dog owners illegally refused service
- By My Side - March 2019
- BBC shares guide dog owner's discrimination battle
- Charities collaborate to empower guide dog owners to tackle access refusals