Friday 12 July 2024
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Nottingham

Trainee guide dogs and trainers get free tram and bus travel across Nottingham

Trainee guide dogs and their trainers are enjoying free travel on public transport across Greater Nottingham, thanks to the Robin Hood Network.

The Robin Hood Operator’s Group has donated 16 free travel passes to sight loss charity Guide Dogs, whose local team is based in Phoenix Business Park, Nottingham.

Guide Dog Trainers from the team are using the passes across the city and surrounding areas, to help familiarise the dogs they are training with on different modes of public transport such as buses and trams.

Academy Guide Dog Mobility Specialist Pete Wood and trainee guide dog Opal on a Nottingham bus
Academy Guide Dog Mobility Specialist Pete Wood and trainee guide dog Opal on a Nottingham bus

Since Guide Dog Trainers were given their free Pay As You Go cards in 2022, over 600 journeys have been made in the city training future guide dogs.

Robin Hood Network has pledged to continue to support this scheme into the future.

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Tracey Getten, Canine Assisted Services Manager for Guide Dogs in Nottingham, said: “We’d like to say a big thank you to the Robin Hood Operator’s Group for continuing to provide free travel cards for our local Guide Dog Trainers in Nottingham.

Academy Guide Dog Mobility Specialist Faith Halliday and trainee guide dog Garla approaching Nottingham tram
Academy Guide Dog Mobility Specialist Faith Halliday and trainee guide dog Garla approaching a Nottingham tram

“It’s essential that our future guide dogs learn to travel on different modes of transport with ease, whether that’s trains, buses or trams.

“The hundreds of journeys that our dogs have made across the city for free, thanks to the Robin Hood Operator’s Group, will have helped to prepare them for when they are guiding someone with sight loss.”

Guide Dogs is almost entirely funded by public donations. It costs the organisation over £55,000 to support a guide dog from birth to retirement.

A spokesperson from Nottingham City Council, said: “We’re delighted to continue to support Guide Dogs through the Robin Hood Network.

“Public transport plays a major role in improving access across the city, and through the fantastic work that the charity does to train guide dogs, we can be sure that our services can be used by everyone.”

Among the operators allowing use of the travel cards are: CT4N, Kinchbus, NET Tram, Nottingham City Council’s Linkbuses, Nottingham City Transport and trentbarton.

A guide dog begins its training at around 12-14 months old and, in normal circumstances, most dogs qualify as working guide dogs by the age of two.

If a dog isn’t suitable to become a guide dog, they may be considered for another canine service offered by the charity such as the buddy dog service for children with a vision impairment.

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