Our Manchester Commercial office recently had the pleasure of hosting an afternoon tea for local Guide dogs.
Meeting the community and their Guide dogs
During the visit, the Commercial team met with Annie and her Guide dog Mr Quinn, as well as Jan and her puppy-in-training, Duggie.
Annie explained how much her Guide dog has helped her to regain her confidence, after sadly losing her sight following a battle with cancer: " I would like to thank all the staff Mr Quinn and I met at Nationwide. It was a privilege to attend your offices and speak; everyone was so warm and welcoming, and the enthusiasm in the room was out of this world. I'm so grateful to have been invited to meet such wonderful people, and eternally grateful for all the money raised on the day. I want to say a massive thank you for taking the time to highlight the role of Guide dogs. It's days like this that make my role as a speaker worthwhile."
Both Annie and Mr Quinn are now extras in Coronation Street, with Mr Quinn named the official Coronation Street Guide dog.
“ The Manchester office are always doing something to raise money for charity, and I wanted to do something a bit different to get everyone involved. My in-laws are puppy walkers and after seeing their experiences training a Guide dog puppy, I wanted to share this with the office. The visit couldn’t have gone better thanks to the brilliant talks Annie and Jan gave, although Mr Quinn and Duggie definitely stole the show! ”
Jan and her 6 month old puppy-in-training Duggie also came along and told us about the trials and tribulations of training a Guide dog puppy from the age of 7 weeks to 13 months, with Jan sending us the following quote from Duggie: "It was really interesting; my Puppy Walker talked about the work she does with me over 12 months to get me ready to go to Big School (the training centre at Atherton). It's there that I work with a professional trainer in readiness to being with and leading a blind person. This process usually takes 7 to 8 months and in the last month or so, I'm paired with my blind owner and we work alongside a mobility trainer. At this stage my socialization consists of going on buses and trains, meeting people, going shopping, and playing with children. There's also lots of time to relax and rest and play with all my toys. I enjoy going out and doing presentations so that more people can learn about Guide Dogs and more importantly, Guide Dog puppies in training, like me."
“ It's a really fantastic charity that touches so many lives. We regularly have volunteers from the Guide dogs come in and visit our sites. It's a great opportunity to meet the people and their Guide dogs and understand a little about their lives, the struggles they face and how their guide dog and the charity help them overcome these. It's incredible to see how these animals can change people’s lives so much for the better; one of our volunteers spoke about how brilliant it is just to be able to go to the shops on his own, which may be a novel thing for most of us. ”
There were lots of laughter and tears as we heard their stories, along with plenty of ‘Afternoon Tea’ treats (sausage rolls shared with the dogs).
How to donate to help Guide dogs
It's part of the philosophy of the Guide Dog association that all blind people who want a dog should be able to afford one, with food and vet bills paid for where needed. Whilst planning the visit, Commerical Strategy Manager Eleanor discovered that colleagues in Northampton are currently trying to raise £5,000 to Name a Puppy:
"I've been working with the Guide dogs for a little over a year now, to help raise awareness of the great work they do" explains Mike, a Process Design Analyst based in Northampton. "We have a target of raising £5,000 to name a puppy, which is just a small drop in the ocean as it takes around £50,000 to train a Guide dog, but it's a start and something we can hopefully build on. We're still waiting on a few totals from recent events and match funding but once this is all cleared, we should have raised just over £1,500 towards our goal."
“ This charity has always meant a lot to me as I've always found the work they do very inspirational. They don’t just train and provide people with Guide dogs; they also provide a wide range of support to people with all forms of difficulties and help them lead more active lives. ”
You can read more about what it's like to work at Nationwide in our employee stories.