Vallances Coaches who are supporting the charity Guide Dogs
Submitted by Eleanor Stephens
Trainee guide dogs in Nottingham are continuing their training thanks to a local coach company.
When the latest lockdown restrictions were announced the charity Guide Dogs stopped using public transport to train guide dogs, to help keep staff and the public safe.
As all trainee guide dogs need to get used to bus travel, this meant that some dogs have been unable to progress with their training.
The Guide Dogs’ team in Nottingham put out an appeal to local bus and coach companies and Vallances Coaches offered the use of their out of service coaches at their Kirkby-in-Ashfield depot.
Trainers are now able to use the empty buses, one person at a time, and with strict hygiene measures in place.
Graham Kensett, Head of Canine Assisted Services at Guide Dogs for the Midlands, said: “We’re extremely grateful to Vallances Coaches for allowing us to use their out of service coaches to train our future guide dogs.
“Learning to travel on a bus or coach calmly and confidently is an important part of any guide dogs’ training, helping to prepare them for their future role as a life-changing guide.
“Having access to these empty coaches provided by Vallances Coaches means our trainers and dogs can work in a safe environment and that we can continue to provide our essential services to people with sight loss.”
Steve Vallance, Director of Vallances Coaches, said: “It is a real privilege to assist this amazing team with the work they carry out.
“Due to the impact of COVID-19 some of our coaches are out of use, so it presents a unique opportunity for guide dog training to take place in a controlled environment.”
In line with the latest Government advice, the Guide Dogs office in Phoenix Place, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire remains closed to the public, with only essential staff who cannot work from home using the site.
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