The charity Guide Dogs UK has been working at Angel tube station this week, appealing to members of the public to sponsor a dog in a bid to raise funds.
There are 350,000 registered blind people in the UK, but only 5,000 of them have guide dogs. As the UK’s largest and oldest guide dog association, Guide Dogs UK is trying to change that last statistic. But it costs £33,000 to train up each canine.
Fundraiser Samuel Jones said: “This is a different charity to any other. It’s the only charity in the UK that provides guide dogs for the blind.”
“We train them and pair them up with people. There is a massive waiting list for guide dogs, we can’t give one to all those who need one. We need people to come and sponsor a guide dog and the training.”
Guide Dogs UK helps people to regain their independence: “They are able to get out the house, without having to worry about hurting themselves or getting lost.”
According to Jones, guide dogs are more than just a practical help: “There’s also that emotional support, as being blind is really draining on mental health. You can suffer quite a lot of loneliness. If you’ve got a guide dog by your side, who is always going to love you, be there for you and be that companion, it is really important.”
To donate online, visit www.guidedogs.org.uk/supportus.