Bus company provides support to charity training guide dogs in Sheffield
First Sheffield bus company staff and guide dog trainers
Submitted by Eleanor Stephens
Guide dogs trainees in Sheffield, South Yorkshire continue their training during the pandemic thanks to a local bus company.
When the last lockdown restrictions were announced, the Guide Dogs charity stopped using public transportation to train future guide dogs, to keep staff, volunteers and the public safe.
As all guide dogs in training need to get used to bus travel, this means that some dogs have not been able to progress in their training.
The Sheffield Guide Dog Team appealed to the local bus and coach companies for help and First Sheffield offered to use a bus for this training activity to take place.
Trainers and future guide dogs are allowed to train on a bus that is currently “not required for service” due to reduced frequencies on some bus routes.
To ensure that everyone involved remains as safe as possible during training, social distancing and strict hygiene measures are observed at all times.
Janet Champion, Head of Canine Assistance Services at Guide Dogs, said: “We are extremely grateful to First Sheffield for allowing us to use their out-of-service buses to train our future guide dogs.
“Learning to travel in a bus calmly and confidently is an important part of the development of a trainee guide dog, helping to prepare the dog for its future role as a life-changing guide.
“Having access to an empty bus, provided by First Sheffield, means our staff and dogs can work in a safe environment and we can continue to provide our essential services to the visually impaired. “
Nigel Eggleton, Managing Director of First South Yorkshire, said: “It is encouraging to see our town return to some normalcy with businesses and support organizations starting to open their doors and welcome customers back.
“However, some organizations are still struggling to perform functions as part of their training programs, which is why it is important for us to help provide this vital support.
“Guide dogs provide a valuable service and a key part of this process is the training of their puppies. We have provided a dedicated bus in a safe environment for the activity to take place where trainers can undertake the various processes and procedures a puppy needs. continue his journey to become a working guide dog. ”
In line with the latest government advice, guide dog offices across the UK remain closed to the public, with only essential staff, who cannot work from home, using their sites.