Coaching company provides support for charity guide dog training in Nottingham

Vallances Coaches who support the Chiens Guides association

Submitted by Eleanor Stephens

Guide dogs learning in Nottingham continue their training with a local coach company.

When the last lockdown restrictions were announced, the Guide Dogs charity stopped using public transportation to train guide dogs, to keep staff 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 Nottingham Guide Dog Team have appealed to local bus and coach companies and Vallances Coaches have offered to use their out-of-service coaches at their Kirkby-in-Ashfield depot.

Trainers can now use empty buses, one person at a time, and with strict hygiene measures in place.

Graham Kensett, Head of Canine Assistance Services at Guide Dogs for the Midlands, said: “We are extremely grateful to Vallances Coaches for allowing us to use their off-duty trainers to train our future guide dogs.

“Learning to travel by bus or coach with calm and confidence is an important part of training any guide dog, helping them prepare for their future life-changing role as a guide.

“Having access to these empty coaches provided by Vallances Coaches means that our trainers and our dogs can work in a safe environment and that we can continue to provide our essential services to the visually impaired. “

Steve Vallance, Director of Vallances Coaches, said: “It is a real privilege to assist this incredible team in the work they do.

“Due to the impact of COVID-19, some of our trainers are out of order, so this represents a unique opportunity for guide dog training to take place in a controlled environment.”

As per the latest government advice, the guide dog office at 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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