Tag Archives: Guide Dogs

Urgent letter sent to all the main supermarkets!

Urgent Letter sent to all the Main Supermarkets!

Urgent letter sent to all the Main Supermarkets!

As the challenges of food shopping have increased amid the uncertainty around Covid-19, several UK supermarket chains have prioritised opening at certain times of the day for vulnerable and elderly people.

RNIB, jointly with other sight loss sector charities Guide DogsThomas Pocklington Trust and Visionary, has written to supermarket chief executives to ask them how they are helping blind and partially sighted people. While we wait for their responses we have put together information we’ve found online about what they are doing to help disabled customers.

Letter Below

Dear Sir/Madam,   May I firstly take the opportunity to thank you sincerely for taking time out to read this letter at what I know is a period of unprecedented demand and strain on your sector, company and staff.   Like you, we are also coming to terms with what the coronavirus crisis means. In the forefront of our minds is how it will impact on blind and partially sighted people and how our charities can best act to continue to support their needs.

As you may be aware, our organisations work alongside and support blind and partially sighted people across the UK. Our key consideration at this time is how to ensure that they are able to continue to live independently and follow government advice such as “self-isolating”, something which poses a particular problem to our community.

A key element of everyday living is the ability to shop for groceries, medicines and other essentials for daily life. Blind and partially sighted people have historically taken advantage of online shopping and delivery services.

We have worked with many providers to ensure that apps and websites are accessible to allow people to independently fill their basket, check out and have it delivered to their door.   We want to acknowledge the excellent measures that some in the sector have put in place such as early shopping hours for vulnerable and disabled customers and please be reassured that such measures are hugely beneficial and welcome.

In relation to online shopping and home delivery however, we are receiving large numbers of distressed calls from blind and partially sighted people who are unable to obtain their usual delivery slot and in most cases are unable to get a suitable slot for over three weeks.

We are sure you can understand the anxiety this can cause for people who are often already struggling with their wellbeing, not to mention the worry of going without vital foods, medicines and other essentials.

We do understand that there are numerous calls on your sector at present to support society in a whole variety of ways, but I would respectfully ask you to consider putting in place a telephone or online scheme whereby blind and partially sighted people are able to pre-book online shopping and home delivery slots in order to guarantee their food supply and therefore provide them with the ability to live independently and minimise anxiety.

We plan to communicate with our members and service users to let them know what assistance supermarkets are putting in place next week. With this in mind, we would ask that you respond to this letter by Wednesday 25th March. We appreciate this is a short time frame, but one that we hope you will be able to accommodate given the severity of the circumstances.

We would be more than happy to work with you to formulate an appropriate scheme should our input prove helpful.

Signed by Thomas Pocklington Trust, Visionary, RNIB and Guide Dogs CEOs


Below you can find key information and links to the announcements from some of the key supermarket chains:

Last updated March 25 2020


Asda has placed limits on the amount of certain products individual shoppers can buy.

Updates on Asda’s reaction to the Coronavirus.


All of its stores have a dedicated shopping hour for those at higher risk and the people who care for them.  You will need to contact your local store as these dedicated hours may vary


Morrisons is expanding its home delivery service and introducing new ways of delivering groceries and more slots for customers, which will also help vulnerable people and those affected by the virus. Morrisons is making more delivery slots available to customers both through Morrisons.com and the Morrisons Store on Amazon Prime Now.

Morrisons food boxes

Our new Food Boxes are designed to provide you with everyday essentials, without needing to leave your home. Our boxes contain £30 worth of groceries and we offer convenient delivery directly to your door for £5.



Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, all of the chain’s supermarkets will dedicate the hour of 8 am – 9 am to serving elderly, disabled and vulnerable customers, as well as NHS and Social Care workers.


Tesco says it is prioritising the elderly and most vulnerable between 9 – 10 am on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, except for its Express outlets.


First hour of store opening to be dedicated to the elderly and vulnerable and it is exploring ways to offer its services remotely.


You can check for the latest information and find contact details for  all the major UK supermarkets on their websites.


Aldi: https://www.aldi.co.uk/

Asda: https://www.asda.com/

Best-One: https://www.best-one.co.uk/

Budgens: https://www.budgens.co.uk/

Co-Op: https://www.coop.co.uk/

Costco: https://www.costco.co.uk/

Costcutter: https://www.costcutter.co.uk/

Farmfoods: https://www.farmfoods.co.uk/

Iceland: https://www.iceland.co.uk/

Lidl: https://www.lidl.co.uk/

Londis: https://www.londis.co.uk/

Makro: https://www.makro.co.uk/

Marks and Spencer: https://www.marksandspencer.com/

Morrisons: https://groceries.morrisons.com/webshop/startWebshop.do

Nisa: https://www.nisalocally.co.uk/

Ocado: https://www.ocado.com/

Premier: https://www.premier-stores.co.uk/

Sainsbury’s: https://www.sainsburys.co.uk/

Sainsburys has a vulnerable persons careline – 0800 052 5500. It is attempting to prioritise vulnerable customers for home delivery.

Call wait times may be substantial.

Spar: https://www.spar.co.uk/

Tesco: https://www.tesco.com/

Waitrose: https://www.waitrose.com/


RNIB Helpline: Call on 0303 123 9999
We’re open 8 am-8 pm weekdays and 9 am -1 pm on Saturdays.

The RNIB Helpline team can give you advice and point you to the services that can help you face the future with confidence.


Journey-making focus group!

RNIB, Guide Dogs and London Vision Journey-Making focus group

RNIB, Guide Dogs and London Vision: Journey-Making focus group!

RNIB, London Vision and Guide Dogs Campaigns are holding a focus group on journey-making and getting around. The purpose of the travel focus group is for us to discuss some of the barriers which blind and partially sighted people encounter when travelling around. The personal experiences we discuss will be used to help us to explain the issues to policy- and decision-makers, so they better understand the importance of making streets and transport more accessible.

Event Details

The focus group will be taking place on 29 November from 10 am to 1 pm at RNIB 105 Judd Street, WC1H 9NE. Please email Karishma.shah@rnib.org.uk to RSVP.

Is this travel focus group something you would like to take part in?

We want to hear from you if:

  • You are blind or partially sighted,
  • You are able to travel independently, but feel frustrated by the barriers that prevent you from making all the journeys you want to without assistance,
  • You are affected by some of the topic areas covered below,
  • You are happy to share your personal experiences of journey-making with us and more widely to help us to campaign for change.

At the focus group, some of the key topic areas we aim to cover include:

  1. Kerbs (Detectable Footways, Cycleways and Roads);
  2. Shared Use Areas and Pathways;
  3. Shared Space;
  4. Cycling and Cycleways;
  5. Hybrid and Electric Vehicles and EV Charging Points;
  6. Access to Bus Stops (Bus Stop Bypasses and Bus Stop Borders);
  7. Dockless Bikes and pavement obstructions
  8. E-bikes,
  9. Micro-mobility (e-scooters, e-skateboards, hoverboards, Segways, go-peds),
  10. Underground access.
  11. Access to taxis



Guide Dogs: By My Side Strategy

By My Side - Guide Dogs current strategy

Guide Dogs: By My Side Strategy

original article by guidedogs.org.uk

Our ambition is a future where every person with sight loss has the confidence and support they need to live their lives to the full. Our Future Direction and Strategy Overview explains how we aim to reach and support many more individuals over the next five years, from 200,000 people today, to 500,000 by 2023.

The problems we are here to solve

Despite the devastation caused by sight loss, 70% of adults receive no support within the first 12 months of diagnosis, and are likely to encounter poor education, high unemployment, depression, loneliness and financial insecurity throughout their lifetime.

The rise in the UK’s elderly population continues to impact social care. With shortages in funding, local authorities have prioritised the services they provide, leaving the third sector under great pressure to plug gaps.

Childhood sight loss is on the increase. There are around 35,000 children and young people living with a vision impairment in the UK. Some 80% of a child’s learning takes place using vision, and every day they go without support can affect their development.

Yet we know that the public does not find our charitable cause as engaging as other causes; people fail to relate to the issue and consequently we need to work much harder to build emotional connections with the public.

The majority of individuals with sight loss are likely to encounter high unemployment, depression, loneliness and financial insecurity throughout their lifetime.

More services for our customers

We will be led by the needs of our customers and will deliver services and support tailored to their specific needs.

By introducing new services, embracing new technologies, digitising some of the ways we provide services and collaborating with other charities and organisations, we will be able to support thousands more people living with sight loss than we do today.

  1. Canine services
  2. In-person services
  3. Online and telephone service
  4. Influencing and campaigning

Our wonderful dogs will remain at the heart of our organisation, and we will ensure we make the best use of each and every one of them by expanding the type of canine support we offer.

Our Ambition Strategy poster

 Our Ambition Strategy poster
Our Ambition Strategy poster

Download the accessible version of the ambition poster.

Our purpose Strategy poster

strategy poster our purpose
strategy poster our purpose

Download the accessible version of the purpose poster.


By My Side Report!

RNIB: The By My Side Report

By My Side Report from Guide Dogs

People who are blind and partially sighted are being shut out of society, but members of the public could help end this isolation if they understood more about everyday life with sight loss, according to research released by the charity Guide Dogs.

The new report, called ‘By My Side’, reveals that over two fifths (42%) of people with sight loss feel they are ‘left out’ of everyday moments that others might take for granted, such as socialising, dating, family life or work. This feeling of isolation is compounded as six in ten blind or VI (vision impaired) people believe that society has ‘little understanding’ of the challenges they face in their daily lives.

By My Side’ shares insights from the VI community – currently two million people in the UK* – asking about experiences of their local communities, family life, parenting, love and friendships.

Guide Dogs’ report also reveals:

  • Nearly six in ten (58%) of blind and partially sighted people feel socially isolated.
  • Over two-thirds (69%) suggest more people could be trained as sighted guides.
  • People with sight loss say travel is their biggest challenge in daily life.
  • Over a quarter (27%) of people with vision impairments say they feel left out from socialising with friends, leaving them feeling on the side lines of life. This finding is particularly acute among women.
  • Over a fifth (23%) say they feel left out of work or education.
  • Over a quarter of people with sight loss (27%) feel they have been left out of milestone moments such as births or marriages.

Guide Dogs says the time to initiate change is now – most of the public (57%) do want to understand more about life with sight loss, but one in five (23%) would not be comfortable offering help.

To create greater understanding, Guide Dogs is calling on people to sign up to My Guide, a guiding service that matches trained sighted volunteers to people with sight loss who need support getting out and about.

The Guide Dogs ‘By My Side’ report can be viewed in full here. People can find out more about how they can become a My Guide online at https://www.guidedogs.org.uk/services-we-provide/my-guide/

To improve public understanding of life with sight loss, Guide Dogs is launching a new podcast series, ‘I See What You’re Saying’ hosted by famous faces including Alex Jones, Adrian Chiles, Sophie Thompson and Jeff Brazier.

Each episode of this four-part series includes inspirational guests talking about how sight loss impacts their Family; Friendships; Love life and Parenting – sharing the ups, the downs and the funny moments in between.

Listen to Guide Dogs’ new series “I See What You’re Saying” on your favourite podcast app soon.

© Guide Dogs, March 2019

King Brace first proclamation!

King Brace's first proclamation

To all my subjects,

Well I have finally arrived and am putting Mike through his paces up in Euston. We have trained for two and a half days and he is gradually getting the hang of it!

I made sure I didn’t make it easy for him at the beginning and if I am honest I was a bit apprehensive too! So much so that I, as Frank Spencer would say: “I had a bit of a problem”.

I did not have a dump for 2 days and I think they were worried that they hadn’t provided any shovels in the dog kits to cope with this!  In the end, all was well and have made up for it since. Sorry to get the basics out of the way first but us guys often reduce things to the lowest baseline very early on in our relationships.

Whilst I am on “A Run” (no pun intended), I hadn’t had a wee either for 36 hours and got Mike up firstly at 3.30 a.m. but with no result and then again at 6.30 and then the flood gates opened!

So enough of the dirty talk what about the rest. Well, I gather I am to meet an old lady named Izzy on Saturday and am hoping she regards me as her surrogate son rather than her toy boy as I am already in love.

Please see the photo Below of me and my new love Ruby who I gather is the same colour as Izzy!

King Brace and Ruby
King Brace and Ruby

Ruby is another dog training with a new partner and she has taken a fancy to me (the dog that is not the partner). She comes over as fancying me rotten! Well, I suppose it is to be expected when you are as handsome as me!

I also appeared on Monday “April 1st” on the guidedogslondon.org.uk Facebook page as the pin-up boy for an advert showing how intelligent and clever we dogs are!

So, in all, a busy week without having to then pull this old geezer around behind me!

To be fair, Mike did his ankle in on Saturday skiing whatever that is! He has his ankle strapped and I thought I would put him through his paces literally, and for someone of his age he kept up pretty well!

Today we did obstacle recognition and I sense Mike was a little uncertain but I breezed it and just hope he learns in time and just follows my example!

When I was steaming along the Euston road I am sure I heard someone say:

“look at that …King dog”

I thought how do they know my name already did they see the guide dog advert?

Well had better close now as I fancy a play and Mike looks as though he is nodding off!

I am not sure if I should have called this a “pooh clamation” so please excuse my spelling.

I gather Izzy has her own Facebook page and if I cannot persuade her to let me share it I might need to set up my own one!

“We”  Will write more when time permits.  God bless all in my realm!

King Brace,  Aged 2(but very wise)

Written by chief scribe: Mike Brace