I teamed up with Laura Drew from Chestfield and her guide dog, Jimmy, to support the Guide Dogs Access all Areas campaign and raise awareness of the access rights of all assistance dog owners in Canterbury high street.
From 14-21 October, Guide Dogs Campaigns, are asking people to be a High Street Hero and to visit, shops, cafes, and other public places on their local high street to give out stickers and leaflets explaining how shops can better support people that are blind or partially sighted. More than 300 supporters across the country have become "High Street Heroes" for the day.
In Canterbury, we visited multiple shops and it was clear that there is a lot of awareness on the high street about the needs of the partially sighted. They received a great welcome from shop assistants and managers with GAME, on Canterbury high street were the first to put up the Guide Dogs sticker in their window.
All the big chains, however, needed to seek authority from their head offices to put a sticker up and, consequently, I am now planning a return trip with Laura to see how many stickers have made it past the head office vetting system!
I am supporting Laura to be a High Street Hero because my grandmother was nearly completely blind so I understand how difficult it must be for people with sight or hearing loss not knowing if they are welcome in a particular shop or not. There are so many beautiful shops along Canterbury high street and I would like them to be accessible to all.
Having a cheery Guide Dogs sticker in the window might make all the difference to someone's day.
People who need guide dogs and assistance dogs face daily challenges doing the simplest of things, which many of us take for granted. It is so important that as we go about our daily lives we offer what support we can to make life that bit easier for others. In fact, it is for this reason that after I ran the London Marathon I went on and qualified as an England Athletics guide runner for the blind so that I can help those with sight problems to also enjoy running for pleasure.