It pays to campaign and it certainly pays to stand out and be counted. Strong words, but in an age where there seems to be an increasing number of challenges to our built environment, it is important to know how to question and challenge things that affect our independence and the choice we can have to get out and about safely.

In the second in this series on campaigning, I’m highlighting the work of Guide dogs; specifically looking at their on-going campaign work. As an organisation, they hugely value and promote the independence of blind and partially sighted people through their guide dog and associated mobility services. Complementing these are their campaigns which tackle issues that affect independent travel and movement.

Three current areas of work include Streets ahead, Talking buses and Streets ahead campaigns. The first is looking to ensure pavements are kept clear of clutter, vehicles and poor street designs (such as shared surfaces), in order to make getting out and about less pressured and stressful. This has seen success so far in the introduction of a pavement parking bill to parliament, but pressure needs to be maintained to ensure further success.

The second campaign looks at talking buses and promotes the introduction of Audio/Visual route information to each bus within the UK. Buses within London have already got this technology and other areas are starting to introduce this, but the pressure needs to be maintained in order to give many current and potential passengers the increased confidence to travel without the fear of missing their stops.

The third campaign ‘Safe and Sound’, concentrates on the danger of electronic vehicles and the lack of sound that they have. Pressure needs to be placed on manufacturers, Government and the European Union to ensure that noise generators are fitted and used within these vehicles as soon as possible. This in turn will make crossing roads and travelling through our town and city centres much easier to achieve.

Whether through the website or through local guide dog groups and mobility teams, there are chances to get involved. Having the confidence to travel (whether on your own or with a guide) is very important to an enhanced quality of life. Guide dogs encompass this completely and they campaign tirelessly towards achieving a more inclusive environment and society.

For more information on these campaigns and to know how to get involved, please visit their website at: