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Trainee guide dogs and their trainers enjoy free travel across Nottingham thanks to Robin Hood Network

Trainee guide dogs and their trainers are enjoying free travel on public transport across Greater Nottingham thanks to the Robin Hood Network.

The Robin Hood Operator’s Group has donated 16 free travel passes to sight loss charity Guide Dogs, whose local team is based in Phoenix Business Park, Nottingham.

Guide Dog Trainers from the team are using the passes across the city and surrounding areas, to help familiarise the dogs they are training with on different modes of public transport such as buses and trams.

Since Guide Dog Trainers were given their free Pay As You Go cards in 2022, over 600 journeys have been made in the city training future guide dogs.

Robin Hood Network have pledged to continue to support this scheme into the future.

Tracey Getten, Canine Assisted Services Manager for Guide Dogs in Nottingham, said: “We’d like to say a big thank you to the Robin Hood Operator’s Group for continuing to provide free travel cards for our local Guide Dog Trainers in Nottingham.”

“It’s essential that our future guide dogs learn to travel on different modes of transport with ease, whether that’s trains, buses or trams.”

“The hundreds of journeys that our dogs have made across the city for free, thanks to the Robin Hood Operator’s Group, will have helped to prepare them for when they are guiding someone with sight loss.”

A guide dog trainer standing on the tram platform, scanning her Robin Hood Pay-As-You-Go card. The trainee guide dog watches.

Guide Dogs is almost entirely funded by public donations. It costs the organisation over £55,000 to support a guide dog from birth to retirement.

A spokesperson from Nottingham City Council said: “We’re delighted to continue to support Guide Dogs through the Robin Hood Network.

Public transport plays a major role in improving access across the city, and through the fantastic work that the charity does to train guide dogs, we can be sure that our services can be used by everyone.”

Among the operators allowing use of the Pay As You Go travel cards are: CT4N, Kinchbus, NET Tram, Nottingham City Council’s Linkbuses (Locallink and Medilink), Nottingham City Transport and trentbarton.

A guide dog begins its training at around 12-14 months old and, in normal circumstances, most dogs qualify as working guide dogs by the age of two.

If a dog isn’t suitable to become a guide dog, they may be considered for another canine service offered by the charity such as the buddy dog service for children with a vision impairment.

A guide dog trainer sitting on the bus with his trainee guide dog sitting between his legs.

The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association

Guide Dogs is here to help the two million people living with sight loss live the life they choose. Children and adults. Friends and family. Our expert staff, volunteers and life-changing dogs are here to help people affected by sight loss live actively, independently and well. Founded in 1934, we are a charity that is almost entirely dependent on donations. Find out more at guidedogs.org.uk

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