Getting MPs support for #AccessAllAreas for guide dogs

Woof and here’s my #FletcherFriday blog post!

Let me first say that I woke up to some barking news this morning. I can’t believe we’re leaving the European Union. I’m in shock (and lying down as a result). Challenging times ahead…

To the topic of access for guide dogs. Last month, I blogged that I was off to the Houses of Parliament to lobby for #AccessAllAreas. Whilst it’s the law to let guide dogs like me into restaurants, shops and taxis, many of us are getting turned away. So I joined 100 fellow guide dogs, and their humans, to get MPs to take action on access refusals. Here’s a photo of us:

Many guide dogs and their humans in several rows in front of Big Ben and Houses of Parliament
Photo credit: Guide Dogs charity

Let me share how the day went. Now, having made it all the way to London, I really needed to go (yep, that kind of go). And what better place to go than on the lawn outside Westminster. In my defence, it was the only grass area available.

As soon as I had finished then it was lights, camera, action. We were approached by a Channel 4 News crew and the delightful Emily Davison, with her guide dog Unity. They interviewed my human. Afterwards, it was off inside the Houses of Parliament.

I had a starring role. My human – the fabulous Fiona – and I were one of four ‘Access All Areas’ case studies. Guide Dogs had made our story into a mini-poster.

Me guide dog Fletcher and my human Fiona sitting on a bench with lots of text describing case study

[As there’s a lot of text on the mini-poster – too much for the alternative text description box – go to this page for the case study text].

I met the Minister for Disabled People, Justin Tomlinson MP, alongside two fellow guide dogs, Guide Dogs’ Chief Executive and a few other humans. The Minister seemed to make agreeable noises; I was snoozing most of the time. We presented him with a petition of almost 50,000 signatures asking for action on access refusals.

Then I met my MP who was really supportive of the ‘Access All Areas’ lobby and I got fusses. The humans did a lot of yapping.

Me guide dog Fletcher getting fusses from my MP, and on the right my MP, my human and I inside Westminster Hall

Additionally, I met my younger brother, Umber. In the photo below, I’m the handsome one on the right in case you’re wondering. We gave each other the run around too (a little naughty, I know, as we were in our Guide Dog harnesses). I think we last saw each other when we were 6 weeks old.

Me guide dog Fletcher on the right with my brother Umber on the left with humans' legs in background

There were so many meet and greets to be had. After all, it was woofderful that 100 guide dogs got together. I was somewhat distracted (I tried to be good, honest). Thank you to Guide Dog volunteers, especially Darren, Steve and Nicole, who helped out us on the day.

In the big photo finish, I got a kiss from ITV This Morning’s guide dog puppy in training, Clover. Pawsome!

Me guide dog Fletcher on the right sitting down getting a kiss from This Morning's Clover

Lastly and to my delight, I was on TV in the evening. It seems that the Channel 4 News crew liked us and Emily Davison did a great job reporting.

Me guide dog Fletcher looking to the right and seated on TV. Yes TV!

The whisper is that Fiona, our MP, Guide Dogs and our city council are putting something together locally as a result of this lobby. Plus Andrew Gwynne MP is championing an ‘Accessibility Bill’, as a private members’ bill, which could make it compulsory for taxi and private hire drivers to have disability awareness training. It’s early days. And I’ll keep you posted on this impawtant topic.

Woof and paw! Guide dog Fletcher.

P.S. Thanks to all of you following my blog. If you don’t follow my blog, do join them. As always, feel free to leave me a pawsome comment…

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(c) pawsatthekerb™, June 2016.

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GuideDogFletcher

Guide dog Fletcher here, sniffing out the best news from the streets and grass in the UK and beyond. Keeping my human, Fiona, safe with paws at the kerb. Qualified with #guidedogs in August 2015. Can be found at the kerb or snoozing...

2 thoughts on “Getting MPs support for #AccessAllAreas for guide dogs”

  1. Thank you Fletcher, we were not very happy yesterday morning either. Glad you had a productive outing to Westminster. I know that Victoria supports all the notices of initiatives she receives about accessibility. I am trying to gain access to the greens and carrots she keeps in the fridge. I know hay is good for me but I do like a carrot (or two or three). I had a party a week ago, which was great fun, even though it rained. Keep in touch. Albert

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Woof and sniff Albert! Thanks. Good to have Victoria and your support. I like my food too. Not sure what carrots, greens or hay are. Might have had them but not sure. Humans can be difficult when we ask for more food. Nuzzle up against them. That might help. Happy munching. Fletcher

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