Great stuff! Unfortunately I won’t be able to join today’s two Zoom calls due
to work but hope it goes well.
+447725 627 640
sent from my iPhone
On 17 Mar 2021, at 17:21, Justin Wright <mail@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
Received below minutes of intergroup Zoom meeting last week and thought would
share. Quite long but some interesting bits. Note the coffee morning (viz
Zoom) is tomorrow if you wish to attend.
Have a good evening
WELCOME AND INTRODUCTIONS
Emma Tucker came on the call to discuss her role - “I am the Regional
Marketing & Communications manager for the South West. That means I can
support your groups with publicity and social media for any of your
fundraising activities. I manage social media Facebook pages for Reading,
Southampton and the South West Mobility Teams. I can share your events and
activities on there if you let me know about them. At the moment, I'm working
on publicity for our Tea Party campaign, raising awareness of it across the
region. I am also building case studies of our volunteers, how/why they got
involved with Guide Dogs and how their volunteering journey has evolved, if
you would like to contribute to this project, get in touch. I’m here as a
resource for you and my role is all about sharing the news of all the
fantastic work that goes on from our volunteers and staff so please reach out
to your Community Relationship Fundraising manager in the first instance if
you have any ideas/suggestions or require any help and we can work together.
You can contact Emma direct at Emma.Tucker@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx or by calling
Danny Williams shared an update on Operations across the South West
“I want to give you an overview of the effects of lockdown on our services,
talk about the Guide Dogs road map and how we’re looking to resume our
services and sites. Also, I want to talk about our buildings as over the
last 6 months, 3 teams have moved into new buildings”.
EFFECTS OF LOCKDOWN
March last year we closed all team offices and shut down service delivery.
Over the last 12 months, we’ve been impacted by the number of National and
local lockdowns, which has limited our ability to run our services as we
would like. We have Guide Dogs Overarching Principles in place to enable us
to run our services safely making sure staff, service users, volunteers are
safe to carry out certain activities.
These principles currently mean we are unable to work inside with a client or
work within two metres, this has had a massive impact upon what we are able
to do in terms of service delivery e.g. aftercare for existing partnerships,
matching visits and people on our waiting list, guide dog assessments, class
within a hotel environment.
All elements have been impacted over the last year and as a result, we’ve had
to be innovative about things and have increased the number of keep in touch
(KIT) calls and probably spoke to guide dog owners more than we ever have.
We also qualified 53 partnerships last year, as a comparative, in 2020 we
qualified 131 and in 2021, we were hoping to increase that number to over 150
so the impact on qualifications has been significant.
The two unknowns now are the waiting list and partnership support, because
we’re unable to carry out assessments we have a lot of clients on hold, they
aren’t on the waiting list but as soon as assessments can resume, they are
likely to be added to the waiting list. At the other end of the process, we
have clients on the waiting list who have been matched with a dog who we are
unable to do any partnership support with so although they are on the waiting
list, we expect them to move them off over the next few months. Given the
circumstances, waiting times for clients on the list has grown and until
we’re able to carry out face-to-face work e.g. guide dog assessments,
classes, it’s very difficult to get a real picture of quite what the exact
impact was on our waiting list times, same with partnership support, we’ve
done what we can in terms of providing support given the context in which we
need to operate. We’re also aware that a lot of partnerships have had a
reduced workload e.g. a guide dog might help guide one of our service users
to work but hasn’t been able to work that route. Once we can restart
aftercare work, we are expecting the need to put a lot more support into
existing partnerships to make sure they are safe and working well for both
dog and client.
All South West offices have now opened for dog training, 75 dogs are
currently in training and 20 dogs are ‘class ready’ i.e. meet the standard to
go on class or already matched to service user but we’re not able to safely
run a class so the partnership is on hold. As soon as we get the okay to
resume class training, we will look to qualify those 15 – 20 partnerships
very quickly. We are also able to offer urgent aftercare, where a
partnership is having real difficulties, we are now able to go and see them
We have a Guide Dogs road map, planning the next few months to return to ‘new
normal’ for service delivery. 29th March we’re hopeful the 2m distance will
stop, to enable us to support new and existing partnerships within 2m. If
this happens, we will be able to provide a lot more face-to-face aftercare.
Working towards 21st June, that’s when we are hoping to resume residential
partnership training in a hotel environment, but of course, this is dependent
on Covid-19 restrictions being lifted as planned.
Exeter Mobility Team moved to a new building next door to the current site in
Reading Mobility Team have moved to Hillfields from Winnersh.
Bristol Regional Centre is open from today for a small number of staff to use
the space for dog training. We are hopeful that over the next few months
we’ll be able to open it up to more staff, clients and volunteers, and open
days when safe to do so.
Has Guide Dogs put in support for GD owners whose dog has retired or are
waiting for dog as it must be very isolating and have affected their mental
health quite badly? Answer – There are 3 monthly calls are in place and we
agree minimum contact with applications and call to provide them with any
update. As COVID-19 hit all new applicants, we have been trying to link them
with neighbours, volunteer groups etc to help.
When are we going to have face-to-face puppy training visits? Answer - 29th
March is the goal for more general face-to-face interactions, slowly getting
back to a new normal. Dan doesn’t know specifics for puppy training visits,
but the collective roadmap is that from 29th March to end until June there is
a slow increase in face-to-face interactions with volunteers and service
Can we have a video of regional centre in Bristol to see what it is like?
Answer - A video is already underway showing Bristol and Exeter centres, but
if we need a quick walkthrough of Bristol, Dan could do that and share.
Hazel Kelly shared an update on volunteer awards and volunteering:
It’s been a very tough year for volunteers not being able to do F2F
fundraising, but we still have the awards as the level of support you’ve
given to Guide Dogs has been fantastic, and we very much want to celebrate
that. Please do have a think about other volunteers you would like to
nominate and deserve to be recognised for the amazing work they’ve done. The
exact date of awards is still to be confirmed but it will a virtual event
during the first week of June. The closing date to nominate is Friday 16th
April.” To nominate visit our website
It’s difficult to know what any of our volunteers have been doing during
lockdown, how do we know? Answer - We’re looking at how we can bring
volunteers together, but we do encourage everyone to use the Sharing Guide
Dogs Fundraising Ideas page as this gives a good overview of what everyone is
It’s difficult to nominate as categories are too subtle/non-descript, can we
get further clarification? Answer: The nomination categories match Guide
Dogs behaviour standards and there is a greater explanation/hints/tips for
each on the ‘Award Categories and Tips’ section on our website, the address
is Guide Dogs Local Volunteer Awards | Guide Dogs. If you have any problems,
contact your local Volunteer Co-ordinators.
COFFEE MORNING NEXT WEEK
There will be a coffee/chat Zoom call next week on 18th March for all
volunteers to get together and have a catch up, there is no agenda, just an
opportunity to see everyone over a cuppa/cake, the link to join is
Over the last year, volunteers seem keen to help their local community and we
have successfully used the Nextdoor App to recruit new group volunteers. The
app needs to be downloaded on a phone or you can sign up using a laptop, you
need to add your postcode and any messages posted will be seen by your
immediate neighbours/streets. We encourage you to talk to your group
volunteers and ask them to download the app too. We can provide text if you
wish to advertise on the website, just contact your local Volunteer
Co-ordinator. The Nextdoor link can be found at Nextdoor
Can Volunteer Voices (consultative groups for Guide Dogs Volunteers) be
mentioned as a good platform to raise questions and provide feedback that can
be escalated to management. Are volunteers aware of who their local
representative is. Answer – Damian has been working hard over last 6 months
to revise Volunteer Voices and there is more information on the Volunteer
Information Point, the link is Volunteer voices | VIP (guidedogs.org.uk).
This is also a good source for general volunteer information.
GREAT GUIDE DOGS VIRTUAL TEA PARTY
Tracey Wellingham shared an update on campaigns:
Community Fundraising Campaigns team oversee Fundraise for us activity, Tea
Party and 12 Guide Dogs of Christmas.
Last years Tea Party was virtual due to lockdown and it will the same this
year even though restrictions are gradually easing. A new pack for 2021 has
been created around people hosting their own virtual tea party and includes
hints/tips, games, branded bunting, cake flags and a pair of fluffy dog ears!
Last year we only had 3 weeks to prepare so it was all about helping to
achieve a Guinness World Record but this year, we really want to encourage
people to sign up and fundraise with a virtual tea party as more and more
people become comfortable with technology.
The link to this years Tea Party is National Tea Day | Guide Dogs
and so far, we’ve had over 730 people sign up which is unbelievable.
The campaign carries on until 13th April. Please spread the word to family,
friends, local contacts, social groups etc. Everyone needs to sign up, so
they get full supporter journey and access to the tea party pack.
Last year we broke the Guinness World Record for the largest ever virtual tea
party, we were featured in hello mag, had tv coverage and raised nearly
£50,000 for Guide Dogs. To achieve this, 4,021 images of people holding a
cuppa were uploaded to our Facebook page between 3 – 4pm on the day of the
event and this year, we are aiming to break our own record and hit 10,000
uploaded images of people holding their cup of tea between 3 – 4pm on 21st
April. Images need to be uploaded to our Facebook event page ‘Guide Dogs
Virtual Tea Party’. Please share, post on Twitter/Instagram/Linked In etc,
invite everyone you know via social media channels to join in. We have
created a press release for you if hosting a tea party or event to let local
press know or add to community calendars. We also have an I’m/We’re
Supporting the Virtual Tea Party’ Facebook profile frame for people to use
and there is a step-by-step guide for groups to join in.
There are two zoom calls 17th/18th March taking place for FR groups to ask
questions or find out how to get involved, the links are:
Wednesday 17 March 7pm-8pm https://guidedogs.zoom.us/j/96849177769
Thursday 18 March 11am-12pm https://guidedogs.zoom.us/j/93533024431
Pam Gratton is available by email (pam.gratton@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx) if you have
any questions about getting involved. Resources will be available through
your Community Fundraising Relationship Manager and our sharing ideas
Last year was confusing as to where to upload photo, will it be clearer this
year? Answer – We’ve taken feedback on board and created step by step guide
to show people what to look for and how you join in. We will have fewer posts
on the day to avoid confusion and a Facebook live event 30 minutes before
record attempt including speakers to share inspirational stories.
Jennifer Oddy gave an overview of Schools and Youth Groups:
“My role is to oversee the Schools and Youth Groups resources, giving
teachers and youth leaders resources they need to engage their groups in
activities. I look at the resources on the internet, create new resources as
campaigns come up, market those campaigns, and support the fundraising
campaigns that we encourage schools and youth groups to get involved with. I
also support our volunteer Speakers as after carrying out a survey in 2019,
we found that 70% of our talks were to schools or youth groups so it’s a huge
audience and we want to support them in their role.
I write and email a termly newsletter for teachers and youth group leaders
that we have contact details. This lets them know what’s going on, what
other groups are getting up to and how they can get involved”.
We have a one stop shop for volunteers “The Volunteers guide to resources for
Schools and Youth Groups” which has information on STEM, Youth Action,
Activity Sheets, Speaker Talk interactive sessions.
Our Learn About Guide Dogs leaflet has recently been revised with new
branding and inside there is everything teachers/youth group leaders might
need to know about Guide Dogs e.g. How they can fundraise with their groups,
all about Puppy Graduation and Name a Puppy, details of resources on our
website and how they can download them. It also talks about how they can book
a Speaker. So, if volunteers were going to an event, they may want to take
some along, likewise if a Speaker is carrying out a talk.
Our Fundraising Guide is available on-line (same as if they registered for a
fundraising pack as an individual). This includes 10 activities for children
to engage in to fundraise for Guide Dogs
Our Activity Sheets are available to download from the Speaker Facebook page,
we are also sending them out digitally to schools/youth groups once a talk is
booked along with the confirmation email regarding their talk.
This year we will supporting the Guide Dogs Appeal in October with new
teacher/leader resources based around Guide Dogs 90th Anniversary and 12
Guide Dogs of Christmas, creating fundraising initiatives for schools and
youth groups can get involved with.
We will continue the termly newsletter
Supporting Speakers through webinars and meetings to answer questions/queries
relating to their role.
We will continue to market our STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering,
Mathematics) and to show the impact of these resources, we ran an advert from
March – September 2020 and had 2,246 sign ups, on average over previous years
we’ve had around 50 sign ups. In March 2021 we’ve already had 515 sign ups,
and many ticked they were interested in fundraising and/or speaker talks.
Can we get hard copies of leaflets? Answer – Yes, everything is available as
hard copies via Atherton. Email southwest groups at
Resources are great for schools; we would also like to have them at events as
children often take part in them at the stand e.g. activity sheets. Will all
these resources be available generally for other things other than Speaker
talks as hard copies? Answer - Yes, we are looking to tweak digital
resources and make everything available on separate sheets or as a booklet,
whatever would work best so nobody misses out. The guide to resources
available for schools and youth groups is attached.
KEEPING IT SAFE AND LEGAL
Pam Gratton “I’d like to give you an overview of some specific rules covering
fundraising activities, these are designed to protect our volunteers, the
public and Guide Dogs so please do adhere to them when you’re out doing
fundraising activities. We all work within these guidelines regularly when
carrying out events and as always, if you are in any doubt of fulfilling our
legal requirements, speak with your Community Fundraising Relationship
Pam went into further details regarding Homemade Dog Toys, Lotteries and
Online Raffles, all related wording and links are included with the attached
‘Keeping it Safe and Legal’ document.
Community Fundraising Volunteer Newsletter – All volunteers should be
receiving this newsletter towards the end of each month. Please do take time
to read it as we will use it to update you and new legal or safety
When talking about making and selling things ‘in aid of’ as opposed to ‘on
behalf of, does this mean if it’s sold at an event where you are also selling
trading stock, you need to split this money out and bank it separately to
trading? Answer – Yes, all trading stock must be banked separately using the
trading paying in book as there are cost of sales involved, unlike items
being made by volunteers and sold ‘in aid of’ Guide Dogs which will be a
Does everyone get the newsletter or just group organisers who then distribute
to their groups? Answer – Sending of the newsletter has just been revamped
and it now gets sent to all volunteers (unless they’ve opted out), everyone
gets a slightly different version dependent of their role e.g. if you are a
Group Treasurer, you will get all general fundraising updates plus anything
specifically related to the Treasurer role. There is no need for group leads
to distribute. However, group leads might want to send all their volunteers
the latest February newsletter just to double check they have received it
(some volunteers may have unwittingly opted out from receiving it) and if
they haven’t, email southwestgroups@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx to ask them to add your
volunteer to the distribution list.
Do our trading pricing stickers state ‘in aid of’? Answer – They just have
the Guide Dogs logo on them although some very old ones may say ‘in aid of’
Denise asked if any groups had local connections they would like to share
Pat Canning – We have a relationship with Exxonmobil who run a safety
programme and nominate a charity to donate to several times a year, but we
can’t seem to get them signed up to a Name a Puppy. Lee Thresher commented
that we have tried several times but due to their own internal policies and
procedures it hasn’t been possible, but we will keep trying.
David Nash – We have a relationship with Toyota and unfortunately, the main
contact left with means it’s difficult to build up a new relationship, it
Pauline Clayton – Has a huge academy in her village with 900 students and the
group are finding it difficult to get a foot in the door and build a
relationship. They’ve spoken to the receptionist and asked for message to be
passed on to head but no response. Idea – Di Hatchett has a lifetime of
experience working with schools and said you don’t get anywhere with
receptionist/head teacher, you need to contact Head of Student Services if
they have one or School Services.
Monica Cave– It’s the time of year Golf clubs choose lady captain, maybe
offer a virtual talk which could lead to virtual Tea Party.
General - Waitrose are still running their green token scheme although they
are not giving people the green tokens at checkout. Charities can apply and
they split £1,000 between 3 charities. John Lewis as still also running
their scheme and splitting £3,000 between 3 charities.
Denise Clark – Now is a great time to contact companies/schools or any local
contact about our Tea Party campaign. Do think about who you know, word of
mouth is powerful, talk to people at events, develop new business connections
and if you do have any leads, pass them on to your CFRM for follow-up.
CELEBRATING SUCCESSES AND LEARNING
Volunteers were invited to share any recent successes or best practice
Nicola Pamphilon – Oxford Meet the Guide Dogs Group held a silent auction for
12 Guide Dogs of Christmas and secured 68 prizes, raising £650, with
additional donations it topped £1,600. At the end of the 12 Guide Dogs of
Christmas campaign, the group topped the national table for most money
Sue Marks – Holds an online quiz every Wednesday, her Husband is a quiz
master and she asked if he would run one on behalf of Guide Dogs. Thirty
people attended and it raised £530 even though it was only £5.00 entry fee
per team (many groups donated more than £5.00 and some £50 or £100). Maybe
other groups could look to approach local existing quiz masters and ask them
to hold one in aid of Guide Dogs?
Hilary Reed – Has been raising money since June, selling things given to her
on Facebook, it started with a gazebo which sold in 10 minutes. She has a
wall outside her drive where people donate books/DVDs. So far, she has
banked £2,023 and is taking part in our Name a Puppy scheme to name a dog
Captain Tom after Captain Tom Moore. With the help of Janice Boswell and
Chippenham and Corsham group, their Just Giving page has raised £680. At
present, the total raised is over £3,200 so it’s only £1,800 off the £5,000
target. With help of Emma Tucker, they secured publicity in the local paper
and on radio Wiltshire. Hillary is going to write to his Captain Tom’s
Daughter to let her know she would like to name him after her Dad. Note from
Lee - several people have emailed me since the meeting asking for Hillary’s
Just Giving donation page to be added to the minutes as they want to donate,
it is Hilary Reed is fundraising for Guide Dogs (justgiving.com). Another
success story from Hilary, last year’s pop-up shop raised £4,000 in
Trowbridge, but a gentleman also visited and donated £20,000 after coming
into some money and seeing the difference a guide dog had made to his friend.
Di Hatchett –Set up Just Giving page for local fundraisers/ supporters during
the first lockdown and people donated money not spent on fuel and/or donated
the money they would have given the group at an event. They also had a car
boot sale and raised £2,120. One fundraiser donated her old car to Give a Car
and nominated Guide Dogs as recipient, this raised £1,800 for the group.
Myra Pritchard – The Hamble Valley group organised an art raffle leading up
to Christmas and had 16 paintings/artwork pieces donated (one worth £600 at
retail), they raised just over £1,000. Myra also took part in the 100 for
Guide Dogs and ran 100 metres for 100 days and raised over £1,700 plus gift
Pat Canning – Decorated a retired fire engine with Christmas lights and
paraded through her local Waterside Community (adhering to Covid
restrictions!), it raised over £6,000 and some of the money will go towards a
Name a Puppy scheme with the puppy being called Denis after the fire engine.