Bishop’s Tachbrook: Experience life as lived by the blind on charity’s new tours

PEOPLE can now experience a few moments of life without vision at the Guide Dogs Association for the Blind’a national breeding centre in Bishops Tachbrook.

The charity, which breeds all the guide dogs it provides across the UK from the building, has now extended it to incoroporate a visitors centre, offering free tours and sensory experiences.

Centre manager David Hurst said: “The national breeding centre has always been in south Warwickshire, but this fantastic new facility really is state-of-art. We have a real story to tell.

“Visitors will see the puppies who are about to go to their puppy walkers and they will also be given an insight into the challenges blind and partially-sighted people face and the services we offer that can help them.

“We have a sensory tunnel in which visitors can briefly experience what it’s like to move about without sight. The idea is to promote the work of Guide Dogs to as many people as possible.”

The volunteer-led two-hour tours are running on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons and Friday mornings, but Mr Hurst is hoping to be able to extend them to run more frequently.

The centre in Banbury Road, which since opening 17 months ago has bred 1,350 dogs, was recently awarded a yellow plaque to recognise the contribution made to charity by people who leave gifts in their wills. Two out of three guide dogs are paid for by such gifts. The ‘Remember A Charity’ yellow plaques scheme, which was launched this month, was inspired by the blue plaques awarded by English Heritage.

As well as booking on a tour, people can also visit the breeding centre during its first open day - taking place as part of National Guide Dogs Week - on Saturday October 13 from 10am to 4pm. In Leamington, the training school in Warwick New Road is holding an open day on Saturday October 6.

To find out more, go online and to book a place on a tour, call 0845 372 7432 or email [email protected]