Guide Dogs Fundraising Workshop:Meeting The Team

Today there was a workshop for branch organisers and treasurers, but any other branch members could go too. It was to explain the changes that have recently taken place between guide dogs and who does what now that the team all had different roles. Because of the recent stuff going on between the branch organiser i said i would go with the branch organiser so she didn’t have to be alone with the treasurer as things had kind of started to kick off again. It got to the point that she didn’t want to be in the same house as the treasurer.

We were orriginally going to get the train from a different station but when we discovered there was no parking we went to our local station just.

The treasurer wasn’t that bad on the way up and didn’t mention anything horrible.

We happened to arrive early for the workshop, so we went for some tea and toast instead at a local caffe.

At about 10 past 10 we headed over to the equality commission building which was where the workshop was being held. We were one of the first there. We were soon joined by Lark the retired guide dog who came trotting over to see Ushi. Then Inis the german sheperd came and a woman with a dog called Leena who was like a smaller version of Ushi. Along with a dog called Jumble. There was a puppywalker there too as well as some other organisers and treasurers.

We chatted for a while before a woman from Scotland came and started the day off. She is called a branch development coordinator and works to set up new branches. She is based in Scotland but covers Northern Ireland, Scotland and the north of England i think. She also said that there was a new handbook to be given to branches soon which would explain all the rules and regulations about fundraising and what could and what couldn’t be done.

Next was our community fundraisor, who I would have called the fundraising coordinator. I guess i should say their titles from now on because god knows who is reading.

Next, our volunteer development coordinator got up to explain about how what used to be known as the national volunteer office is not known as that any more and it is now called the “person resource office” or something. She explained all about new volunteer clothing that volunteers could wear if they wanted, but that they would have to pay. We all agreed this shouldn’t be happening, and that is something that will be looked in to. She also explained all about a new initiative called “volunteer voices” which means that there will be a group of volunteers selected to take issues forward other volunteers are having and feed it back to the guide dogs team. So for example if speakers are having an issue, whoever was a speaker on the forum would report the issue then report back to other speakers.

Next the mobility support supervisor said a few words about her role. She basically looks after all the admin staff. They would deal with all the enquiries coming into the team.

It was around lunch time, so we all stopped to stretch our legs and eat. The branch organiser braught me and her some sandwiches as the sandwiches served the last time we were at the equality commission were very small and didn’t have a wide selection. So we had some nice ham sandwiches and a goahead bar for afters. Ushi had some carrot sticks. I gave some to Leena who was in front of us too.

After a busy break for the dogs we were back on track again. Our community engagement officer spoke next. She goes out to talk about potential guide dog ownership within the local social services as well as with different organisations. She is also a “My guide” coordinator which is the name for the
Sighted guide
Training i took part in last year.

Next, it was the communications officer. (I can’t remember his title). He is responsible for anything to do with communications such as press releases, blogs, and anything else that is to do with PR.

Next it was the campaignes manager. He talked about all the campaigns Guide dogs are taking part in such as the talking busses, microchipping dogs, vat on dog food and shared streets. (The guide dogs site is crashing firefox, so i’m not going to link to each campaigne). The talking busses campaign has had some encouraging results. While there is no money available now for the audio visual information to be installed, when it next becomes available it is to get priority and all
Translink busses
Will have it installed. All that has to happen now is for the minister to release the money for it. I personally can’t wait to have the busses announcing each stop.

Finally it was back to the branch development coordinator who told us about the
Northern ireland facebook page
And what we could and couldn’t post on it.

The day dragged on at the end as with every role there were questions so it went on longer than intended. There will be more workshops throughout the year but they won’t be as long and will be a chance to compare experiences and pick up hints and tips.

Unfortunately we had a little problem on the way back. The gap for getting on the train was quite big so it panicked me a bit. Thankfully nothing happened. The conductor was great and held onto Ushi’s collar if she needed help up but thankfully she didn’t. She was reluctant to move forward. The conductor even asked if i would like the ramp put on but i explained that miss Ushi doesn’t like walking on metal which is a real shame.

But apart from that, it was a great, but tiring day.

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