City West’s £23,000 Christmas GIFT to Guide Dogs UK

A national sight loss charity has received an early Christmas present after City West Housing Trust donated £23,000 through its Get Involved Find Time (GIFT) fundraising scheme.

Guide Dogs, which breeds and trains dogs to help blind or partially sighted people, was named as the landlord’s charity of the year for 2014, with staff giving up their free time to take part in fundraising events. 

The housing association raised more than double its £10,000 target, with staff pushing themselves to the limit with activities including the Coniston Challenge, which involved hiking, cycling and kayaking across a gruelling course in the Lake District, and the famous 24 mile Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge. 

Other events included the popular Hatty Christmas day, which saw staff donate £2 to wear festive headwear.

Around £10,000 of the money raised will be used to train two guide dog puppies, Lowry and Willow. 

The remainder of the donation will support the development of the Guide Dogs UK’s Atherton-based training centre and Blind Children UK – a charity which is part of the Guide Dogs UK group - providing much-needed support for children and young people with vision impairment. 

Lisa Scully, Assistant Director of Business Transformation at City West, said: 

“Guide Dogs does so much to help change the lives of blind and partially sighted people across the country, and it has been an honour for us to help raise funds and awareness for such a worthy cause.

“Knowing that everything we do to raise funds for the charity is going to directly help blind people in our wider community has certainly spurred us on – so much so that we have doubled our original target of £10,000.”

Diane Moore, Community Fundraiser at Guide Dogs, said: 

“The ability to get around is vital in order to live a full life yet thousands of blind and partially sighted people never leave home alone. Guide Dogs empowers visually impaired people to do that and relies on the support of the public to fund its services.  This is why we are extremely thankful for all the wonderful support from staff at City West.”

City West’s GIFT initiative was set up in 2012 to provide staff with opportunities to volunteer time and make a difference to local communities and charities.

In total City West employees donated more than 2,000 volunteering hours in 2014 – the equivalent of more than £14,000 of paid time – to support local activities in west Salford. 

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