BSS donates £600 to Guide Dogs for the Blind North Staffordshire

Beyond Surface Solutions kick started their relationship with the Guide Dogs for the Blind North Staffordshire charity with a cheque presentation on Thursday 11 April.

bss has pledged to raise £5,000 for the Guide Dogs for the Blind North Staffordshire branch which means the team can name a guide dog.

Managing Director of bss, Paul O’Reilly has a very personal connection to the charity which is why they have been selected as charity of the year.

Paul said: “My son is visually impaired and will one day need a guide dog, so we contacted our local branch earlier this year.

We had donated a hamper to the Archer Pub in Wolstanton for their Christmas raffle which raised £300 and we offered to match this in a monetary donation.”

This £600 cheque was presented to George Higginson, North Staffordshire Branch Organiser, Branch Treasurer Sue Oliver and Barney – George’s guide dog.

George commented: “People can apply for a guide dog from 14 years old and in England and Wales. There are currently around 5,800 working partnerships so it’s essential to keep training new dogs to meet demand.

“All money raised goes to the local branch so we are very grateful to the bss team.  A lot of people don’t class us as a local charity unfortunately because it’s known nationally, so the aim is to raise awareness and promote the local branch. We have no Government funding and the local branch has to raise its own funds, so partnerships like this one are essential to us.

“A guide dog’s working life is from seven weeks when training starts to 10 years old when they retire and throughout this lifetime, it costs around £52-£53K a year with training, vets bills, etc. Training takes around 2 years and Guide Dogs for the Blind pay for everything so the owners don’t have to.”

Plans are in place to meet the £5,000 target now the charity has now provided BSS with collection buckets and bunting. Roger Lowe, of bss, is the company’s main fundraiser and visits trade shows in his vintage van which is a replica of the van that founder Michael O’Reilly had when he started the business. Roger now drives it round to the shows giving out sweets to encourage engagement and he will be the primary fundraiser.

Paul’s daughter will also be fundraising for the charity when she begins her silver Duke of Edinburgh Award.  For every £5 donated bss has also agreed to give away a free LED torch.

To support bss and Guide Dogs for the Blind North Staffordshire call 01782 209 527.

For press enquiries please contact Kirsty Hewson at kirsty@plinkfizz.comor 01782 630 777.