Help Guide Dogs charities

An appeal for volunteers is being launched in three market towns to help with fund-raising efforts for the charity Guide Dogs.

Officers from the charity, which celebrates its 80th anniversary this year, are specifically looking to start up volunteer branches in Dereham, Great Yarmouth and Wisbech.

They are also trying to find more volunteers for its Norwich groups.

Each branch needs to have an organiser (chairman) and a treasurer.

Ideally there is also a need for another 10 members who will be able to help out in various ways including fundraising events, giving talks in schools, running collections at local fairs and generally raising the profile and awareness of the charity.

Regional volunteering advisor Pippa Block said they hoped to open the new branches in the summer for Dereham and Great Yarmouth and in Wisbech by the end of the year.

“There are so many ways to volunteer. We’re looking for fundraisers, volunteer drivers, branch secretaries and treasurers, and speakers,” she said.

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“You can volunteer as an individual, or become involved in one of our rapidly growing number of branches. We don’t get any government funding so rely on the generous donations of the public.

“A lot of our volunteers are guide dog owners themselves or just dog lovers.

“We have started getting more young people involved because they want to have volunteer work on their CVs and it is a good way of getting out and about in their communities.

“You can commit as much or as little time as you want and although it is entirely voluntary with no pay, we do reimburse travel expenses.”

She added: “We don’t have any fixed base for them to work from but the committee will arrange to meet regularly and we do offer training courses to get them started.

“It is a really nice sociable way of getting involved with volunteering and many of the branch members then go on to become good friends.

“And you know you are helping to make a real difference to the lives of blind and partially-sighted people.”

Other existing branches that need help are in King’s Lynn, Lowestoft, Stowmarket and Bury St Edmunds.

Information sessions will be held this summer.

Anyone interested in volunteering or fundraising for Guide Dogs should contact the Guide Dogs’ volunteering team on 0845 371 7771. You can also email Guide Dogs has a website – – which provides a wide range of information.