Telford hotel goes above and beyond to support Guide Dogs

The Holiday Inn in Telford-Ironbridge has become a welcoming venue for Guide Dogs and staff are now trained to support customers with sight loss.

If you were to book a hotel room at the Holiday Inn in Telford-Ironbridge, you might be pleasantly surprised to be a guest alongside some of the best-behaved dogs in the country.

That’s because Guide Dogs has started to use the hotel as one of its venues to carry out the most important part of a dogs training – working with its new owner.

Once a dog has been matched with a person living with sight loss, they embark on a two-week training course in a hotel (paid for by the charity) with the support of Guide Dogs staff.

The course helps the person get to know their dog, create a bond, and practice the techniques needed to gain experience with a guide dog.

This can include walking together in a variety of environments and everyday situations, general dog-handling skills, dog behaviour, interacting and playing with the dog, and much more.

Getting a guide dog, whether it’s their first dog or not, can be quite an intense experience for both the dog and the person. Guide Dogs has been impressed with how supportive the staff have been.

Lucy Davidson, a dog Training and Behaviour Advisor at the charity, said: ‘We have recently started using the Holiday Inn in Telford-Ironbridge to carry out some of our training with new guide dog owners. All of the staff have been incredibly supportive’.

Guide Dogs are ‘very thankful and grateful’ that the hotel is able to be so helpful, and they have had ‘really positive feedback’ from its customers.

Staff also took part in Guide Dogs’ My Sighted Guide training; a training session to learn the skills needed to safely guide a person with sight loss.

This means staff at the Holiday Inn in Telford-Ironbridge have learned how to guide a person with sight loss around the hotel, advising them of obstacles, hazards or uneven ground surface, whilst providing the person they’re guiding with information about their surroundings.

David Coe, the Southwater Event Group Hotel Operations Director for the hotel, said: ‘We are delighted to be working with The Guide Dogs.  It is a privilege to be the home to these amazing dogs and witness first-hand the support they provide and the training that takes place in and around the hotel.

‘Our staff have been so grateful to the fantastic training and insight provided by The Guide Dogs, to enable us to support the process and we are looking forward to building a strong relationship working together’.