Charity: Guide Dogs

Rugby Central Shopping Centre has nominated Guide Dogs as their ‘Charity Partner for 2024’. The challenge is to raise £5,000 to ‘name a puppy’ and support them through their puppy raising programme.

How we are undertaking the campaign

Local representatives from Guide Dogs will be visiting Rugby Central Shopping Centre at various dates throughout the year, talking to the public and getting involved in our fundraising initiatives. We will also be raising money through taking part in challenges and sponsored events.

Track our Progress

The charity

Guide Dogs are a charity who help people with sight loss to live the life they choose.

It’s a sobering fact that every day 250 people begin to lose their sight and, that by 2050, this number is set to double. It could include your family, friends, colleagues, and other people who you know.

Guide Dogs, formed in 1931, offers services tailored to the needs of their customers. This includes information and advice, campaigning and influencing, plus the wonderful dogs who offer essential canine support.

This charity is the world’s largest assistance dog organisation and the only organisation to breed and train guide dogs in the UK. Thanks to the dedication of staff and volunteers, plus vital donations/sponsorship, Guide Dogs has helped over 36,000 people to achieve life-changing independence since their formation.

According to data from the charity in 2022, it costs £63.8 million to provide the guide dog service, £9.3 million to provide other services for adults, and £10 million to provide a wide range of services for children, young adults, and families.

Like many charities, Guide Dogs relies on donations and support. This is a national charity, but one with a strong local presence, with whom Rugby Central has partnered before and is keen to support again. We aim to work together with them to try and raise sufficient funds to ‘name a puppy’ and support it through its puppy raising programme. If successful, we will be happy to know that we are helping somebody local to gain independence and purpose…plus we’ll hopefully receive regular Pupdates and Pawtraits to share with you!


To find out more, please visit:

A Local Story

Charles Bloch - One man & his dog

Coming to De Montfort University wasn’t, for me, an easy journey; not too much in my life has, unfortunately, been easy.

But it turned out to be one of my most important journeys.

I have a severe visual impairment and I’m registered blind. It’s presented some difficult, and at times, unfair hurdles in my life. Many of my primary school teachers had written me off from an early age, telling me that I would never learn to read or write properly or I was too far behind to catch up with the other kids.

Thankfully my dad, who also has a visual impairment, felt I should get a proper education and we moved to Coventry so I could enrol in a specialist school where I flourished, exploring new passions and gaining confidence.

Armed with BTEC Level 3 diplomas in performing arts and IT, I found DMU. It was a big step but a doable one. I wanted to stay pretty close to home and this was the only university at the time to offer a course centred around social media.

I applied for the Digital Marketing and Social Media BA, and was really happy to be accepted on to the course.

The university offers a lot of support for disabled students, and even gave me a tour of the campus before arriving. They made everything much more accessible for me and allowed me to have a note-taker, who I would not only sit with but also chat to about my needs and the course in general.

My first day on campus was actually very nerve-wracking. Not only had I previously felt shunned by mainstream education, but the common ground I had also shared with my classmates at my specialist school in Coventry was also no longer there. My safety blanket had been pulled out and I looked to adapt.

I must admit, I struggled initially to acclimatise to the immersive social environment that comes with studying at a university. I was self-conscious and probably a little socially awkward to begin with. Having lived with a disability all my life, it’s something that I’m passionate about and I talk about at length. Maybe it started to rub people up the wrong way but I started to feel isolated from my initial friendship group.

The work too was proving difficult. Some people get concepts straight away and some people have to study hard to understand. I’m of the latter group of people, so I put my head down and studied.

However, while I was working hard to better understand digital marketing, I could feel myself withdrawing myself socially from people at the university. Thankfully, help was soon at hand. I was accepted for a guide dog and Carlo joined me at university early in my second year and became a big hit on campus.

Carlo changed everything. More people would start conversations with me and want to know about my guide dog. Lecturers would welcome him into the lecture theatres with beaming smiles and even go out of their way to place dogs within their lecture slides to give Carlo something to look out for.

I looked for a platform to talk about the issues that I had faced as a visually impaired person and once again, DMU delivered for me – this time through its radio station, Demon FM. I formed strong friendships here and through my show, One Man and His Dog, I shared a lot of laughs and even interviewed guests about rights for disabled people.

My coursework too was also flourishing at this time. Having taken a placement year and started my own business enterprise, the marketing concepts I was learning about just seemed to click. I could now see how the theory was put into practice in the real world and it made studying so much easier for me.

Finding out I was going to leave university with a First was such a rewarding moment. It makes me look back to my primary school days to see how far I’ve come.

Carlo accompanied me to my graduation and even got a little robe. It was the perfect ending for my journey at DMU.

Future Events