Henry Smith MP welcomed staff, volunteers and puppies from the charity Guide Dogs on Wednesday 13th December as he hosted the organisation’s Christmas event in Parliament, and hailed their continued work to support thousands of blind and partially sighted people in the UK.
The charity set up a makeshift grotto in Westminster Hall to hand out messages of thanks to MPs that have supported their work in 2017. Henry’s gift, a miniature stocking, was filled with Christmas messages from Crawley residents, highlighting Guide Dogs’ campaign for a national law on pavement parking.
Henry said “It was a pleasure to meet the guide dog pups in training and receive my thank you stocking from Guide Dogs. Guide Dogs research shows that 97 per cent of blind or partially sighted people had encountered problems with street obstructions, and 90 per cent of those had experienced trouble with a pavement parked car. This is a major issue for blind and partially sighted people who should be able to walk the streets without fear.
“Pavement parking is a real problem in Crawley and many other parts of the UK – not only does it pose a danger to people with sight loss, it is a potentially dangerous obstacle for wheelchair and mobility scooter users as well as people with pushchairs.”
James White, Campaigns Manager at Guide Dogs, said “We are very grateful for all of the support that Members of Parliament give to Guide Dogs. As well as saying thank you to Henry for his help this year, we used this opportunity to raise awareness about the dangers of parking on pavements and to call for a change in the law.”