Several Okehampton residents have banded together to raise awareness of the need for more guide dog puppy raisers and are set to host several fundraising efforts throughout the coming year.

Okehampton-based volunteers for Guide Dogs for the Blind, a charity which helps those with sight loss and trains guide dogs, are campaigning for more people to get involved with the charity, especially as puppy raisers, in order to continue to provide free services for blind and partially-sighted people.

Bryony Lewis, an Exeter-based volunteer coordinator for Guide Dogs for the Blind, said: ‘There are around two million people living with sight loss in the UK. Guide Dogs supports people with a visual impairment to maintain their independence and live the life they choose. There are lots of different services on offer, ranging from volunteer-led services such as My Sighted Guide through to the support for children and young people, access to technology, and the iconic guide dog service.

‘This year, we are urgently appealing for new volunteers to sign up as puppy raisers. This means looking after future guide dogs for the first year of their lives, socialising them and giving them a loving home. It’s a hugely rewarding role with lots of support and training on offer, plus you will meet lots of new people in your area who are also raising pups.’

Guide Dogs started in 1931 when two women in Merseyside first came up with the idea to train dogs to lead blind people with the aim of helping servicemen who had lost their sight in the First World War.

Since then, the charity has grown and has now helped up to 36,000 blind and partially sighted people in the UK.