Neil Ewart has been a Trustee for Seeing Dogs for since 2010. Here, he shares why his passion for Seeing Dogs is here to stay – and why Seeing Dogs needs you!
What do I most enjoy about being a Seeing Dogs Trustee? It’s about the people – and dogs, of course! The users, trainers, dog breeders, puppy walkers and everyone we work with to support!
Over a decade ago I retired from Guide Dogs for The Blind after spending decades training dogs and their eventual owners, plus a long spell running the extensive dog breeding programme. I knew of the much smaller Seeing Dogs Alliance and was pleased to approach them to see if I could help out in a voluntary capacity by visiting clients and assessing dogs. I quickly became aware that the quality of the work was very good and felt encouraged to commit further. For some years I even proudly wore the mantle of as Chairman!
Now, I am now one of four trustees who are responsible for the overall running of the charity. No trustee is paid or expects to be. We meet on a regular basis and have recently overseen the recruitment of another instructor plus a push for more funds.
Being a trustee is a responsibility but is worthwhile seeing the steady growth of the charity plus ensuring the finances are in good order and the dogs and owners are trained to a high standard.
I also always enjoy meeting with fellow Trustees, learning about leadership and contributing to the aims and objectives of the charity. Collaborating with them about what’s next in sustaining and enhancing our work is always exciting, as well as spending time and speaking with Seeing Dog users. I feel privileged – and proud! – to see the difference our work makes, thanks to the dedication and hard work of my skilled colleagues and volunteers.
Highlights of being a Trustee
My best moments have been sharing in joy of hearing about a new partnership between a Seeing Dog and user or hearing about a puppy walker’s wonderful experiences with a puppy prior to starting training with our Mobility Instructor, John Grave, or catching up with Trustees at our first face-to-face meeting and enjoying a first coffee together when lockdown restrictions were lifted in England and we could meet up in person.
In short, it is in being a presence at Seeing Dogs and being part of an amazing, like-minded, selfless, and focused organisation, that makes being a Trustee so energising.
This being the case, I hope to continue the journey with this amazing charity for many years to come.
Please get in touch to see how you can get involved with the amazing Seeing Dogs’ team in whatever way you can to make a difference.