Penny’s Blog: Cake, Guide Dogs and Access Groups

With my laptop recovered from its major operation I am back on my blog this week…

Oh and it must have been especially for my blog, but on the radio on the way in this morning they were talking about…. Cake…. Victoria Sandwich to be precise and whether it should have cream, buttercream or just jam!

Again it was amazing how many people were engaged with talking about cake, it’s a great conversation starter….


My visit to the Guide Dog Association


Anyway last week I visited one of the Guide Dog Associations local forums in North Walsham.

Co-ordinated by Chris Bridgeman the meeting was very informative and a great place to meet.

A range of speakers including myself on all things Equal Lives, which was informative, but not as cute and cuddly as the gorgeous puppy that attended with their puppy walker. The puppy walker told everyone what the extensive role of a puppy walker is, and the vital part it plays in establishing the basic skills a guide dog needs to have mastered before it goes into its full on training.

A brief talk was given about the Norfolk and Norwich Association for the Blind (NNAB) and this will be followed at the next meeting with a more extensive talk with the NNAB’s Chief Executive.

Everyone joined in with questions, comments and their experiences which made it a very interactive and enjoyable meeting.

Following the meeting, everyone went over to the Black Swan for lunch and the conversations continued to flow, along with the food. Don’t think I mentioned it, but sometimes other Guide Dog forums also go for coffee and cake – Ha Ha had to get it in!

Guide Dogs Logo

Just a bit about what the Forums are for and when and where:

Guide Dogs Forums

The forums are there to provide information, and to share news from other agencies to help change and breakdown physical barriers locally. This could be local campaigning around pavement parking, dog attacks, A-Boards, Street Clutter etc.  It also provides a platform for anyone living with sight loss to be heard.

The forum is a safe place for people to meet, chat and make new friends. Whilst sharing and receiving information externally, with the ability of speaking to key influencers within the community.

Guide dogs welcome anyone who has sight loss, their friends and family members, their supporters and volunteers, partners and stakeholders.

“Together we make our community and together we can strengthen it to make it better for us all.”

Dates, times and venues:


Norwich: The Annesley House Hotel 11am to 1pm. (this may change)

May 9th, August 8th, October 10th, December 19th

Co-ordinators: Scott Vallance (  Graham & Jill Darken (

Speakers Confirmed

  • May 9th: Trading Standards, St John Ambulance
  • August 8th: Holly Hodges Dog Care and Welfare Officer


North Walsham: Black Swan Loke, North Walsham, NR28 9BX. 11am to 1pm

July 24th, Oct 30th

Co-ordinator: Chris Bridgeman (

Speakers confirmed

  • Tuesday 24th June and Emma Lomas from Age UK, Along with Norfolk and Norwich Association for the Blind
  • Tuesday October 30th North Walsham Fire Crew and a representative from “just North Walsham” magazine


Kings Lynn: Yours Business Centre Kings Lynn

Thursday 13th Sept and Thursday 15th Nov

Co-ordinators: Gill Southgate (

Speakers Confirmed

  • Thursday 13th Sept Police Crime Commissioner Lorne Green, Colin Daniels Macular Society,
  • Thursday 15th Nov Warren Wilson RNIB Connect


Wymondham Access Group


I also attended the Wymondham Access Groups (WAG) Annual General meeting (AGM) which took place at the Wymondham Baptist Church.

The venue, which is the group’s new meeting home, was full of attendees for the meeting, and after a cuppa everyone sat down to look at what the group had been doing and what they were planning to do in the future.

The group, which gets ever busier is well established and known in the area. If you would like to find out more then you can contact them at

In the business of the day everyone said thank you to Neil Seach, who is stepping down as the Group’s Chairman.

It was Neil I first met and supported with the set up of the Wymondham Access Group. Its good to see all the work they have done and that they have a strong presence in the area plus a dedicated committee, members and supporters. They also have good links with local businesses, organisations and councils.

Wymondham Access Group logo


Taking over as chair at WAG is David Roberts, who I am sure will continue the excellent work. Although Neil has stepped down he will still be very much involved in the group going forward.

A very friendly, positive and busy group, so if you live in the area and would like to get involved then be assured of a warm welcome and oooooh I must say this…… they had….wait for it…… HOMEMADE CAKE!


For this week I am going to leave it there, there is so much going on and in future Blogs I will bring you info on the latest Rail Access meeting, more opportunities to get involved and the latest from the Disability Pride Event Planning Team….


Well actually I will just sneak in the ‘Save the Date’ poster here:


save the date disability pride logo


For more on this, please regularly visit my blog, Membership Monday on Facebook, our e-bulletin or by visiting the Disability Pride Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at:


Instagram: Norfolk Disability Pride




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