Inchcape Fleet Solutions in fundraising drive for guide dogs

Inchcape Fleet Solutions has donated 5,000 to registered charity Guide Dogs and looks forward to raising thousands of pounds more in the future as part of an innovative fleet contract and sponsorship arrangement.

The Guide Dogs for the Blind have been training dogs for over 75 years and have some 850 permanent staff as well as 14,000 volunteers spread over 29 locations across the UK. Their mission is to provide guide dogs and other mobility services that increase the independence and dignity of blind and partially-sighted people.

Inchcape Fleet Solutions has underlined its commitment to Guide Dogs by sponsoring and naming a puppy, which staff at the leading UK contract hire and fleet management company have decided to call Bart. Inchcape Fleet Solutions won a competitive tender to manage the charitys 500-strong fleet composed of 330 company cars and 170 vans last year. As part of the two-year contract with a one-year option to extend, the vehicle leasing and fleet management giant agreed to donate part of its annual management fee back to Guide Dogs.

Now Inchcape Fleet Solutions has made a donation of 5,000 to Guide Dogs charity representatives at its Head Offices in Portsmouth. The initial deal saw Inchcape Fleet Solutions, which operates a UK-wide fleet of more than 50,000 vehicles, provide fleet management, accident management and short-term rental vehicles to the charity.

However the charity, which buys its own vehicles, has now outsourced the entire fleet operation to Inchcape Fleet Solutions following a wide-ranging internal review. Now, Inchcape Fleet Solutions is providing a range of additional services to Guide Dogs including the buying and selling of all vehicles, occupational road risk management solutions for employees who drive their own vehicles on business trips through its Grey Matters initiative, and has developed a dedicated extranet site for access by company car drivers and fleet decision-makers.

The bespoke extranet functionality enables a full range of support to be delivered Guide Dogs employees covering operational and reporting capabilities including a comprehensive range of reporting and information interfaces with finance, HR and payroll systems. Availability of cars and vans is essential to The Guide Dogs for the Blind Associations services, allowing its professional trainers, with puppies and dogs to travel around the country.

David Brown, Inchcape Fleet Solutions account manager for the Guide Dogs fleet, has personally supported the charity for over 18 months, sponsoring trainee puppy Nevis. Inchcape Fleet Solutions directors and project team also attended the dogs dinner, a suppliers event designed to raise money for Guide Dogs. 

Inchcape Fleet Solutions managing director Terry Bartlett said: We are delighted to donate part of our fleet management fee back to Guide Dogs, which performs such a valuable role for so many people across Britain.

In the first 12 months of the partnership we proved our ability to effectively and efficiently manage the Guide Dogs fleet so are pleased our performance has been recognised with the charity deciding to move to a full outsourcing arrangement.

He added: We will continue to support the charity through further fund raising efforts as well as continuing to donate part of our annual management fee back to the organisation.

One of the additional ways we are supporting the charity is by sponsoring a puppy whose training path Im sure will be followed with close interest by all employees.

Commenting on Inchcape Fleet Solutions charitable initiatives, Mr Bartlett said: Over the years we have supported many local and national charities. Our decision to return part of our annual management fee to Guide Dogs is the first donation of its type we have undertaken.

We are always looking for innovative ways to support worthwhile causes and we would look to support other charities through such initiatives in the future.

Gareth Holmes from Guide Dogs corporate fundraising team said:  The guide dog service relies on voluntary donations; were delighted that Inchcape Fleet Solutions is combining its professional relationship with us as fleet supplier with this charitable initiative.

Photo caption (left to right): David Graham, Customer Services Director, Inchcape Fleet Solution; guide dog owner Vera Henning with Harley; Charlotte Dolman, Customer Service Advisor, Inchcape Fleet Solutions; and Gareth Holmes, National Account Manager, Guide Dogs for the Blind Association.

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