Guide Dogs

A Shared Vision

We meet Samantha Aarvold, Head of Financial Control at Guide Dogs, who made the decision to switch banks to Barclays, and how that change helped both organisations find a shared vision.

Find out how we could support your business.

John Garrett – guide dog owner:

I lost my sight when I was 23 and I literally felt as though the bottom had dropped out of my world.

I will never be able to get my sight back but I have been given something that gives me the confidence to explore my world.

Samantha Aarvold, Head of Financial Control, Guide Dogs:

Guide Dogs For The Blind was founded in 1934 and for over 80 years we’ve been training guide dogs. We envisage a world in which blind and partially sighted people have the same mobility and ease of access to all environments as sighted people do.

Often people, if they’ve lost their sight, they’ve lost their confidence, they’ve lost their ability to take courageous decisions and having a guide dog as a living and breathing tool alongside them actually gives them that confidence back.

Our bank relationship is really important to our business. We’d been with our previous bank for well over 30 years.

Alan Bark, Relationship Director, Barclays:

I think Guide Dogs switched to Barclays on a number of factors. Our proposition to the charity sector is really really strong

Samantha Aarvold, Head of Financial Control, Guide Dogs:

One of the key things was that really strong sense that both organisations actively want to make the world a more accessible place for people. That shared value of saying each individual is valued, each individual has worth, that was critical to us.

Alan Bark, Relationship Director, Barclays:

I think what really swung it was some of the ideas and innovations that we have. High visibility debt and credit cards, talking ATMs as well as looking at bPay which is a wrist band almost like a contactless debit card on your wrist.

We’re looking at contactless donations, the tap and go approach for donations on a collection box.

Samantha Aarvold, Head of Financial Control, Guide Dogs:

We’ve been working alongside Barclays on sighted guide training for Barclays branch staff to make them aware of the specific mobility needs and access requirements that a blind or partially sighted bank user might have.

If I knew before what I know now, we would have looked at changing our bankers a long time ago. We had a lot of anxiety because of the pain of change.

Alan Bark, Relationship Director, Barclays:

Barclays has got a very very strong track record in migrating large corporates from one bank to another, really to hold the hand of the client through the process.

Samantha Aarvold, Head of Financial Control, Guide Dogs;

The big thing I've learnt is that with a Barclays Transition Team supporting you, actually its entirely a positive experience.

I think the future for Guide Dogs is a very exciting one, and with Barclays we have a shared vision for the future, and we have a shared ambition to use technology and develop things to really take forward the vision of both organisations.

John Garrett, guide dog owner:

When i use a stick its very much bound up with limitations and the things that i cant do. When i have a dog, i can go wherever i want to. My dog and i can walk around the world if we want to.

Founded in 1934 Guide Dogs provides ease of access for blind and partially-sighted people.

Having been with their previous bank for over 30 years, the thought of switching seemed onerous. And despite being a long-standing relationship, it went little beyond transactional processing.

With a strong understanding of the charities industry and mutual ambition to make the world more accessible, Barclays offered a partnership beyond banking.

The relationship we have with Barclays is so much more than the banking transactions.

Samantha Aarvold

Head of Financial Control, Guide Dogs

Barclays has an established accessibility agenda, having introduced high visibility debit and credit cards, talking ATMs and contactless donation buckets.

And our simple four-step process, single point of contact and dedicated Switching Team ensured the move to Barclays was seamless, with minimal disruption.

With a shared vision for the future, both organisations can continue to learn from and be guided by each other.


Read related insights


Giving: a new landscape

Charities across the UK are shifting to digital, transforming their fundraising strategies, adopting new technologies, and embracing innovation across a broader range of platforms.


The Future of Giving

This new charity report gathers insight from more than 2,000 Brits and 300 of the country’s biggest charities.

Industry expertise


Our team has over 100 years’ charity finance experience. We’ll help you get to the heart of the matter.


Barclaycard Payments

Powering your ambitions through payments, helping to keep you ahead in a constantly changing world. The payment part is just the start.

Contact us

Get in touch

To discuss your business requirements and how Barclays can support you, contact us today.