The Andrews Labor Government will provide $5 million towards the full redevelopment of Guide Dogs Victoria’s Kew campus in a major boost for support and services for people with sight loss across the state.
The $23.4 million redevelopment will help Guide Dogs Victoria establish the world’s first ‘sensory campus’ – a specially-designed facility will use lighting, scent, human enabled technology, braille and a range of tactile features to create an inclusive and inspiring learning environment for people with low vision or blindness.
The redevelopment will also deliver a veterinary hospital, teaching facility, doggie day care centre, low vision clinic and on site café that will provide job opportunities for people with low vision or blindness.
The modern education and training precinct will provide new opportunities for community engagement and education, and will enable Guide Dogs Victoria to meet the rapidly rising demand for vision support services in Victoria.
This commercial hub will create new and diverse revenue streams, helping Guide Dogs Victoria become self-sufficient and reducing the organisation’s reliance on government funding and philanthropic donations.
Construction will begin on the new facility later this year and is expected to be completed by 2021.
The Guide Dog Association first moved to the Kew site in 1957 where the first specially-designed Guide Dog Centre in the world was established.
From there the agency launched its puppy raising program enabling young pups to be socialised in a family environment before beginning their formal training.
Over time these services have extended beyond guide dogs to a wider range of vision support services, and community initiatives focused on raising awareness and empowering people with low vision or blindness to reach their goals.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Housing, Disability and Ageing Martin Foley
“Guide Dogs Victoria has been empowering people with low vision or blindness across the state for more than 60 years – this revamp will mean they can continue to grow and expand the vital services they provide.”
“It’s an exciting new chapter for the association to become financially self-sustaining but also to employ more people with disabilities through the great new business opportunities being added to the existing site.”
Quotes attributable to Guide Dogs Victoria CEO Karen Hayes
“This announcement heralds an exciting new era for Guide Dogs Victoria and the thousands of people with low vision and blindness that we support.”
“Not only will we be building the first fully accessible sensory campus in the world, we are building a sustainable future for our organisation to enable us to meet the rising demand for our vision support services.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020