A new car is helping Guide Dogs visit more Queenslanders in regional and rural areas.
Funded by a grant from Eastern Star Foundation, the vehicle is being used to better support people aged 55 and above – aligning with Eastern Star Foundation’s mission to improve outcomes for the aging community.
The car was unveiled recently, and has already helped the Guide Dogs team visit Queenslanders from the southern-most parts of the Gold Coast, north to Hervey Bay and throughout regional and rural parts of Queensland.
Guide Dogs Queensland General Manager Jock Beveridge thanked Eastern Star Foundation for the grant which is being used to assist the training of people with low vision and blindness.
“We know that a lot of people have some form of vision loss as they get older. When a person’s vision deteriorates, they can become more socially isolated, and a lot of times may need help from organisations such as Guide Dogs, but won’t necessarily seek out help,” Mr Beveridge explained.
“The more Guide Dogs can help people do the things they did before their vision loss, the more active they can remain in their community, and the more independent they can be.
“We are extremely grateful for the support of the Eastern Star Foundation and its members who saw the need we had to be able to better connect with people in their community. We are already able to see the huge difference this grant makes towards helping our clients.”
Generous community support contributes 90% of the funding Guide Dogs needs each year.
“Not only is the vehicle a huge help, but the grant covering the running costs for the first year allows us to help even more Queenslanders with the support and services they need to live their life confidently, and with independence,”Mr Beveridge said.
Guide Dogs is well-known for its Guide Dogs, but also offers a wide range of support services through every stage of a person’s journey with vision loss or blindness. From helping small babies learn about their environment without using sight, through to training with white canes, Guide Dogs has been helping Queenslanders for more than 60 years.
Eastern Star Foundation Chairman Jonathan Nantes congratulated Guide Dogs Queensland on the launch of their new vehicle.
“Eastern Star Foundation is proud to partner with Guide Dogs Queensland on this important initiative,” Mr Nantes said.
“We are focused on empowering those who enhance the quality of life of our ageing communities.
“We commend Guide Dogs Queensland for its support of older Queenslanders with low or no vision, and are pleased to help catalyse their vital work.”
Photo: Eastern Star Foundation Directors and Guide Dogs Queensland CEO Michael Kightley with their new community vehicle.