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Guide Dogs Annual Report 2022/2023

Image of Jason hugging Tyson

Message from

In the past year, Guide Dogs Queensland (GDQ) has made significant progress—expanding our services in Queensland, supporting Guide Dog schools nationally and globally, and achieving the core objectives of our current three-year strategic plan, which runs through to June 2024.

We welcomed 68 new Guide Dog pups, facilitated 112 active Guide Dog teams, and devoted 14,989 hours to supporting Queenslanders with low vision or blindness from all over Queensland. These vital services were made possible by the immense support of our volunteers and our community of donors and fundraisers, who contribute over 85% of our annual funding.

With a growing reputation for high quality dogs and uniquely skilled staff, GDQ was contracted to deliver placement and training services with sister schools in Victoria, South Australia, the Northern Territory and New Zealand. These were excellent professional development opportunities for our staff and a great way to amplify our impact on the lives
of people with low vision or blindness.

One of the highlights of the year was showcasing our new training program for Guide Dog Mobility Specialists at the International Guide Dog Federation (IGDF) conference in Vancouver. It was recognised as a world class program, with the IGDF recognising it as setting a new standard in online training, which is now being utilised
by a broad range of schools globally.

In March, GDQ successfully achieved its re-accreditation with the IGDF. This process involves a multi-day audit from an international inspector on all aspects of GDQ’s Guide Dog breeding and training program. We were pleased to be provided with a glowing endorsement from the Taiwanese inspector who noted substantial progress across all facets of the program since the last audit four years ago.

We are proud to have just delivered our first Guide Dogs Social Impact Report, a national initiative led by Queensland. This comprehensive report assesses the tangible impact of our services on our clients’ lives, employing a robust, quantifiable framework across six impact domains. This vital resource will not only inform our future program design and strategy but will support funding applications and add depth and meaning to our communications with clients. Some key findings from the report are captured in this annual report, with the full report available
on our website.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to our generous community of donors and fundraisers. Your unwavering support fuels our mission, enabling us to provide essential services to those in need.

We also acknowledge the critical role of volunteers. From Puppy Raisers to board members and a myriad of roles in between, more than 600 dedicated volunteers have contributed many thousands of hours of service to GDQ over the year.

We recognise the conclusion of Michael Kightley’s tenure as GDQ’s Chief Executive Officer. Michael made a significant contribution to GDQ over more than 11 years, including service as a volunteer, board member and, for 6 ½ years, as CEO.

Michael’s leadership positioned us on a trajectory of growth, which we will continue to build upon in the coming year.

The board has asked Jock Beveridge to act as Chief Executive Officer while the board consider a permanent appointment to this important role during FY24. Jock will be well known to many in the GDQ community as General Manager Community Engagement for the past six years.

With your continued support, we look forward to another successful year in 2023/24, advancing our mission and positively impacting the lives of those we serve.

Richard Anderson OAM
President

Jock Beveridge
Acting CEO

Patron's Message

As Patron of Guide Dogs Queensland, I commend you for another year of empowering people with vision loss to achieve independence and more fully participate in society and community life.

For more than 60 years, this incredible organisation has supported people with low vision and blindness in countless ways, and rightly earned the trust and respect of Queenslanders in the process.

And you’ve raised many thousands of canine aids to provide not only practical help in navigating all manner of private and public spaces, but companionship for those who might otherwise feel isolated.

Guide Dogs Queensland’s dedicated ‘puppy raisers’ and trainers may be the envy of those of us with an affinity for our furry friends, but it’s a serious job that can have life-or-death consequences.

Guide Dogs must learn skills such as locating safe road crossing points, stopping at kerbs, guiding their handlers around stationary obstacles, avoiding overhanging branches and other height obstacles, and navigating such challenges as seats and stairs.

Her Excellency the Honourable Dr Jeannette Young PSM Governor of Queensland standing next to a side table with a framed photo of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

It’s a huge responsibility, and we as society should support them in whatever way we can. That could be by helping to raise the funds on which Guide Dogs Queensland relies, becoming a Puppy Pal, or even rehoming a retired Guide Dog.

At the very least, we must ensure we welcome these good boys and girls into all the places their handlers wish to go, as is their legal right, and by allowing them to focus on the task at hand.

On behalf of all Queenslanders, I thank you for all your do to promote the participation, inclusion and wellbeing of those with low vision and blindness, and for allowing us to help, too.

Her Excellency the Honourable Dr Jeannette Young AC PSM
Governor of Queensland
Patron of Guide Dogs Queensland

Social impact

71%

of Clients say they are more able to live the life they want.

80%

of Clients say they are more confident getting out and about.

73%

of Clients say they have more choice in how they go about each day.

78%

of Clients say they are more confident doing daily activities.

73%

of Clients say they feel more positive about the future.

77%

of Clients say they feel more confident in themselves and what they can do.

68%

of Clients say they spend more quality time with the people they care about.

79%

of Clients say they are more independent when getting out and about.

The impact your support has made

In an unexpected turn of events, Sarah needed a new start.
At 35 years old, most young adults are thinking about buying a home, starting a family or travelling the world but for Sarah, it was different.

In February 2022, Sarah needed new contact lenses and to have her vision re-tested. To Sarah’s surprise, she couldn’t read any letters on the chart. After some investigation, Sarah received her official diagnosis in June 2022 of Bilateral Lebers Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON) – a rare condition characterised by a painless and almost sudden vision loss that develops in young adulthood.

Sarah is standing in front of a pond surrounded by gardens and small waterfalls. Sarah is holding her White Cane and smiling at the camera

Our incredible supporters

Barron Barnett Lodge making a difference

What makes a Guide Dog truly unique is the passion and commitment they bring out in the community. When John Zamofing, a member of Barron and Barnett Lodge crossed paths with a Guide-Dog-in-training during a visit to another lodge, he knew this was a cause he wanted to get behind.

Since then, Barron Barnett Lodge has joined forces with Guide Dogs Queensland, as community sponsors, to help raise awareness and support for Guide Dogs. A year later, their support and generosity has helped so many people living with low vision or blindness.

Read more

 


Davey: a special pup with a special legacy
Usually sponsors and donors name new pups, but last year Guide Dogs Queensland gave the public the opportunity to name the newest litter. One pup was given a very special legacy, named ‘Davey’ in honour of late Queensland Police Senior Constable, Dave Masters, who was tragically killed on duty in 2021.

One year on, Guide Dog Davey is all grown up and has recently graduated alongside his brothers and sisters to the next stage of his journey to becoming a Guide Dog.

Read more

Graduation 2022

In October 2022, Guide Dogs Queensland celebrated one of our favourite events of the year – graduation! This year’s ceremony was one of our largest yet with nearly 300 people attending to celebrate freedom, mobility, and independence.

It was a fantastic day to honour our Clients and the amazing dogs who graduated into a range of careers including Guide Dogs and Therapy Dogs. A big shout out to our incredible Trainers, Puppy Raisers, volunteers, staff members and of course the family and friends of the graduates who have helped to support our Clients and graduating dogs every step of their journey.

From everyone at Guide Dogs we would like to wish our graduates the very best in their future endeavours. Thank you to the volunteers, guests, current and former board members, and former Governor of Queensland and Patron of Guide Dogs Queensland, Her Excellency the Honourable Dr Jeanette Young AC PSM, who joined us for the celebrations.

Dog’s day out

Our Guide Dogs Services team recently conducted a training walk with Guide Dogs-in-training, Valentine and Whitney, taking them through the botanic gardens, over the Goodwill Bridge into Southbank, followed by a ferry ride back to Eagle Street. Reports are both Valentine and Whitney handled the experience with flying colours!

It’s not every day you see a dog learn to catch public transport, however for Guide Dogs-in-training it’s an essential part of their learning and development.

2023 Puppies

Thanks to your support, Link from the L Litter has come a long, long way from the fluffy little puppy we introduced you to in our Autumn Guide Dogs Tales earlier this year. These paws were made for walking!

Thank you to our incredible volunteers

For Shelley, volunteering was the perfect way to not just meet people from all walks of life and give back to the community, but also a way to get her dog fix!

Shelley’s made life-long friendships through her volunteering efforts, and has offered the following advice for anyone considering becoming a volunteer.

“Try to volunteer in all areas,” she said.

“You really will meet some wonderful people and it truly enriches your life.”

To celebrate the wonderful volunteers of Guide Dogs, people like Shelley came together in May for National Volunteer Week morning tea events around Queensland. This year’s theme was all about The Change-Makers.

In Brisbane, volunteers were treated to a dog training demonstration, exclusive site tours, and heard from guest speaker and Volunteer Client Ambassador Jason about how Guide Dog Tyson has changed his life for the better.

A huge thank you to all the incredible volunteers and change-makers who dedicate their time to helping Queenslanders live the independent life they choose.

Shelley is smiling at the camera and has her arm around yellow Labrador and Guide Dogs ambassador dog, Vanda.

Meet the Board

They have a wide range of expertise, especially in the areas of law, economics, property, finance, fundraising and healthcare.

The Guide Dogs Board has worked hard to ensure that Guide Dogs stayed on track as we and the rest of the world were faced with the enormous challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic.

Download Annual Report

Audio Annual Report

Download Financial Report

Our Supporters

Our Legacy Givers