NFP Collaboration Key to Success
Tuesday, 25th March 2014 at 9:01 am
Seeing Eye Dogs Australia’s new Kennel and Puppy Centre is “living proof” that Not for Profit mergers do create more opportunities for clients, says Dr Kevin Murfitt, chair of Vision Australia, a national provider of blindness and low vision services.
|Vision Australia Chair Dr Kevin Murfitt at the official opening of the Seeing Eye Dogs Australia's new Kennel and Puppy Centre.|
The $8 million Centre, which was fully funded by donations including a $1million corporate donation from eftpos, will allow Seeing Eye Dogs Australia to increase the number of assistance dogs they raise from 43 dogs to 100 – ultimately reducing the wait list for a seeing eye dog from two years to six months.
“When Seeing Eye Dogs Australia merged with Vision Australia in 2008 our aim was to develop a breeding and training program and increase the number of seeing eye dogs and client partners,” Dr Murfitt said at the centre’s official opening.
“This new facility enables us to achieve those goals and it also a significant example of the success of this merger and the potential for further partnerships.
“It also enables Vision Australia to respond to significant unmet need. We know based on studies overseas that approximately 2000 Australians would use a dog guide if it was available to them.”
Vision Australia was formed in 2004 following the merger of the Royal Blind Society, the Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind, Vision Australia Foundation, and the National Information Library Services.
In July 2008 Seeing Eye Dogs Australia merged with Vision Australia, making Vision Australia the only national provider of dog guide services.
It expanded again in December 2006 through the amalgamation of Royal Blind Foundation Queensland and in November 2007, Hear a Book, a Tasmanian producer of audio books.
|Federal Assistant Social Services Minister Mitch Fifield officially opened the centre.|
“Increasingly with changes with disability now with the National Disability Scheme a lot of disability organisations, including in the blindness sector, are working together collaboratively to tell the government what the real needs of the blind and people with low vision is,” Dr Murfitt said.
“The opening of the centre is just living proof that by working together you create more opportunity for clients rather than having different infrastructure for clients.”
Dr Murfitt said the Kennel and Puppy Centre was about six years in the making, including a concentrated campaign to fundraise for the centre.
“We have a wonderfully generous community out there and they managed to fundraise $8 million to get this facility done,” Dr Murfitt said.
“eftpos was a real key to the campaign because it was one of the key things the public saw that it was giving to, so certainly eftpos and Victoria Racing Club – they were fantastic for the Pin and Win campaign.”
Dr Murfitt said the Pin and Win campaign, in which VRC chooses a contracted charity to sell Emirates Melbourne Cup lapel pins before and during the Melbourne Cup Carnival, was run over two years despite VRC usually only choosing on charity for the year because they saw “the value in this”.
“This [centre] enables Vision Australia to create a focused environment and facilitate closer collaboration between trainers, instructors and clients as an organisation we are also pleased to welcome the public to this new facility,” Dr Murfitt said.
He said with the centre open to the public, puppy sponsors will have the chance to see first hand where their contribution will be going to – an opportunity that’s only available at three places worldwide.
“This facility is part of a long term strategy for Vision Australia to support people who are blind or have low vision to live the lives they should,” he said.
Seeing Eye Dogs Australia’s new Kennel and Puppy Centre includes:
An Indoor/ Outdoor puppy play centre: Allows puppies play time, maintaining their social wellbeing;
Kennels and Public Viewing platform: Automatic kennel doors (an Australian first) which open through a timer system and allow dogs access to toilets;
Sound system that continuously plays music to calm the dogs;
Viewing platform allowing visitors to see how the dogs are looked after while training;
Each kennel has an individual day yard, low walls to reduce stress as dogs can see their surroundings;
CCTV cameras, which allow SEDA staff to monitor dogs both on and offsite;
Computer controlled dispensers that deliver precise measurement of disease control cleaning solutions;
Swimming and Rehabilitation Pool: Assists with the dogs social wellbeing and health, and
helps them to recover from any injuries quicker allowing them to exercise without impact and retain muscle strength;
Whelping rooms that contain viewing window for staff to monitor the birth of the pups and wellbeing of the mother, CCTV which allows staff to log on and check the condition of the mother and pups;
Donors will also be able to log on and choose a pup they would like to sponsor during the eight weeks in the puppy centre;
Free run area: A safe, flat area where dogs are able to exercise.