Paws what you’re currently doing and read this heart-warming story. Guide Dogs Victoria (GDV) and the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) have entered a partnership to ensure Victorians with low vision or blindness can continue to receive essential services during COVID-19 lockdowns.

With the MCEC currently closed to the public, the venue is being used as a space for the training of Guide Dogs Victoria clients and guide dogs in training. As well as being free, the environment is safe, contained and accessible for GDV’s clients.

GDV CEO Karen Hayes AM said the collaboration with MCEC had made a significant difference to GDV being able to continue delivering guide dog services during these challenging times.

“Thanks to MCEC, GDV has been able to continue to provide essential services to clients and train life-changing Guide Dogs during this lockdown,” she said.

“We know that our clients have felt significant isolation and an increasing loss of confidence, as the restrictions continued. We are incredibly grateful to MCEC for working creatively with us to get people back on track to be confident and independent again.

MCEC chief executive Peter King said the venue shares GDV’s commitment to creating welcoming and inclusive spaces for people with low vision and blindness.

“We have an environment that is accessible and safe for GDV to provide their training and essential services and the lockdown has meant we can offer the space they need,” he said.

“In these unpredictable times we need to pull together as a community and be resourceful to help those who need our support.”

GDV’s guide dog mobility instructors and clients began training at MCEC in September and will continue using the venue as a training space while space is not in use.