Donation means big boost to Seeing Eye Dogs puppy care program in Ballarat

28 November 2018

Ballarat people who are blind or have low vision will have better access to Vision Australia’s Seeing Eye Dogs thanks to a major donation from a trust administered by a local solicitor.

Andrew Byrne, of BJT Legal, will today donate $42,000 as trustee of the Dorothy Downey Charitable Trust to support the training of Seeing Eye Dogs in the Ballarat region for use by local people who are blind or have low vision.

Dorothy Downey, who passed away in 2005, directed that part of the funds from her trust would be used to assist people in the Ballarat region who, like her, experienced vision loss.

The donation will support the Seeing Eye Dogs ‘Puppy Care’ program in Ballarat, in which puppies are housed with local families from around eight weeks old until they are ready for formal training at the age of 12 to 15 months. Puppy carers socialise their pups, introducing them to the world around them and performing training exercises with support from the Seeing Eye Dogs Training team. All costs including food, veterinary care and equipment, are covered.

“A very important factor in considering donations from the trust is that they have to benefit people in the Ballarat region specifically, and Vision Australia is the best organisation in this area to help people with vision difficulties,” Mr Byrne said.

“The organisation was very good with my parents, who both suffered vision loss. They do great work with people who are having difficulty with their vision.”

Vision Australia has received more than $226,000 from the trust since its inception. “Through the Dorothy Downey Charitable Trust, Andrew has supported a range of Vision Australia projects with many transformational gifts in the past decade,” Vision Australia major gifts fundraiser Alexandra Erjavec said.

“We are very grateful for his support. His contribution will benefit everyone in this region who is blind or has low vision by giving them greater access to the tools they need to enjoy an active, independent lifestyle at home and at work.”

If you would like to assist Vision Australia’s vital work, please phone 1300 84 74 66.