Connecting through the Client and Carer Reference Groups

Phil who is the chair for the Guide Dogs Client and Carer Reference Group. Picture: Fiona Harding

We have established four Client and Carer Reference Groups and need your involvement. Members of these groups help us by sharing their views and opinions.

To continue providing quality services across our organisation, we seek valuable feedback into what we are doing well; or not so well and how we can improve.

A chairperson for each group has been appointed – meet:

  • Trish Filby, Senior Physiotherapist at the Royal Hobart Hospital, who is chair of the Kites Children’s Therapy.
  • Phil Menzies, who has been a Guide Dog handler for over 30 years, is leading our Dog Service Group.
  • Jenny Dawson, a long-standing advocate for people with vision loss, also a VisAbility Board director, is chair of the Vision Specialist Group.
  • Gawain Siu who runs our Tai Chi community classes at Perron Place is the the chair of this group.

Why join the Carer and Client Reference Group?

Phil, who has been involved in fundraising for Guide Dogs Tasmania, highlighted how participating in the group offered a great opportunity to share his Guide Dog handling knowledge. By sharing his experiences, he hopes to help others, especially those new to vision loss.

“In the group we can chat, ask questions and share tips on everyday life. When I received my first Guide Dog, there were no trainers in Tassie at the time. This was back in the 80’s. I only had four weeks with a trainer with me and the dog. Then they went back to the mainland,”

“We would go on a walk and I would think, should the dog be doing this? There wasn’t really anyone I could chat to receive other people’s experiences. Training with a dog is good but putting it into reality is very different. I hope that more people will step up to the challenge and join in.”

Be involved

We’d like ten people in each of the groups and are especially looking for people to join Guide Dog Services and Kites.

Join us! You must be able to commit to the meetings regularly. Meetings are bi-monthly (that’s every two months) via phone or Zoom. You’ll meet other clients, carers and family members all from a variety of backgrounds and different ages.