WAY FORWARD: Sunshine Coast Concert Band music director Ken Chadwick gets to know guide dog Archise ahead of the Musical Paws concert.
WAY FORWARD: Sunshine Coast Concert Band music director Ken Chadwick gets to know guide dog Archise ahead of the Musical Paws concert. In Curry

Guide dogs to help the blind rely on community support

HUNDREDS of Coast residents living with a visual impairment rely on Guide Dogs Queensland for assistance.

As of April 1, 383 locals were accessing the charity's services, including guide dog training and placement, white cane training, electronic travel aid training, special mobility programs for children and counselling by staff psychologists.

All this is provided for free, with government funding covering only 7% of costs.

GDQ community relations manager Olwyn Kerr said the vast bulk of the charity's funds came from generous community members.

"Guide Dogs Queensland relies on the support of the community," she said.

"Every dollar we get is very much treasured."

Each assistance dog costs $30,000 to train.

WHAT'S MAKING NEWS ON THE COAST TODAY

There are eight working guide dogs in the Sunshine Coast and Wide Bay area, and five people in that region waiting on dogs.

For the second year in a row the Sunshine Coast Concert Band has come on board with its Musical Paws fund-raising concert for GDQ.

Music director Ken Chadwick will lead the 40-strong band, with performances from soloists Lynn Jones and Warren Bradley, and singers Alan Winter and Tanya McFadyen.

Hits such as Hound Dog will make a very appropriate appearance on the program.

Mr Chadwick hoped as many people as possible would attend the concert to get behind GDQ.

"It (supporting charities) is what we do," he said.

"It's very satisfying from our point of view."

The Musical Paws concert will be held at the Kawana Community Hall, Nanyima St, Buddina, on Sunday, April 19, from 2pm.

Admission costs $15, which includes afternoon tea and the chance to win a lucky-door prize.

Bookings are essential. Phone GDQ on 5443 8033 or go to sunshine@guidedogsqld.com.au.

Visit http://www.sccb.org.au and http://www.guidedogsqld.com.au.

- EMILY DITCHBURN

Guide Dogs Queensland costs: Feed a litter of puppies for a day $25 Folding mobility cane $50Children's rainbow-coloured cane $70Guide Dog instructor for one hour $100Puppy vaccination $150Guide dog harness $200UltraCane $1000

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