Convention centres across Australia have repurposed their venues in different ways during the ongoing restrictions on meetings, with Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre’s (MCEC) latest partnership offering assistance to Victorians with low vision or blindness.
The venue is being used as a space for the training of Guide Dogs Victoria clients and Guide Dogs-in-training to ensure those with low vision or blindness can continue to receive essential services during the lockdowns.
While MCEC is currently closed to the public, Guide Dogs Victoria has also faced significant challenges during this time.
“Thanks to Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, Guide Dogs Victoria has been able to continue to provide essential services to Clients and train life-changing Guide Dogs during this lockdown,” said Guide Dogs Victoria’s CEO Karen Hayes.
“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.
“Furthermore, with such strict government restrictions aimed at keeping us all safe, it is fabulous to have a space like MCEC where Clients and our dogs we can still train ‘real world’ experiences. They can practice navigating escalators, elevators, stairs, and chairs to name a few examples, but in an environment that is safely contained and controlled.”
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.”