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Building on our beloved history to create a better tomorrow.

Annual report FY21

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A mother and young child embrace. The mother is cuddling her child from behind.
Two Labrador puppies sit next to each other outside
Yellow Labrador playing with a classic KONG

Our mission.

To empower people with low vision or blindness to actively participate in their communities.

Our vision.

Low vision or blindness will not limit independence.

Our purpose.

We see beyond sight loss:

  • Guiding Clients to independence,
  • Seeking new ways to prevent blindness,
  • Creating connected communities.
A yellow labrador Guide Dog in harness sitting on its back legs. The dog is looking straight at the camera and the Sydney Harbour is in the background.

Key messages.

A message from our CEO

A focus on innovation and exploration has been the backbone of Guide Dogs NSW/ACT.

Guide Dogs New South Wales Chief Executive Officer, Dale Cleaver. Dale is seated next to a yellow labrador dog. Dale and the dog are both looking at the camera and Dale is smiling.

A report from our Chairperson

Soaring above and beyond the challenges of the past year.

A portrait of Kieran Lane

A message from our Patrons

A message from the joint Patrons of Guide Dogs NSW/ACT.

A portrait of Margaret Beazley and Dennis Wilson

Our Clients.


hours of Client Services delivered including 35,323 hours for regional Clients.


lives positively impacted through our services, including Clients and their support networks.


white canes, tips and accessories provided.

Mother And Son smiling and hugging on a lounge

Client programs delivered.

A walk from the heart.

David Guide Dogs NSW/ACT Client
Quote by David

Services breakdown by type

  • Assistive Technology — 5%
  • Guide Dog Mobility Training — 21%
  • Occupational Therapy — 6%
  • Orientation and Mobility Training — 60%
  • Orthoptics — 8%

Karlee's story

A perfect match.

Born with a rare genetic eye disorder that causes severe low vision, eighteen-year-old Karlee has risen against the odds to achieve exceptional results at school, begin a medical science degree and carve out a stellar career in competitive athletics!

Centre for Eye Health

Guide Dogs NSW/ACT, in collaboration with The University of NSW, funds the Centre for Eye Health (CFEH). CFEH provides eye-disease assessment, management and treatments to patients at no cost. CFEH also undertakes world-class research and educates Optometrists to help decrease low vision and blindness within our community.

Impact of CFEH in FY21:

13,600 diagnostic and management eye consultations
8,160 patients examined for Glaucoma
2,720 age-related Macular Degeneration patients examined
1,904 Diabetic Retinopathy patients examined
816 patients examined for other conditions requiring urgent eye care

Our dogs.


hours of dog training sessions.


puppies born.


working Guide Dogs in the community.


Court Companion Dogs in the community.

We matched 126 dogs with their new Handlers including:


Guide Dogs.


Therapy Dogs.


Breeding Stock Dogs.

Collaboration proves crucial during COVID-19.

During COVID-19 lockdowns in Melbourne last year, telehealth practices went a long way towards supporting those who needed Guide Dogs Victoria the most – but what about the dogs? After all, they still needed to graduate on time so they could go on to make a vital difference in the lives of people with low vision or blindness. But COVID-19 restrictions had drastically limited the number of Guide Dog Trainers allowed onsite and this was one group of students who couldn’t be home-schooled.

That’s when the true spirit of collaboration and innovation shared by Guide Dogs Victoria and Guide Dogs NSW/ACT really kicked into high gear, and we stepped in to help their pups progress. Six pups in training were driven up to Guide Dogs NSW/ACT in August 2020 where they were greeted by Guide Dog Trainer, Gina.

Zadek, Zenda, Zosh, Carla, Watson and Volku quickly settled into their new home where they would spend the next three months being cared for – and of course put through their paces – by Gina and the Guide Dogs NSW/ACT team.

In November 2020, five of the pups had taken the next steps towards their new careers with two placed as Therapy Dogs in NSW, and three returning to Guide Dogs Victoria, ready for their final assessment to become fully qualified Guide Dogs. (While enthusiastic and loveable, the sixth pup Zadek didn’t quite have the skills needed to become a working dog and was reclassified and placed into a new home as a beloved pet.)

This was a huge achievement, not only for our Trainers across both states, but for the volunteer Puppy Raisers who had opened their homes and hearts to these pups who then faced an uncertain future once COVID-19 restrictions tightened across Victoria.

Most importantly, the strong bond we share with other Guide Dogs organisations – both nationally and internationally – led to improved outcomes for our Clients amidst some of the toughest times we have experienced as an organisation, and as a country.

A person walking down the street with their yellow labrador Guide Dog who is in a harness.

Meet Checkers

Meet Checkers, our longest-serving Court Companion.

This much-loved black male Labrador helps to create a friendly environment and reduce stress for court visitors. Guide Dogs NSW/ACT Puppy Raiser and Volunteer Handler, Gabbie, was paired with Checkers at the start of the program in 2018 and has been with him ever since.

Checkers takes on an extra bouncy and friendly persona when he is wearing his court uniform and has converted many court visitors into “dog people”. He enjoys spending time with Police Officers – recognising their distinctive uniform and heading their way for a pat.

The Canine Court Companion Program is a partnership led by Victims Services, NSW Courts and Tribunals and Guide Dogs NSW/ACT.

Canine Court Companion Dog Checkers at work

Our people.

Guide Dogs NSW/ACT wins SafeWork NSW Award.

In October 2020, Guide Dogs NSW/ACT was recognised for excellence and innovation in its work, health and safety response to COVID-19, winning a 2020 SafeWork NSW Award for ‘Outstanding work, health and safety response to the changed working environment due to COVID-19’.

A man hugging a yellow Labrador.



volunteer Puppy Raising hours.


Puppy Raisers.


Guide Dog Centre volunteers.


Canine Court Companion Program volunteers.

Celebrating staff milestones.

30 Years.

Michael Poynting – Guide Dog Program Integration Manager.

25 Years.

Barbara Bonfield – casual Speaker.

Belinda Carroll – Location Lead.

20 Years.

Anthony Woollam – Grounds and Maintenance Coordinator.

Jessie Jiang – Orientation and Mobility Specialist.

15 Years.

Christina Iffland – Supporter Experience Officer.

Kelly Prentice – Research and Project Coordinator.

Nathan Burford – Orientation and Mobility Specialist.

10 Years.

Kerry Chauncy – Puppy Development Advisor.

Our supporters.


raised from 143,471 donations


new Daisy Foundation members


Major Supporters donating more than $5,000


Guide Dog Partners

Instilling the value of giving back.

Inspired to give by the sight loss of his father, Harry, and subsequent support from Guide Dogs, Ron and his partner Louise have extensively supported Guide Dogs’ capital works at Glossodia and dog services support.

A black Guide Dog in harness.

Top 10 Donation Dogs.

  • Coles Supermarkets
  • Woolworths Supermarkets
  • Gilgandra Services Club
  • Merimbula RSL Club Ltd
  • Cabra-Vale Diggers Club
  • Blacktown RSL Club
  • Wests Nelson Bay
  • Soldiers Point Bowling Club
  • Bondi Junction Veterinary Hospital
  • IGA Supermarkets

Support groups.

  • Central Coast Support Group
  • Dubbo Support Group
  • Mudgee Support Group
  • Moree Support Group
  • Tamworth Support Group

Our National Corporate Partners.

We are so fortunate to have the support of a passionate group of National Corporate Partners who assist us through donations, products and services in kind, volunteering, and workplace giving.

We are proud to partner with the following organisations:

  • Advance logo
  • Boehringer Ingelheim logo
  • Coles logo.
  • Greenstone logo.
  • Idexx Laboratories logo.
  • KONG company logo.
  • Paw by Blackmores logo
  • Petstock logo.
  • Dimple logo.

We would also like to acknowledge the generous workplace giving donations received from staff at the following organisations:

  • AMP Foundation
  • BHP
  • Lion
  • PETstock Assist
  • The Deloitte Foundation
  • Viva Energy Australia
  • Westpac Group

We thank all of our partners.

We thank all of our National Corporate Partners for their ongoing commitment to our important work and their passion for supporting Australians living with low vision or blindness to reach their full potential.

Our reach.


social media impressions across all Guide Dogs Australia social channels.


social media increase year-on-year.


Guide Dogs NSW/ACT website sessions.


website sessions increase year-on-year.

A person sitting at a cafe looking at their phone smiling.

Media reach.

A brand new chapter for Guide Dogs.

At the start of 2021, we were very excited to introduce our new Guide Dogs brand.

At the start of 2021, we were very excited to introduce our new Guide Dogs brand. Building on our beloved history, our new brand better reflects how we support people living with low vision or blindness today.

At Guide Dogs, we know the power of putting one foot in front of the other to face the world with courage. Our new brand is our way of carrying on with confidence. Our new brand builds on our beloved history, while telling a new story to better reflect how we’ll move forward together.

As one of Australia’s most trusted charities, our organisation draws on more than 60 years’ experience supporting people with low vision or blindness. A lot has changed in those 60 years. Today, we offer so many life-changing supports to all kinds of people in the community. We’ve added so many exciting chapters to our story.

To reflect these changes, we’ve created a new, more accessible Guide Dogs brand that will improve the way we sound and feel through images, colours, the way we talk, and more.

In the past, our brand has also not been as accessible as it should be for our Clients, and many of our supporters, employees and volunteers. In fact, people have told us of their challenges while reading and interacting with our brand in different situations.

Plus, our previous brand didn’t present the Guide Dogs family – which is a collection of state-based organisations – as one unified team offering the same services and supports to people no matter where our Clients live or their financial situation.

By exploring new ways for our brand to sound, look and feel, we can tell a story that better represents Guide Dogs, and ultimately provide better supports for people with low vision or blindness and their support networks.

Our brand launch gained great exposure in the press early on, including in:

In late 2021, the new Guide Dogs websites won gold in the annual global W3 Awards, were shortlisted in the Australian Access Awards*, and Guide Dogs – along with brand transformation partners FutureBrand – was shortlisted in three categories as part of the Transform Awards ANZ* for:

  • Best Creative Strategy
  • Best brand development project to reflect changed mission, values or positioning
  • Best visual identity by a charity, NGO or NFP

*As at the time of publication, winners had not been announced.

A selection of Directional Graphics interchange with images of people, puppies and Guide Dogs of all different ages.

A selection of Directional Graphics interchange with images of people, puppies and Guide Dogs of all different ages.

Major campaigns

At Guide Dogs, Trust is at the heart of everything we do.

People with low vision or blindness experience access challenges daily.

Video description: Michelle and Broden, a woman and a man, walk into an almost empty cafe but are refused a seat inside and are made to sit in the carpark by the bins. Later, Michelle and Broden are rejected a ride by a driver who refuses Broden access to his car. A new ride arrives and a Handler and her black Guide Dog enter the car. They are the real Michelle and Broden. The car drives off into the distance.

Creating connected communities

At Guide Dogs NSW/ACT, our Access and Advocacy Teams work tirelessly to remove barriers.

A person using their white cane at the train station while being guided by a train station attendant.


Income $
Gifts in Wills 20,043,415
Donations and other fundraising activities 11,363,195
NDIS, Medicare and other government revenue 5,898,879
Income from investments 2,138,559
Contract Services income 422,193
Other income 629,073
Total Revenue 40,495,314

Percentage of Income

  • Gifts in Wills — 49%
  • Donations and other fundraising activities — 28%
  • NDIS, Medicare and other government revenue — 15%
  • Income from investments — 5%
  • Contract Services income  — 1%
  • Other income  — 2%


Expenditure $
Client and community services 23,639,000
Costs of fundraising and gifts in Wills 5,545,665
Marketing 1,270,359
Governance, finance, and administration 6,198,096
Total Expenditure 36,653,120

Percentage of Expenditure

  • Client and community services — 65%
  • Costs of fundraising and gifts in Wills — 15%
  • Marketing — 3%
  • Governance, finance, and administration — 17%

Statement of Comprehensive Income.

2021 2020*
$’000 $’000
Gifts in Wills 20,043 29,670
Donations 11,288 15,254
Sale of fundraising merchandise 75 128
Investment income 2,139 1,228
NDIS, Medicare and other government revenue 5,899 4,478
Contract Services income 422 396
Other income 629 743
Revenue 40,495 51,897
Other gain/(losses)
Net gain/(loss) on financial assets including the fair value
movement through profit and loss
4,806 (1,522)
Net gain on disposal of non-current assets 37 17,389
Total income 45,338 67,764
Client Services costs (23,510) (24,353)
Community education and advocacy (129) (99)
Fundraising overheads including:
– Fundraising donor management (2,471) (2,510)
– Planned giving expenditure (832) (706)
– Appeal costs (2,242) (3,576)
Marketing (1,270) (1,272)
Governance and administrative services (6,198) (6,074)
Total expenses (36,652) (38,590)
Net surplus from ordinary activities 8,686 29,174
Other comprehensive income
Total comprehensive income 8,686 29,174

*Please refer to the full financial statements for the restatements of the FY20 numbers.

Statement of financial position.

2021 2020*
$’000 $’000
Current assets
Cash and cash equivalents 9,267 4,399
Trade and other receivables 1,171 1,875
Inventories 80 28
Other financial assets 8,667 42,650
Other current assets 357 287
Total current assets 19,542 49,239
Non-current assets
Other financial assets 17
Financial assets at fair value through profit or loss 66,399 36,452
Property, plant and equipment 15,988 8,358
Right of Use assets 2,457 3,065
Intangibles 28 3
Total non-current assets 84,872 47,895
Total assets 104,414 97,134
Current liabilities
Trade and other payables 1,932 2,343
Leasehold liabilities 1,179 1,427
Employee leave provisions 1,812 1,643
Total current liabilities 4,923 5,413
Non-current liabilities
Employee leave provisions 269 335
Leasehold make good liability 115 115
Leasehold liabilities 1,547 2,397
Total non-current liabilities 1,931 2,847
Total liabilities 6,854 8,260
Net assets 97,560 88,874
Accumulated funds
Accumulated surplus 96,204 87,518
Reserves 1,356 1,356
Total accumulated funds 97,560 88,874

*Please refer to the full financial statements for the restatements of the FY20 numbers.

Gifts in Wills.

Thank you for your generosity.

Little Asian Girl Watch Her Great Grandfather Writing


Learn more about our governance.

In memoriam

It was with great sadness that we farewelled some beloved members of the Guide Dogs NSW/ACT family.