Consumer Advisory Council

The Consumer Advisory Council plays a key role in exchanging information and ideas between our staff, the Board, and most importantly, the people who experience our services. It is made up of representatives from each of these essential groups.

Guide dogs

Meet the Consumer Advisory Council

Iain Edwards

Iain Edwards Chair

Iain is a physiotherapist who has worked for twenty years in the public health system in both rural and metropolitan health services. Currently, Iain is the Director of Integrated Care and Dental with Peninsula Health.

Iain has been involved with Guide Dogs Victoria since early 1993 and completed his Orientation and Mobility instruction, training with his first Guide Dog in 1995. Iain is currently partnered with his forth Guide Dog, ‘Olympia’. Iain’s extended family is also very involved with Guide Dogs Victoria, his brother is partnered with a Guide Dog and the Edwards family have been involved in several fundraising initiatives, including sponsoring Guide Dog puppies. Over 22 years of association with Guide Dogs Victoria, Iain has assisted with a number of Public Relations, fundraising and promotional events.

Lyn Taylor

Lyn Taylor Guide Dog User

Lyn moved to Australia from Scotland in 1990, and her sight deteriorated gradually in the years that followed.

“After several ridiculous accidents and embarrassing incidents, I realised that perhaps I could use a bit of help. My sister already had a Guide Dog back in the U.K. so I had a pretty good idea of how it all works. While training with my second dog, a Guide Dog Instructor (who shall remain nameless – to protect the guilty) suggested that I should get myself on to the Consumer Advisory Council, so here I am! Still! Ten years and counting!”

Daniel Pritchard

Daniel Pritchard Children’s Mobility Services representative

Daniel was born with a degenerative eye condition. At the age of 13, eye complications caused him to lose all eyesight in one eye and a large amount of vision in the other.

By participating in Orientation & Mobility training programs, Daniel was able to restore confidence in moving around the community. These programs offered a peer network he is able to socialise and identify with. Since then, Daniel has travelled to England, India and the USA for the blind sports of Cricket and Goalball. A promising athlete, Daniel also has Europe, Asia and even the Paralympics on the cards in the not too distant future.

Daniel is keen to pass on his experiences to the next generation of Victorians with low vision, so that they too can know there are no limitations aside from those we inflict on ourselves.

Aside from the Consumer Advisory Council at Guide Dogs Victoria, Daniel is also heavily involved in sports, and holds the following positions:

  • Captain Australian U19 Men’s Goalball Team
  • Member Australian Blind Cricket Team
  • Member Australian Goalball Team
  • Head Junior Coach Victorian Blind Cricket Association
  • Youth Coach Victorian Goalball Association
  • Captain St. Pauls Blind Cricket Club
  • President St. Pauls Blind Cricket Club

Pam Haigh Guide Dog User

Pam started to lose her vision around 1998 and received her first Guide Dog two years later. Pam is actively involved in ‘The Diva’s’ support group, which has given her great inspiration and the opportunity to learn from other women facing similar issues when losing their sight later in life.

Pam also assists in teaching computer skills to other people with low vision or blindness. Pam truly believe in the power of Guide Dog partnership: “my dogs have taken me all over the world and have really given me my life back.”

Linda Blaik

Linda Blaik Guide Dog User

Linda has relied on our services for 20 years. In that time, she has experienced Orientation & Mobility, long cane and mini guide, Occupational Therapist Support and Guide Dogs Mobility services. Over the years, Linda has partnered with four dogs. She is currently waiting on a new adventure with another Guide Dog.

Linda is currently volunteer for Red Cross Australia and just renewed volunteering for our organisation, selling merchandise in the new Geelong office. She has experience as president of the Geelong Guide Dog Auxiliary having held that position for ten years.

This is Linda’s second period serving on the Consumer Advisory Council, with a highlight of her first tenure unveiling the Amsden Honour Memorial Garden — a truly worthwhile project. She also enjoyed appearing on the Guide Dogs Victoria speakers panel.

Mandy Jarvis Puppy Raiser

Mandy became a Puppy Raiser in July 2014 with her first dog Garla, who proudly went on to become a successful Guide Dog. She is currently raising her second Guide Dog puppy, Fern. Mandy had always been interested in becoming a Puppy Raiser with Guide Dogs. As soon as her fourth child turned 5, she applied.

Mandy’s grandmother went blind at the age of 52 and she was always fascinated by how she used to get around with the aid of a cane. She has always been a lover of Labradors and is very honoured to be the Puppy Raiser Representative on the CAC. Mandy’s passion is to educate people on the work of our organisation. She is committed to teaching children and the communities that dogs can change lives.

Kellee Reid

Kelle Reid Child’s Mobility Services (parent of Phoebe)

Kelle became involved with Guide Dogs Victoria in early 2013 through the Children’s Mobility Service. In 2011, her youngest daughter Phoebe suffered rapid vision loss which lead to legal blindness.

Before her daughter started school, Kelle contacted us for support. Our Children’s Mobility Team assisted Phoebe with the transition to school and have worked with her since then on a wide variety of Orientation & Mobility skills and training.

Kelle and her family are also the proud owners of Scope, a reclassified Guide Dog who has become a treasured member of the Reids. Scope is a Pets As Therapy (PAT) dog and has brought not just Phoebe but the entire family a huge amount of joy and unconditional love.

Kelle has a background in Marketing, Communications and business writing and is actively involved in promoting mental health awareness in her local community. She currently works as a Family and Carer Consultant at Ballarat Health Services’ Mental Health Services.

David Foran

David Foran Guide Dog User

David has been actively involved in the blindness and low vision sector since 1999. He has worked in both paid and voluntary capacities. David has contributed to Boards and Committees of Management, represented the sector as National Advocacy Adviser for the sector peak, and as adviser and consultant to both public and private organisations regarding access and inclusion for the disability community.

David has the degrees of B.Sc (Hons.) and M.Appl.Sc. After completing a two-decade career as a Defence Scientist specialising in Human Factors, David has more recently completed Access Consulting qualifications and has graduated from the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

David has a keen interest in access and inclusion and is passionate about sustaining our organisation into the future. As a member of the Consumer Advisory Council, David looks to contribute guidance and support regarding policy development, service provision and governance as the sector continues to undergo significant change

With other interests including politics, radio broadcasting and home brewing, David is ably supported by his Guide Dog Oliver.

Angela Williams

Angela Williams Puppy Nurturer

Angela has been a volunteer with us for 15 years. She is a current puppy nurturer and assists with Community fundraising activities. Angela has been a member of the Consumer Advisory Council for nine years. She and her husband are puppy sponsors and are both members of the Otus Fellowship.

Before becoming a volunteer, Angela lived in London for ten years and Brisbane for six. During her time in London, Angela was a founding member of the Australian Women’s Club London. She served as President from 1990-1992, and has experience as a member of the Australian Charity Fund and the International Women’s Association (UK). In Brisbane, Angela was a Member of the Women Of The Year Luncheon (Australia) and their President in 1997/1998.

In recent years Angela has been a member of the Eltham Rural Group and has recently joined the Sisters & Misters Choir in Eltham. She is currently a Director of a Company engaged in retailing balloons, party supplies and gifts. Her greatest pleasure is to enjoy watching her four children and ten grandchildren as they move through life.

Rory Douglas

Rory Douglas Adult Orientation and Mobility

Rory has been involved with Guide Dogs Victoria since November 2013 following an illness which resulted in a loss of sight. For over 15 years, he has worked extensively in the recruitment industry. Rory provides advice, guidance and support to both clients and candidates during extensive recruitment processes.

Originally from the UK, Rory now lives in Victoria with his wife and two sons. Following training with the Orientation & Mobility and Guide Dog Training teams, he is now a Guide Dog handler. Rory works in partnership with the wonderful Guide Dog, Gideon.