Sustainable, accessible, collaborative - and so much more
We're creating four modern, accessible new centres to extend our reach out in the community to more people living with sight loss and to support our teams. They'll combine our training, guide dog partnering and sight loss support services, with significant community engagement.
The centres are being meticulously designed with flexible spaces, specifically to provide the best possible experience and support to the people who need our services. They will also benefit from dedicated space and facilities to host and train our dogs and let them relax when they're not working.
Our regional teams have been working closely with architects to ensure the centres use cutting-edge design, allowing us to enrich the lives of more people with sight loss. Designed to be 'fit for purpose', they will maximise the space and facilities, increasing our capability and capacity to deliver our services.
The centres will provide a calm and relaxing environment with private and small family one-to-one spaces, a large and flexible space for group sessions and events, a life planning area, cooking facilities and a sensory room. The canine service facilities will specifically support our training, including purpose-built indoor and outdoor training areas, plus free running space. Built to the highest welfare standards, it will ensure our dogs are happy and healthy.
Our new centres will be the first of their kind in the UK. Working with an accessibility and inclusion consultant, the centres will be as accessible as possible for all disabilities. They will help us to significantly increase our reach to people with sight loss, their friends, families, communities and healthcare professionals. Where possible, they will include a lift and will meet at least the minimum standards of the Equalities Act 2010.
The centres will maximise energy efficiency by using low-energy LED light fittings and a building management system to enable the effective control and monitoring of the installed building systems, and to provide the optimum environmental conditions for all users. We'll introduce renewable technologies such as solar and heat pumps to power and heat our buildings where possible, in line with our zero-carbon ambitions.
While providing a modern, practical and comfortable space these improvements will also reduce running costs for years to come, so that more funding is invested directly to support people who use our services.
The need for collective support
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