03 Nov 2013
The Link has been continually committed to supporting the guide dogs service development in Hong Kong. In addition to welcoming guide dogs and their users to The Link’s shopping centres, The Link created Hong Kong’s first ever network of shopping centres to be used for training guide dogs. Organised by the Ebenezer School & Home for the Visually Impaired and the Hong Kong Society for the Blind, The Pilot Project on Guide Dog Users Training (“the project”) was launched in March 2011 and has operated smoothly for two years. As part of The Link “Love Leads the Way” Guide Dog Campaign, a results presentation for the project and a handover ceremony was held on 3 November at Stanley Plaza and was attended by various Hong Kong-based organisations that support the development of guide dogs in the city.
The Link continues to offer its shopping centres as training grounds for guide dogs
At the ceremony, the Ebenezer School & Home for the Visually Impaired and the Hong Kong Society for the Blind presented the results of the project. It was also announced that the project was being handed over to the Hong Kong Guide Dogs Association (the “Association”). The Association introduced a plan for the future development of local guide dogs. Starting from the end of this year, the Association will send its staff overseas to receive training, thereby introducing more guide dogs to Hong Kong to serve those in need. The Link will continue to cooperate with the Association on guide dogs training in The Link’s properties in order for them to become familiar with Hong Kong’s environment and pace of living.
Nancy Law, Chairman of Hong Kong Society for the Blind said, “Many supporting parties contribute to making the ‘4 Users 4 Dogs” Guide Dog Pilot Project a success, including world-renowned guide dog expert Ian Cox, who is also the consultant of the project for providing guidance and training to the guide dogs and their users, Guiding Eyes for the Blind, the accredited school in the U.S. for training guide dogs for providing guide dogs and the respective training in the U.S., as well as various government departments and social communities. Going forward, with the continuous support from the community, the development of the guide dog services in Hong Kong will be able to benefit more visually impaired people.”
To raise public understanding and awareness of guide dogs, game booths were available at the ceremony to promote the work and support the development of local guide dog services.
During the ceremony, Hilda Wong, Head of Marketing of The Link, presented badges to guide dogs that have successfully completed training in The Link’s premises. “The Link allocates resources to enhance barrier-free access and facilities in our properties with a view to supporting physically impaired people and bringing them a relaxing and comfortable shopping experience. We are very pleased to be the first shopping centre network of training venues for guide dogs in Hong Kong, and we are glad that the four guide dogs trained in our facilities are now in service. Looking ahead, we look forward to continue providing a greater barrier-free environment to the community through our ‘Love Leads the Way’ Campaign.”
Developing a more integrated community through the “Love Leads the Way” Campaign
Following its commencement ceremony in June, the “Love Leads the Way” exhibition is promoted in different shopping centres of The Link starting in September, including Lok Fu Plaza, Oi Tung Shopping Centre, Leung King Plaza and Sun Tin Wai Commercial Centre. The Link has also promoted public awareness of the work of guide dogs in various ways so that all Hong Kong residents can understand the importance of the work they do on behalf of the visually impaired.