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Clive’s $2.8m gift set to help blind and deaf children

IT MIGHT have cost him the best part of $3 million, but Toowoomba's favourite philanthropist reckons having a new centre for blind and deaf children was well worth the price tag.

Next week, the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children will throw open the doors in Toowoomba for major sponsor Clive Berghofer.

Mr Berghofer said when he was approached by the institute about the possibility of providing funding a few years ago, he was quick to stump up the first $1.3m to get plans moving ahead and wound up donating a total of $2.8m over three years.

The RIDBC Clive Berghofer Centre on the corner of Herries and Neil Sts would be Queensland's first physical centre even though the organisation has been running in Australia for about 150 years.

The new state-of-the-art facility would support people with vision and hearing loss in the local area by providing education, assessment, therapy, diagnostic services and cochlear implantation services.

Mr Berghofer said the facility was the perfect fit for his beloved hometown.

"Well it cost me a bit of money but the Toowoomba region is one of their busy areas and even though they have quite a few outlets in New South Wales, this is the first one in Queensland," he said.

"There are lots of children born with hearing and sight difficulties."

He said Toowoomba was fast growing into one of the busiest healthcare regions on a number of fronts including one of his favourite charities, RACQ LifeFlight, largely thanks to the huge area out west it serviced.

He said it was hoped the centre would be up and running by February, but there were construction delays along the way.

But anyone who regularly drives through the intersection would have seen the facade taking shape recently and Mr Bergofer said he was looking forward to taking a tour of the new centre next Thursday.

RIDBC marketing manager Chris Silvestro said the official opening date was yet to be firmed up, but residents could expect their own tour of the centre soon enough.

In the meantime, RIDBC would continue to work with clients in the area as it had done for some time, through remote programs like the RIDBC Teleschool.

RIDBC's Chief Executive, Chris Rehn, said the funds provided would support the expansion of vision and hearing services in regional Queensland and local families in Toowoomba.

He said he was incredibly grateful to Mr Berghofer.

Topics:  blind and deaf clive berghofer hearing centre ridbc toowoomba


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