There are an estimated 22,000 blind and partially sighted children and young people in England and Wales. Every day four more children will be diagnosed with sight loss.
Here are at the Royal Society for Blind Children we meet children and young people brimming with potential, but the reality for many is that they will struggle to achieve their dreams.
- 90% of those who lose their sight in youth will never work for more than six months in their lives
- One in four vision impaired children under twelve are depressed
- Blind and partially sighted eleven year olds are twice as likely to be bullied at school as their sighted peers
- Two out of five blind children have no local friends to play with
- Nearly 70% of blind and partially sighted young people are living on the poverty line.
For nearly two centuries RSBC has been supporting blind and partially sighted children, young people, and their families.
We are there for them from the moment they are told they have lost their sight, guiding them on their journey through sight loss. The five things we believe will transform the life chances of blind children are:
- Helping parents first
To change the future for blind children and young people we need to change how parents cope with their child’s diagnosis. RSBC’s Family Support Service can be on hand from the moment parents hear the news to offer practical advice and emotional support so parents understand sight loss, adapt and build the self-belief that their family can live beyond it.
- Excellent and inclusive education
It’s our aim to make every moment of a blind student’s education experience a positive one: helping them to achieve their full potential and to develop socially. Through this they’ll have a spring board to make the most of the next chapter of their life. We’ll do this by growing Dorton College, our popular specialist residential further education college and building a mainstream education programme focused on inclusivity and digital fluency that acts as a beacon for other schools in the UK.
- Build friendships and character
We’re going to help children and young people build the kinds of friendships that help them grow as a person. Together, through our social groups, sport and well-being clubs, and creative programmes they’ll learn new skills, make friends and experience moments that will give them the confidence to take on life on life’s terms.
- Getting young people job ready
To solve the high levels of unemployment and poverty among blind young people we’ll ensure that the young people we work with have the practical job skills and self-belief that they will need to get a job through our work skills services.
- Harnessing technology
We firmly believe that every day and emerging technology has the power to solve many of the challenges that blind children and young people experience. We work with tech experts to develop and build technology solutions to address those challenges.
With RSBC by their side thousands of blind children and young people can take control of their lives and believe in themselves.