On the 1st January 2017 the Royal Society for Blind Children (RSBC) and Royal London Society for Blind People (RLSB) joined together to create a leading charity in England & Wales dedicated to making sure that no child will grow up to be poor or lonely just because they are blind.
The newly created charity is privileged to have the patronage of Her Majesty the Queen. The organisation will be called the Royal Society for Blind Children (RSBC) – a name that makes clear that blind and partially sighted children and young people are our focus.
Why are RLSB and RSBC merging?
Blind children are growing up into poverty and loneliness
The two charities have merged because both organisations believe no child should grow up to be poor or lonely just because they are blind.
There are an estimated 22,000 blind and partially sighted children and young people in England & Wales. Every day four more families will be told that their children will never see properly.
At RSBC we understand that the hardest thing about childhood sight loss isn’t that children can’t see, it’s that these children will most likely grow up to live in poverty and loneliness.
- 90% of those who lose their sight in youth won’t work for more than six months in their lives.
- Most will never have someone to share their life with.
- Nearly 70% of blind and partially sighted young people are living on the poverty line.
Our new charity will offer families hope
The new RSBC believes in a better future for blind children and young people.
It’s our vision that no child should grow up to be poor or lonely just because they are blind.
Our new mission is that if a blind child needs our help anywhere in England & Wales, we will be there with real friendship and expert support for them and their family to enable them to take full advantage of what life offers.
We aim to be the leading charity in England & Wales for blind and partially sighted children where services are designed to support the whole family on this journey and where the parent, whenever possible, is at the centre of the child’s development.
Now we can reach more people who need us
As two separate charities we were only able to help seven percent (1500) of the children and young people that need us.
We want to be able to support 50 percent of the those that need us by 2020 and every single child by 2025.
As a merged organisation we benefit from:
Having a national presence: We will be able to offer services across all of England and Wales and also fundraise for these vital services on a national scale.
Combine our expertise: The combined knowledge of our specialists will benefit all the children and families we work with.
Offer more to all beneficiaries: We will be able to direct service users to other services across our organisation quickly.
Use our resources more effectively to reach more people: We will also save money which can be redirected to growing our Family Support Service to help 3000 families by 2020 and creating an Advice and Information website and phone line for any child or family member who wants to learn more about coming to terms with childhood sight loss.
What services will the new charity provide?
In working with and listening to children, young people, parents and professionals we have developed five key service areas we believe will help us to truly unlock the inner strength and potential that will sustain blind and partially sighted children and young people as they grow up.
- 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 want to 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.
- Best in class, inclusive education: It’s our aim to make every moment of a blind student’s education experience a positive one: helping them to achieve academically and be confident young adults. 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 focussed on inclusivity and digital skills.
- Build friendships, independence 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, health and well-being clubs, and creative programmes, they’ll learn life 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 and building relationships with employers.
- 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
Who will benefit from our new charity?
The Royal Society for Blind Children will work with blind and partially sighted 0-25 year olds and their families.
We will also work with professionals and other vision impairment organisations across the country to complement the work already happening in communities in England & Wales.
Where will the charity be?
Our Head Office is in Hackney and we have locations in Bromley and Westerham. Our services can be accessed across England & Wales.
When will the merger take place?
The merger will be effective from 1st January 2017. A public launch will happen in early May 2017.
What’s the history of the two charities working together?
In 2014 RSBC entered into a formal association with the Royal London Society for Blind People (RLSB) in an attempt to help more families and children live beyond sight loss.
In the time since the Association we have been able to work with 1500 people via RSBC’s Family Support Service in England & Wales and RLSB’s London based services which include; Sports; Social and Peer Groups; Nursery and Parent and Toddler groups; Dorton College of Further Education and our Employability workshops
Who will be your Chief Executive?
Dr. Tom Pey will be the Chief Executive Office of RSBC.
Who are your Patrons and Ambassadors?
Her Majesty the Queen is Patron of RSBC
The Duchess of Gloucester who has been the Patron of RLSB for many years remains a supporter of our work.
Rt Hon Sir Michael Fallon MP remains as President of RSBC
J Torvill OBE
Anne Fine OBE FRSL
Sir Richard Stilgoe OBE
Paralympian Ben Quilter
Paralympian Darren Leach
David Gower OBE
What do you need to do?
The answer is simple, very little. We aim for a smooth transition during the merger period with no delays or major changes to the running of the current respective services or operations over this time.
If you use our current RLSB name, logo and contact details on your third party website or collateral, you can download the relevant new RSBC brand assets and information below to replace these.
What will your logo be?
For the next 6-12 months we will use the following logo
and corresponding strapline “Life without Limits for Blind Children”.
Where can you find out more?
If you have any further questions please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 020 3198 0225.