Revolutionary service hands blind young people the keys to their own future

In January 2017, RSBC merged with the Royal London Society for Blind People (RLSB). Although we are now called RSBC, there may be some references to RLSB in the following article.

Adolescence is a difficult time for everybody, but especially for young people with a vision impairment. Sight impairment can make it difficult to make friends with other children and young people and be part of your neighbourhood. Especially during teenage years, other people’s misconceptions and negative behaviours can isolate young people from friendship groups, school, travel and employment.

The Royal Society for Blind Children’s (RSBC) new Vision Independence service builds on their experience successfully running their Social and Peer group model over the past five years supporting hundreds of Londoners across the city.

Through their ethos of providing ‘just enough support’, so as to encourage the young people to develop their independence, the RSBC has developed an innovative new service. It will support blind young people essentially to be their best selves; learning new skills, meeting new people, making new friends and taking control of their lives. They will also have the opportunity to gain a leadership qualification. These groups, kindly supported by the Big Lottery Fund, have been specifically designed to combat the isolation and depression that are all too often the untold story of childhood sight loss.

Dr Tom Pey, Chief Executive at RSBC said: ‘I am privileged every day to be around some incredible young people who have big dreams, big ambitions and big personalities. They also happen to be blind. But sadly, there are still far too many blind young people in London live an isolated life; unemployed with few friends and no real motivation to leave their home. Our Vision Independence groups will be a lifeline to these individuals. They will enable them to meet new people, try new things, and gain the confidence and resilience they need to live their life beyond sight loss.”

Whether you know someone who could benefit from joining these groups or you would like to volunteer to be a part of them, visit or call 020 3198 0225 for more details.


Notes to Editors

1. Isolation and poverty. This is the untold story of childhood sight loss.
It’s time to change the game for blind children and young people. At the Royal Society for Blind Children, our experts work with parents and families to make sure blind young people across London and the South East discover the skills and confidence they need to take control of their life.

We are a hard-working and game-changing organisation. With RSBC by their side thousands of blind young people across London and the South East can beat a lifetime of poverty and isolation.

2. Within London and the South East there are around 11,000 vision impaired children and young people up to the age of 25. Research tells us that they are struggling:

  • Nine out of 10 people who lose their sight in youth will never work for more than six months in their lives
  • One in four vision impaired children under 12 are depressed
  • Blind and partially sighted 11 year olds are twice as likely to be bullied at school as their sighted peers.
  • Two out of five children have no local friends to play with
  • Nearly 70% of blind and partially sighted young people are living on the poverty line.

3. The Vision Independence service is funded by a £380,000 Big Lottery Fund grant as part of the Big Lottery Fund’s Reaching Communities programme.

4. The grant will support 12 new social and peer groups over the next three years, catering for vision impaired young people aged 18-25 living in London and the South East.

5. For more information, or to speak to one of our spokespeople, please call Mel Vessey on 020 3198 0225

May 27th 2015

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