Every Blind Child FAQs

What is RSBC?

RSBC is the Royal Society for Blind Children. This year we are celebrating 180 years of supporting blind and partially sighted children to live a life without limits.

What is the Every Blind Child campaign?

Every Blind Child is RSBC’s first major public awareness and fundraising appeal, calling for people across the country to recognise the challenges faced by visually impaired children and pledge their support to generate £3m in income over the next three years. These vital funds will enable RSBC to extend its services to an increased number of blind and partially sighted children, young people and their families in England and Wales.

Why has RSBC adopted this name for the campaign?

Research shows that most people know very little about the impact that visual impairment has on children and think blind children will not grow up to live a fulfilling life. We can change that together. With your help, we can show the public how blind children can live a fulfilling life and ensure that every blind child receives the support they need in order to do that.

What are the main components of the campaign?

RSBC has commissioned international artist Robert Montgomery to create a light poem and video installation. The artwork is inspired by his collaboration with RSBC, blind and partially sighted children and their families. The light poem is exhibited on a bespoke vehicle alongside the video installation which will tour the country in a bid to generate awareness of childhood sight loss and complement the fundraising and media activity that is taking place on a regional level. The stories and voices of the blind and partially sighted children involved in the appeal are the basis of the key visual, digital and press activity we’re undertaking throughout the appeal.

Who are the children featuring in the campaign? How did they and their families come to be involved?

The group of children who worked with us on the campaign are representative of the children and young people we hear from and work with every day at RSBC and who benefit from our services. We will be telling their stories as we travel the country. You can meet Sasha and Isaac on our website - and stay tuned to hear stories from the others as the campaign tours the country over the coming months.

Most of the children visible in our campaign activity are RSBC beneficiaries and have benefited from one or more of our core services at some point in their lives. We undertook a detailed process of engaging families in the pre planning phase of the campaign, which ensured that all parties were happy with the manner in which children and their stories were going to be represented by the charity and our key collaborators.

Who is Robert Montgomery?

International artist Robert Montgomery is working with RSBC and a group of blind and partially sighted children and young people to share their stories with the nation. He follows a tradition of conceptual art and stands out by bringing a poetic voice to the discourse of text art. Montgomery creates billboard poems, light pieces, fire poems, woodcuts and watercolors. He was the British artist selected for Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2012, the first biennale in India. Montgomery has had solo exhibitions at venues in Europe and in Asia, including major outdoor light installations on the site of the old US Air Force base at Tempelhof. The first monograph of his work was published by Distanz, Berlin in 2015.

What are you basing your claims on that 'most people think...?'

A public opinion poll was undertaken to gather research on people’s perceptions of blind children and young people. The research was conducted by Censuswide, with 2084 respondents aged 16+ in the UK between 19 January 2018 to 22 January 2018. The survey was conducted from a random sample of UK adults. Censuswide abide by and employ members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles.

You say you want to reach children and families in the UK but you don't cover Scotland or Northern Ireland. Why is that?

It is important that we are able to sustain the services that we establish so that families can have confidence in the commitment we make to them and their children. Whilst we are starting with England and Wales, it is our ambition to be able to support blind and partially sighted children and their families across the whole of the UK, just as soon as our resources allow.

Where is Robert Montgomery's light poem and video going?

The light poem and video installation will be attached to a vehicle and will tour the country, visiting locations from as far south as Cornwall to as far north as Newcastle. The artwork will tour the country to share the dreams of children and young people we work with and educate the public about the support and services we can offer blind and partially sighted children and young people to fulfil their potential.

Follow the artwork on its journey.

What's inside the bespoke vehicle?

Step inside the bespoke vehicle to watch and listen to In Our Dreams We See Forever - an immersive eight minute audio/video installation of partially sighted children and young people talking about their lives and career dreams. Created by artist Robert Montgomery, the energetic and childish interaction of the video’s subjects gradually evolves into individual stories that will help you imagine how it is to live with little or no sight.

Can I visit the vehicle on tour and see the artwork?

Yes! Follow us as the light poem and audio/video installation travels the country and see if the tour is coming to a town near you.

Are the children touring with the artwork?

No, but if you visit the vehicle you can climb inside and watch the eight minute video, starring the children sharing their own stories.

Is the artwork accessible?An audio description of the artwork is available as well as a large print description of the artwork. There is also a braille translation of a selection of quotes from the video that runs along the side of the bespoke vehicle.

Can the tour come to my community group/school/company to educate us about sight loss and share the children and young people's stories?

Yes, we’d love to bring the touring light poem and audio/video installation to you! Please contact Sophie Johnston (sophie.johnston@rsbc.org.uk) to see if we can schedule a visit to your community or organisation during the tour.

Why are you working with an artist? How did you come to select Robert Montgomery?

As the Every Blind Child campaign is our most ambitious project to date, we decided we needed something that would bring the issues of blind and partially sighted young people to light in the most powerful way possible. After a careful tender process, we selected Robert Montgomery due to his wonderful collaborative proposal to work with partially sighted children and young people and bring their dreams to life, using poems and light.

What was the process of creating the light poem?

Robert held several workshops with the children where they discussed their dreams, thoughts and ideas. Their thoughts were then used to produce the final light poem In Our Dreams We See Forever. We are creating a ‘making of’ video which will be available soon so you can see the creative process in action!

How much do you hope to raise throughout the campaign?

We aim to raise £3 million over the next three years to make sure RSBC Sight Loss Specialists can be on hand to help every child and their family understand, adjust and live beyond sight loss in England and Wales.

How are you raising money and where is the money raised during the campaign going to?

We’re collecting donations and relying on everyone from individuals to large organisations to get on board with the appeal, spread the word and make a donation - no matter how large or small - to help a blind child realise their future. The money will go towards our face to face and online services and support for blind children and their families.

What proportion of the money raised goes directly towards supporting blind and partially sighted children, young people and their families to live a fulfilling life?

A minimum of 80p from every pound we raise goes directly towards funding our services and offering support to blind children, young people and their families. The remaining 20p goes towards raising the next pound.

I'm unable to make a donation, what other ways can I help?

Tell a friend! Share the campaign among your networks and spread the word that blind and partially sighted children and young people have the same potential as any of us.

If you are blind, what do your dreams look like?

The aspirations of blind and partially sighted children and young people start out the same as those of anyone else but are likely to be diminished over time without the right help. We aim to provide the kind of support that helps them develop the confidence, resilience and skills to enable them to realise their aspirations.

How can blind children and young people take part in the same activities as their peers? (eg play sports, travel independently, use a computer)

Just because a child or young person is blind doesn’t mean they can’t live an independent and fulfilling life and take part in the same activities as their peers.

RSBC’s services support blind children and young people to develop the self-belief and confidence to achieve.

Find out more about the activities and support our services provide and check out RSBC Dorton College, our specialist FE college in Bromley.

You can also read about some of the blind children and young people we work with and the challenges they have overcome:

What is the most common cause of blindness or sight loss in children?

The most common cause is cerebral vision impairment (CVI). This is where there has been damage to the visual pathways in the brain, affecting the way that visual information is processed.

I’ve seen statements as part of the campaign that blind children and young people are likely to grow up poor and lonely. Where does this conclusion come from?

We hear from blind and partially sighted children, young people and their families every day, who face developmental and social barriers that threaten to keep them from gaining employment and developing friendships. As well as this direct feedback from our beneficiaries, there is significant research that suggests many blind children will not have access to the same opportunities as their sighted peers. This is largely due to common misconceptions and the fact that very little is known about the impact of sight loss on children’s lives.

Ashwin Reddy, Consultant Paediatric Ophthalmologist at Barts Health and Moorfields Eye Hospital, tells us:

“When support is not available, and when parents are unable to adjust to the child’s diagnosis, there are long-term negative psychological consequences for the child in terms of how they see themselves and how they handle their condition.

“Essentially, if parents feel that their child’s life chances are limited as a result of a visual impairment, this will affect the child’s own ability to overcome the challenges they may face. It is important that parents understand that although their child has a disability, there is still much that they can do in the future.”

A public opinion poll carried out by Censuswide[i] gathered research on people’s perceptions of blind children and young people. It found that:

  • almost one fifth of the population don’t know what impact being blind or visually impaired will have on a young person’s life with less than 1 in 9 (11%) saying that it makes it difficult to make friends
  • 84% of respondents believe that there would be barriers to a visually impaired child achieving their dream job
  • 52% of respondents believe that blind and visually impaired children won’t be able to live alone in adulthood, travel, cook or take care of finances independently
  • 60% of people in employment said that they have never come across a blind or visually impaired person at work.

Whilst many vision impaired people are in employment and have opportunities to form lasting friendships and relationships, we need more people who lose their sight in youth to reach their dreams. This appeal is the start of a wider conversation about how the sight loss community and the general public can change that together.

Still want to know more?

If your question hasn’t been answered here, feel free to email enquiries@rsbc.org.uk. Ask us anything and we’ll get back to you as quickly as we can!

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You can make a donation by telephone by calling us on 020 3198 0225