The Royal London Society for Blind People joined with the Royal Society for Blind Children on the 17th January 2017, forming a single charity. Prior to this, the RLSB had worked as a charity for 175 years, helping young people in the South East of England and London who are blind or partially sighted through a range of initiatives including education, sports, developmental and creative services. The new joint charity, which works with the whole of England and Wales, operates under the RSBC title.
In 2004, advertising creative Ajab Samrai worked on a campaign for the RLSB fighting to have braille labelling on packaging to make it easier for blind people. Campaign posters included a striking image of tins with no labels, under the banner ‘separate the soup from the cat food’. The Royal Society for Blind Children works in a variety of ways to make life better for young people living with vision problems. Some statistics on blind and partially sighted young people in the UK can be found in the embedded infographic.
Support and Advice
One of the key services offered by the RSBC is providing support and advice to young people and their families to help them deal with loss of vision. Blind children have been shown to be at a disadvantage in many aspects of life, including social development, emotional well-being, access to education and ultimately employment opportunities.
RSBC brings expert and experienced support to young people in England and Wales from the moment they lose their sight. This support includes not only advice, but also unique learning and development opportunities to open up new possibilities throughout childhood and in later life.
There are a range of clubs and courses available to young people, focusing on the twin goals of improving education (and therefore employability) and improving social skills, resilience and friendships. More information about the RSBC’s health and well–being clubs can be found in the PDF attachment to this post.
The employment programme from RSBC is open to young people aged between 16 and 25 who need support in starting their career. Vision impairment doesn’t automatically eradicate employability, but additional support and advice on where to start and how to get a foot in the door can make a real difference to young people with vision issues.
The RSBC employment programme is a bespoke service that works with the individual’s needs, desires and abilities to formulate a career pathway that works. One-to-one guidance is given by experienced employment advisers who are able to help with areas such as writing a winning CV, targeting job applications, utilising social media networking, identifying the right employers to contact and more.
Ambitious young people can learn more about starting their own business and access the opportunity to earn up to £500 in seed money, or access help sourcing an apprenticeship to earn while they learn.
Social and Independence Groups
RSBC runs social and independence groups for young people aged between 11 and 17, and for those aged between 18 and 25. These groups provide unique opportunities for young blind or visually-impaired people to meet others facing similar difficulties, in fun surroundings and circumstances.
Young people within the groups are encouraged to try new things and explore new activities, expanding their skill-sets as well as their social circle. Activities such as outdoor pursuit days, cookery classes and leadership workshops help to build confidence in a community setting.
The short video attachment looks at how to join the RSBC’s East London Creative Group.