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- NCBI Annual Report 2008
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- NCBI Annual Report 2010
- NCBI Low Vision Service Leaflet
- National Mobility Study
2011 was a particularly special year for NCBI as we celebrated the 80th anniversary of our foundation. I feel sure that those great people who gathered together to form NCBI in 1931 would be proud of the direction the organisation has taken in advancing the inclusion of people who are blind as respected, fully participating members of society. In the pages of this annual report, you will see how broad and challenging the range of services and activities undertaken by NCBI in 2011 has become.
NCBI was founded at a time when the prospects for people who were blind were bleak. Education and employment opportunities were limited and their care and welfare rested largely with institutions and societies. NCBI was established to raise the dignity of all blind people in Ireland; to advocate for better welfare provisions, and to improve the earning ability of people through direct employment and from home-craft employments.
The strong founding ethos of NCBI remains close to what it was in 1931. While the wording of our mission statement and vision may be different, the sentiment is unchanged, with the ultimate goal being to create a more inclusive and accessible society for people with sight loss so that they have the same rights and opportunities as their peers. Our work commenced only with and on behalf of those people who were totally blind. Today, our range of services extends to people who still have some usable vision but whose reduced degree of eye-sight causes them huge difficulty in carrying out regular life-style tasks in which their loss of independence is threatened.
When I became associated with NCBI in the 1970s our community resource workers, or home teachers as they were then called, visited people in their homes every couple of weeks or so. But back then, we worked with only a fraction of the current number of people using our services. The way we deliver these services has had to change as the numbers of people using our services increased year-on-year.
We continue to be aware of the present and to plan for the future, aware that the demand for our services is set to increase as our population ages, and as people experience age-related sight loss conditions, primarily macular degeneration.
I will retire as chairman in 2012, and I should like to take this last opportunity to thank the staff of NCBI, my colleagues on the Board and our fundraisers and volunteers for their personal support of me and NCBI over the past four years. It is the collective contribution of all those involved with the organisation that ensures its continued relevance in a world that is vastly altered from that in which we were founded. I feel honoured to have been involved in the caring development over the years of NCBI and to have shared in the growth of a great organisation.