Who we are
NCBI (National Council for the Blind of Ireland) is a not for profit charity, which offers support and services to people of all ages who are experiencing difficulties with their eyesight. Our charity number is CHY 4626.
- We provide a service to over 7,000 people every year. 2,000 of whom we are seeing for the first time.
- Almost 95% of the people who access our services every year have some degree of useful vision while less than 5% are blind.
- With an ageing population, the number of people needing to access our services is increasing by 12 per cent each year.
- This year, 2011, we will have been providing 80 years of vital service to people living with sight loss in Ireland.
NCBI’s vision is for people who are blind or vision impaired to have the same opportunities, rights and choices as others to fully participate in society.
Our mission is to enable people who are blind or vision impaired to overcome the barriers that impede their independence and participation in society.
What we do
We make a difference to people’s lives
We provide services in the local community
NCBI offers community based services to help people to adapt to sight loss and maintain their independence. These services include emotional support to the individual experiencing loss of vision and to their families, advice and information on all aspects of vision loss as well as practical support and solutions to the challenges encountered by people with vision loss. Our services are offered to people of all ages, from birth through to older age.
We help people to make the most of their useful vision
The majority of people in Ireland with sight loss retain some useful vision and can be assisted to maximize their remaining vision in various different ways. Following referral NCBI will arrange to meet with you and assess the degree and impact of sight loss. We will then offer individualized solutions such as magnification and / or technical aids, advice on lighting and contrast solutions as well as general advice on other adaptations that can be made to reduce the impact of loss of vision.
When I lost my sight I didn’t know how I was going to live. It was a big shock. Getting in touch with NCBI opened my eyes and showed me that there is great hope for me and a lot of opportunities. I can live again. I have found Braille, which I love and it helps me to improve my English and spelling. I didn’t know how to use computers but I am learning now and it has given me great confidence.
We help people to live independently
The overall aim of NCBI services is to enable people to live an independent life of their choice. As the impact of vision loss for each individual varies depending on what it is they wish to achieve as well as the type and degree of vision loss they experience, the service offered to each individual will differ. Some of the challenges people with sight loss encounter are
- reading print such as newspapers, books, letters
- recognising faces, shop signs, street signs
- mobility – seeing steps, crossing roads, locating landmarks or street furniture
- Other activities of daily living such as meal preparation, laundry, shopping, etc.
NCBI can offer training where required, to assist people in developing the skills in mobility and / or independent living. We can provide practical solutions to enable people with sight loss to carry out everyday tasks safely and independently.
We help people to rediscover, or continue to enjoy reading
Our Braille, large-print and audio book library brings back the joy of reading to people with sight loss.Our library holds thousands of audio, Braille and large-print books, and sources many more books from other international libraries. We also produce popular Irish newspapers and magazines in audio and in Braille.
We help people access information and communicate through technology
A range of assistive technology solutions is available to help people to access information and communicate independently. Our staff offer guidance in selecting and using assistive technologies that will meet a person’s requirements.
We help people to learn new skills
We have a number of training and resource centres, which provide a range of courses, programmes and activities including computer training, fitness classes and art.
We help people with employment issues
NCBI provides advice to both employers and employees on application procedures, interviews and career advancement, as well as advice on what adaptations can be made to assist a person with a vision impairment in the workplace.
My involvement with NCBI has been invaluable to my confidence and to my wellbeing. A community resource worker contacted me when I was in hospital after my illness so I lost no time in getting in touch with the services I needed. She has been totally supportive, as have NCBI’s employment advisor and the IT trainer for my area, who have been very active in helping me return to work. Mobility has been my biggest challenge so I have been working on using a long cane. It is very difficult but I know that nobody else is going to do this for me. I have a lot of living left to do!
We help others to make their services accessible
NCBI advises government departments, companies and individuals on how to make the built environment and services accessible to people with sight loss.
We produce information in accessible formats
NCBI Media Centre converts printed information into formats accessible to people with sight loss for a range of voluntary, public and private organisations.
We offer six specific services:
1. Braille transcription
2. Audio recording
3. Clear print advisory service and Clear Print Mark
4. Braille training for the pharmaceutical sector
5. Braille advisory and proof-reading service
6. Audio description
We help to increase awareness about sight loss issues
NCBI advises about the accessibility of streets, playgrounds, buildings, transport and much more and we provide awareness training about sight loss to a wide range of audiences.
We help others to make technology accessible
NCBI promotes the accessible design of technology for use by everyone, including people with disabilities. CFIT works with public and private organisations to establish standards and to ensure that websites and other technologies are accessible to all. www.cfit.ie 
We have over 170 staff who deliver our services and are supported by a team of dedicated volunteers throughout the country. NCBI’s Board of Directors is responsible for the total service of the organisation.
What I have is AMD – age-related macular degeneration. In 2004 the surgeon told me he had a friend in NCBI and I got involved with the Iona Centre, where different groups go for different activities.
NCBI have given me another life. I was worried about coming here I have to admit. I suppose I wasn’t willing to accept that my eyesight was leaving me. What was I going to do being a blind person? Couldn’t read or play golf anymore, look at the television, drive. But the whole positive scene is set by the team down there. The atmosphere is electrifying. It’s very jovial. At 80 years of age I’m not far away from being computer literate. That’s down to NCBI. I can now send emails so I can contact my family all over the world. I think that’s a marvelous asset to my life.
Support us by getting involved
As a charity we rely on your generosity, you can make a difference.
You can fundraise
Running your own fundraising event is easy and limited only by your imagination. There are many ways that you can help from simply organising a collection at work to firing up a barbeque!
You can take on a challenge
Whether it’s cycling, trekking or skiing, NCBI has a challenge to suit you. With almost 20 years of experience in overseas activities, we can promise a trip of a lifetime, you’ll achieve new goals and at the same time make a real difference to the lives of people with sight loss.
You can make a donation
Your donation however big or small will go towards helping NCBI provide more vital services. There are a number of ways you can make a donation. You can make an online donation . You can call us to make a donation over the phone on 1850 33 43 53 or you can send a cheque or postal order with your details to Donations, NCBI, Whitworth Road, Drumcondra, Dublin 9.
You can also make a regular monthly donation through our EyeCan appeal. Give just €7 a month and see your contribution transformed into far-sighted services for people with sight loss.
You can leave a legacy
Every legacy counts, no matter how large or small. Government funding does not meet the full costs of running our vital services and remembering NCBI in your will is invaluable in helping us to expand our essential services. Your legacy could make a vital difference.
You can become a corporate sponsor
Whether you are a small, medium or large business, you can partner with NCBI to help improve the services currently being offered and to expand on our existing services to help more and more people with sight loss lead full and independent lives.
You can volunteer your time
NCBI was founded by volunteers who continue to contribute greatly to our ability to provide essential support and services and to improve the level of independence and quality of life of people who are living with sight loss in Ireland. Our volunteers enhance our existing services and enable us to provide a broader range of services to a growing number of people.
I have been blind since birth so NCBI has always been important to me. If you have a problem there is always somewhere to go. Even in recent years, after I gave up my guide dog, NCBI provided me with mobility and orientation training, which I found really helpful.
I love to read Braille and when the books arrive in from the library I can’t wait to see what stories they have sent me. I have been lucky enough to have a lovely volunteer help me out with things like figuring out my mp3 player and going shopping in town.
What to do if you have a problem with your sight
If you or someone you know is experiencing problems with their sight, NCBI can help. Call us on Locall 1850 33 43 53.
You can contact us
Download our leaflet About NCBI
Listen to this leaflet
Download an audio version of this leaflet  so that you can listen to it.
Request a braille copy of this leaflet
Request a braille copy of this leaflet by emailing our Library and Media Centre at email@example.com  or call us on Tel: 01 8642266.
NCBI Corporate Video
Why not download NCBI’s Poster and display it in your local community
Download NCBI’s Poster [PDF 395 KB]