Wednesday 28th August 2019, the National Council for the Blind (NCBI) today launched its 2018 Annual Report recording its busiest year to date working with over 6,392 people across the country. The increase in demand is unsurprising when 43,848 visually impaired people are on waiting lists for their first appointment with an eye specialist. Out of that number 28% of the people have been waiting over 18 months and 7,434 are children.
Chris White, NCBI CEO said “2018 was the most active year in all areas of the organisation in the long history of the charity. The demand for our services is growing as it is a vital support for many who are enduring lengthy waiting times to be seen. Like so many aspects of the public health system, these waiting are unacceptable as conditions can deteriorate and 80% of blindness is preventable or is curable with timely treatment.”
Of particular note, 2018 saw the commencement of innovative initiatives such as the Eye Clinic Liaison Service and a more tailored and responsive service, by adopting a Lifecycle model, to meet the service user’s needs. This included offering timely support at time of diagnosis in hospitals as well as ongoing community-based interventions such as orientation and mobility support, low vision advice and information, assisted technology service, daily and independent living advice, employment and library service and peer support groups.
“It is imperative that NCBI continues to support, empower and transform the lives of people who are blind and visually impaired as well as highlighting the issues that affect them through our Advocacy and Policy work. Through our assistance, people can continue to live independently by gaining the skills and confidence they need to work, travel and participate in their own community,” continued Mr White.
Prof David Keegan, Consultant Ophthalmologist, Mater Hospital said “working with the NCBI in delivering the Eye Clinic Liaison Service has proven very beneficial to the patient. Reassuringly for them, it offers timely practical advice and emotional support to help them understand their diagnosis and discuss next steps”.
2018 also saw the continued expansion of the NCBI retail chain from 96 shops in 2017 to 109 shops making NCBI the second largest charity shop chain in the country. This increase in shops resulted in a 14% rise in profits which in turn funded more NCBI frontline services. So by supporting our shops, customers not only generate funds for our services but also our drive to support the environment through the re-use and recycling of fashion and furniture.
Check here NCBI Annual report 2018