To be the primary responsive quality service provider to South Australians who are blind or vision impaired.
The RSB is the primary source of assistance giving people with a vision impairment the opportunity to improve the quality and independence of their lives.
Corporate Governance 2
Board of Directors 4
President’s Report 6
Executive Director’s Report 8
Community Services 12
Low Vision Services 16
RSB Guide Dog Service 20
RSB Industrial Services 24
Marketing and Fundraising 28
My Eye Health Program 34
Digital Library and Print Alternatives Services 36
Special Thanks 38
In Memory 41
Treasurer’s Report 42
It began with a blind man’s vision. It took the vision of a blind man to truly appreciate the needs of people who were blind in South Australia and understand the plight they faced in the late 19th century.
Andrew Whyte Hendry, who was blinded after a childhood accident, had the conviction and determination to start an industrial training school for the blind in 1884, which has steadily grown and flourished into the multi-faceted Royal Society for the Blind of the 21st Century.
With the help of Sir Charles Goode, a philanthropist, Andrew’s dream was realised on 21 November 1884 when the Institute for the Blind was formed – the genesis of what would become the Royal Society for the Blind of South Australia (RSB).
Through 127 years of supporting South Australia’s blind and vision impaired community, the RSB has grown from an ambitious employment and training centre, to be the primary provider of services to more than 12,000 people who are blind or vision impaired.
The RSB holds true today to the vision Andrew Whyte Hendry held in 1884: The Vision to make a Difference.
Corporate Governance is the process by which the RSB is directed and controlled. The aim is to ensure that the management of the RSB is ethical and acts in accordance with its vision and values. The RSB is regulated by The Royal Institution for the Blind Act (1934) as amended, and its constitution. These define the rules and processes through which the RSB is managed.
The Board of Directors has responsibility for the governance of the RSB. It sets strategic direction, monitors the affairs of and reviews the RSB’s performance against targets and objectives.
To assist in this process, the Board has created the following RSB sub-committees to provide specialist advice:
Board Member since March 2007
JP, AICD, MLBS
Board Member since August 1996
Board Member since June 2003
Board Member since February 1992
Board Member since November 1989
BA (ACC), FCA
Board Member since June 1994
Dr Jim Runciman
MB, CHB, FRACS, FRACO
Board Member since June 1996
MEng(Hons), MSc, CEng, MIMechE, AAICD
Board Member since November 2009
Board Member since 2010
Tara Mc Knight
BA, BLaw, Grad.Cert.Leg.Prac.
Board Member since 2010
Board Member since
BEC, ACA, FAIM,
Board Member since July 1996
++Management Andrew Daly
++President’s Report I am delighted to present the 2010/11 RSB Annual Report, my third as President. It has been another exceptional year, with increasing growth; the RSB is now delivering services to more than 12,000 South Australians who are blind or vision impaired.
Did you know another 150,000 Australians are expected to lose their vision during the next 10 years?
At the RSB, we are focusing on the future to ensure that our services continue to meet demand and expectation, assisting RSB clients to develop and maintain independence. This annual report highlights not just successful activities from the past 12 months, but also includes each department’s ‘Focus for the Future’. From expanding RSB Low Vision Services, to the creation of a dedicated Child and Youth Service, to moving to a larger site in Noarlunga to meet growing client needs, to simply spreading the word, I believe the RSB’s future looks brighter than ever.
Helping to lead the way is the My Eye Health community education program – encouraging individuals to be proactive in managing their eye health.
The My Eye Health Program (MEHP) is a collaborative initiative of four of South Australia’s leading organisations, the RSB, the Freemasons Foundation, the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (SA) and the Sight for All Foundation. In 2011 the My Eye Health Program visited 15 towns across rural South Australia, educating more than 4,200 people across significant areas of the State at more than 150 presentations about eye health, common causes of vision loss, what help is available and tips for healthy eyes.
A recent partnering with the Adelaide Football Club (AFC) has also assisted the program to deliver eye health messages to Aboriginal communities in South Australia, particularly the Anangu, Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands. As a result of this partnership, the MEHP was invited to join the Aboriginal Health Council of SA (AHCSA) on their regular Eye Team visit to the Lands. This on-going collaboration is a positive step towards improving eye health amongst the Aboriginal communities in SA.
This is not the only beneficial link the RSB has forged with other organisations in 2011. The RSB and Blind Sports SA have come together, enabling a Sports Development Officer to join the RSB Recreation and Leisure team. The partnership has been beneficial in many ways, allowing the RSB to work with South Australian schools to introduce sporting activities such as tandem cycling and blind cricket to students who are blind or vision impaired – students who may require the assistance of the RSB in the future.
The RSB remains committed to developing future business leaders of South Australia with the
in-business Young Business Leaders Program. Last year’s Program saw another fantastic, enthusiastic group of young people participate with their mentors and employers. Almost $160,000 was raised, assisting the continued delivery of the RSB’s quality services and exemplifying the RSB’s motto, “The Vision to make a Difference”.
As we focus on the future, thanks go to the RSB management and staff for their continued hard work, energy, commitment and dedication. Every day, RSB management and staff ensure that RSB services are delivered at the highest standard, helping to improve the lives of so many
RSB volunteers also deserve our great gratitude for contributing their time to ensure the consistent delivery of essential RSB services. Without their support, the provision of many of the RSB’s services would not be possible. Their invaluable efforts in all areas of the RSB are the equivalent of more than 70 full-time employees, which in monetary terms would equate to in excess of $2.6 million in salaries.
Due to the sustained growth in Volunteer Services, the volunteer department will expand in 2012, with dedicated Volunteer Support Officers to be located at the Smithfield and Noarlunga offices in addition to the city staff, providing more effective local support. The RSB looks forward to this exciting new era of Volunteer Services.
Special thanks must be bestowed upon our benefactors, donors and sponsors. The new site at Noarlunga is an example of what has been made possible thanks to the generosity of Mr Leo Schleim, one of the RSB’s benefactors who left a substantial bequest for this purpose. Essential funds were also provided by The South Australian Department for Families and Communities, Office of Disability and Client Services, Department of Health and Ageing, Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, as well as Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations – thank you for helping us make a difference.
I would also like to thank and acknowledge the RSB’s Patron, His Excellency Rear Admiral Kevin Scarce, Governor of South Australia, for his on-going support.
++Executive Director’s Report As I begin my Report for 2010/11, I look back on the last financial year with much pride and
great anticipation for the future. As the largest provider of services to now more than 12,000 South Australians who are blind or vision impaired, the future is more than important to us, it is fundamental. Our future means the continued provision of adaptive technology, so that students who are vision impaired may attend university; it means thousands of hours of Orientation and Mobility instruction, to assist clients to maintain their independence and mobility; it means an improved and enhanced Child and Youth Services program, providing services to children born with a vision impairment from birth right through to adulthood; most importantly, it means we are here to provide real services to real people, allowing them to live independently and improve their quality
I am a firm believer that to be successful in the future, we also have to focus on today. Through great endeavor and dedicated effort, the RSB remains true to its commitment in providing the best possible services for people who are blind or vision impaired. Recently completing our 15th independent Annual Client Survey of a random selection of clients, the following results were achieved:
Satisfaction with services, a rating of 97% (15 year average 94%)
Satisfaction with staff and volunteers 98% (15 year average 95%)
Improvement in quality of life 89% (15 year average 83%)
Among the RSB’s other achievements throughout 2010/11, is the secured future of the RSB Digital Library Service. By purchasing the RSB Digital Library from Audio-Read, an Australian based company, the RSB has enabled further expansion of our audiobook library – meeting increased demand as the RSB Digital Library Service continues to grow.
I am also excited to advise that the RSB is currently in the process of expanding its services provided to children and young people, beginning with a review of the service and the employment of a Child and Youth Services Coordinator. The Child and Youth Services Coordinator will provide dedicated support to RSB clients under the age of 18 years, including initial assessments, establishing Individual Service Plans and ensuring each child is referred to relevant services. To complement the Child and Youth Services’ expansion, the RSB has recently been acknowledged by FaHCSIA as a Better Start Funding service provider.
The RSB Guide Dog Service is another expanding area of the RSB, and in just five years, has trained 41 RSB Guide Dog working teams. To meet increasing demand, another 40 pups are currently in the puppy education program, bred from our very own RSB Guide Dog Service
To meet best practice breeding, a breeding advisory group made up of specialist veterinarians provides valuable assistance to produce the finest quality RSB Guide Dogs. Most importantly, the RSB Guide Dog Service breeding program would not be possible without the support of Guide Dogs Queensland, Guide Dogs UK, Guide Dogs for the Blind Ireland, Guide Dogs Norway and Guiding Eyes in New York, USA, whose generous donations have assisted immensely along the way.
To ensure our breeding program continues to meet demand, the RSB Guide Dog Service is currently in negotiation with Guide Dogs UK for breeding stock material and Guide Dogs for the Blind San Rafael for the donation of a Brood Bitch. Guide Dogs for the Blind San Rafael is the largest guide dog school in the USA, and we look forward to continuing this beneficial relationship.
As an accredited member of the International Guide Dog Federation, the RSB is most grateful for the support of other guide dog schools around the world, including the Kansai Guide Dog School in Japan for the gift of three pups, due to arrive in November 2011.
In August, the RSB took part in an inaugural Low Vision Fellowship Program, in conjunction with the Sight for All Foundation and the South Australian School for Vision Impaired (SASVI).
The RSB welcomed Paediatric Ophthalmologist, Dr Dechen Wangmo and Orthoptist, Abi Khatinara, from Bhutan.
The Fellowship Program serves to advance education, technical expertise and proficiency of eye care professionals from developing countries by offering hands-on experience, including vision assessment, the prescription of magnifiers, occupational therapy and sighted guide training. As a result of the Program, the RSB has donated a number of magnifiers to assist people who have experienced vision loss in Bhutan and Dr Wangmo and Khatinara’s experience will provide the knowledge to develop the first ever Low Vision Centre in Bhutan.
The RSB has always been very active in advocating for the consideration of issues for our clients, and will continue to represent the rights of South Australians who are blind or vision impaired to independently participate in our communities and enjoy the benefits of Australian Citizenship on an equal basis to all other Australians.
My role as Chairman of the Australian Blindness Forum (ABF) and my involvement with the State Committee for National Disability Services has assisted the RSB to prepare submissions for both Productivity Commission Reports on Caring for Older Australians (Ageing) and Disability, Care and Support (NDSS). The RSB has concerns about the impact of both Reports on people who are blind or vision impaired and believes politicians must be made aware of the issues from a blindness perspective.
The RSB maintains strong connections to the wider world, to ensure its awareness of current best practices and to form collaborative links with other likeminded progressive organisations. To assist in the facilitation of this, I serve as one of two elected Australian delegates to the World Blind Union (WBU) and I am on the Elderly Blind and Asia Pacific Employment and Empowerment Committees.
As we focus on the future, the continued provision of services to more than 12,000 South Australians who are blind or vision impaired is only possible through the dedication of almost 200 RSB staff, which includes more than 70 people with vision impairment and/or other disabilities employed at the RSB’s Industrial Services division. Also crucial is the input of more than 900 volunteers, stretching from the volunteer board of management, to people that generously give their time to help deliver essential services to RSB clients, and through to the wider community of generous supporters and donors. To all of these people, I extend my heartfelt thanks.
I would also like to formally acknowledge the on-going support of many State and Federal Government funding bodies, including:
Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing
Commonwealth Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs
South Australian Department for Families and Communities
Commonwealth Department for Employment, Education and Workplace Relations.
With your support, we look forward to continuing our vision to make a difference in 2012 and beyond.
++Community Services RSB Community Services provides vision rehabilitation services to people throughout
South Australia. The RSB delivers this vital outreach service into the homes and local communities of RSB clients. RSB’s continuing goal is to provide training and support to clients, which allows them to remain at home, maintain independence and participate fully in the community. Among the 1,564 referrals received for the RSB outreach services in 2010/11, more than 40,000 hours were spent providing Counselling, Independent Living Training, Orientation and Mobility Training and Recreation and Leisure Services.
To improve the continuum of care for RSB clients between the medical and rehabilitation sectors, the Ophthalmic Registrar Program was held for the third time with great response.
Partnerships continue to expand with other blindness agencies and service providers, including
the Macular Degeneration Foundation (MDF). Early in the year, the RSB provided training to 10 MDF staff, to assist in the flow of services from one organization to another. RSB staff participated in the MDF Telelink Program, a national program aimed at providing people with information and peer support to assist those living with MD in major cities and regional areas.
Staff at the RSB’s five regional offices – Mt Gambier, Victor Harbor, Port Augusta, Noarlunga and Smithfield – continue to promote RSB services through expos and community education programs. All RSB services are available through this regional network, with RSB staff also regularly visiting the Riverland, Yorke Peninsula and the West Coast.
Adaptive Technology is more readily available for clients than ever, expanding to enable accessibility at all regional offices, including the demonstration of Dolphin Guide computer software and the latest in electronic magnifiers. The RSB Smithfield office continues to grow and expand the range of activities available to clients since its opening in 2010. This year, a successful Microwave Cooking Course was introduced, with the emphasis on being healthy and cooking for one.
To ensure access of RSB services continues to reach South Australians from different cultural backgrounds, a thorough review of CALD services is now underway. Services are provided in culturally sensitive ways and information is provided in a wide range of languages.
With more than 300 referrals per year, the continued expansion of services that help people who are blind or vision impaired to travel independently and safely has seen the implementation of a permanent Orientation and Mobility Instructor at Noarlunga. A specialist Orientation and Mobility Instructor has also been recruited from the USA and is now based in the Adelaide office.
Invaluable training for South Australia’s public transport staff continued in 2010/11, with eight training sessions provided for TransAdelaide tram drivers.
From training to technology, the Mobility Services team aims to achieve best practice. In 2010, a comprehensive evaluation was undertaken of Trekker Breeze GPS technology, determining that it is particularly useful to clients when travelling in unfamiliar areas.
Mobility Services will continue to expand the range of technology available to RSB clients, including ILA mini canes, slimline graphite folding canes, I-glasses and hand and head LED torches.
Recreation and Leisure
The RSB continues to work with the Blind Welfare Association (BWA) to develop the RSB Recreation and Leisure Service, which is generously assisted by a grant of $60,000 from the SA Office of Sport and Recreation, to be used over two years.
A significant expansion of the service in 2010/11 has seen the employment of a third RSB Recreation and Leisure Officer to manage the eastern and western suburbs. More than 1,200 Recreation and Leisure participants now have access to 108 groups, a 14.8 per cent increase on
the last financial year. Service hours have also increased to 29,000, a 73 per cent increase. Strong volunteer assistance assists with the provision of this service.
In 2011, a partnership was formed with Blind Sports SA, which saw the Sports Development Officer join the RSB Recreation and Leisure team. This partnership has allowed the RSB to work with South Australian schools to introduce activities such as tandem cycling and blind cricket to students who are blind or vision impaired. For school leavers, a transition day was held to provide information on RSB Recreation and Leisure activities.
Annual community event involvement continues to grow and provides an excellent goal for participants who are involved with some of the regular Recreation and Leisure groups such as walking, tandem cycling and golf. In 2010/11, 11 tandem cycling teams participated in the Mutual Community Challenge of the Tour Down Under. The 2011 City-Bay saw 22 clients participating in the 6km and 12 km distances, and the National Blind Golf Championships were held in May 2011.
++Focus for the Future