RSB Ambassador Rachael Leahcar’s life changed in 2014 when she was matched with her guiding eyes, RSB Guide Dog Ella.
Vision To be the primary responsive quality service provider to Australians who are blind or vision impaired.
Mission 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.
To sponsor an RSB Guide Dog pup today, call (08) 8417 5555, email email@example.com or visit www.rsb.org.au
Board of Directors
Executive Director’s Report
My Eye Health Program
RSB Guide Dog Service
RSB Industrial Services
Print Alternative & Digital Library Services
Marketing & Fundraising
Offices of the RSB
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 130 years of supporting South Australia’s blind and vision impaired community, the RSB has grown from an ambitious employment and training centre, to become a leading provider of services to more than 12,000 Australians nationally who are blind or vision impaired.
An expansion into other states commenced in 2013 to address the unmet needs of Australians who are blind or vision impaired.
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:
Client Advisory Committee
Finance and Audit
Nominations and Governance
All Directors are required to acknowledge and subscribe to the following responsibilities:
To act honestly and in good faith
To use due care and diligence
To act in the best interest of the RSB
To ensure that management is competent
Not to engage in conduct likely to discredit or bring the RSB into disrepute
His Excellency, Rear Admiral Kevin Scarce AO CSC RANR, Governor of South Australia
8/8/2007 – 7/8/2014
Mrs. Marjorie Jackson-Nelson, AC, CVO, MBE
3/11/2001 – 31/7/2007
Sir Eric J. Neal, AC, CVO
22/7/1996 – 3/11/2001
The Honorable Dame Roma Mitchell, AC, DBE, CVO
6/2/1991 – 21/7/1996
Lieutenant General Sir Donald B. Dunstan, AC, KBE, CB
Manager, Print Alternative & Digital Library Services
Ray Clark, President
As the President of the Royal Society for the Blind (RSB), I am delighted to present the 2013/14 special 130th Anniversary Annual Report, ‘For All to See’. To celebrate this anniversary milestone, in 2014 a number of celebratory events were held, including a reception at Government House with former RSB Patron and Governor of South Australia, His Excellency, Rear Admiral Kevin Scarce in June.
In July, the City of Adelaide celebrated with a reception hosted by The Right Honourable The Lord Mayor of Adelaide Stephen Yarwood. Both receptions were well attended with more than 300 RSB supportersattending overall, including clients, volunteers, sponsors, staff, friends and family.
To ensure client demand was met during the RSB’s anniversary year, a phenomenal 36 pups were welcomed to the RSB Guide Dog Service, taking the total number of pups in training to 63.
To date, the Service is proud to have trained 55 RSB Guide Dogs and client working teams – a strong and admired outcome for just eight years of service delivery.
The My Eye Health Program is also delivering great outcomes after just four years, with a lifetime total of more than 650 presentations across metropolitan and rural areas, reaching almost 15,200 people.
In 2014/15, the My Eye Health Program will take a national focus, expanding to the Hunter Region, New South Wales and Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, in line with the RSB’s expansion.
Recognition must also be given to RSB Industrial Services, which in 2013/14 remained competitive in a tough business climate, with a turnover of approximately $1.3 million.
From its beginnings as a broom and brush making factory in 1884, RSB Industrial Services have provided valuable and meaningful employment to many South Australians for 130 years, and today employs 65 people who are blind or vision impaired.
The RSB also remains at the national and global forefront of both advocacy and blindness sector developments with representatives in the World Blind Union (WBU), Australian Blindness Forum (ABF), National Disability Services SA (NDS-SA) and National Aged Care Alliance (NACA).
Thanks go to RSB staff and management for their continued hard work, energy, commitment and dedication. Every day almost 200 staff ensure that the RSB’s services are delivered at the highest standard, helping to improve the lives of so many Australians living with vision loss.
We are also grateful to all RSB Volunteers – without the support and generous time donated by almost 700 RSB Volunteers, the provision of many RSB services would simply not be possible. The volunteers’ invaluable efforts across all areas of the RSB equal more than 114,800 hours of service to 2,761 clients, equating to more than $3.5 million in saved wage costs.
Special thanks must also be bestowed upon our benefactors, donors and sponsors – the fabric of the RSB is woven with so many stakeholders of support, commitment and passion from all avenues of our community.
I would also like to personally thank and acknowledge RSB’s Patron in 2013/14, former Governor of South Australia, Rear Admiral Kevin Scarce. We are pleased to welcome South Australia’s new Governor, His Excellency the Honourable Hieu Van Le AO as RSB’s new Patron.
Executive Director’s Report
Andrew Daly, Executive Director
In 2013/14, the RSB’s 130th Anniversary Year was one of significant celebration and reflection. As one of South Australia’s longest serving community organisations, the RSB has evolved from a small workshop founded by Andrew Whyte Hendry and Charles Goode in 1884, to a large-scale, multi-faceted service assisting more than 12,000 Australians nationally who are blind or vision impaired.
The RSB continues to evolve to meet the changing needs of its clients, but also the ever changing environment it operates within, with great success.
In 2013/14, more than 170,028 service hours were delivered by RSB Client Services staff. This includes more than 5,000 new referrals and 14,573 individual service occasions.
RSB clients maintained independence with more than 10,500 service hours delivered by RSB Occupational Therapists and 6,473 service hours delivered by RSB Orientation and Mobility Instructors.
Employment Services delivered more than 6,500 hours, and placed clients such as 20-year-old Alex Kolberg, an Apprentice Chef, who is now happily working at The Taxpayer in Adelaide.
Clients under the age of 18, as well as their families, were also supported with 1,300 service hours provided by RSB Child & Youth Services, including the introduction of a new ‘Make It Happen’ life-skills camp in 2014.
It is the seamless delivery of these services, and more, that have assisted the RSB to once again receive the ultimate tick of approval from our clients, with outstanding results in the 2013 annual Client Survey.
The Survey now boasts an 18 year average of 94.5 per cent satisfaction with services and 95.4 per cent satisfaction with staff and volunteers. A result we should all be proud of.
This significant milestone for the RSB could not be achieved without the RSB Board of Management, supporters, donors and the dedication of almost 200 RSB staff, which includes 70 people with vision impairment and/or other disabilities employed at RSB Industrial Services.
Also crucial is the input of almost 700 volunteers, from the volunteer Board of Management and RSB Ambassadors, 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 and we thank you for your support in the RSB’s 130th year and beyond.
I would also like to formally acknowledge the ongoing support of many State and Federal Government funding bodies, including:
Department for Communities and Social Inclusion
Department of Veterans’ Affairs
Department of Health
Department of Social Services
The RSB has recently undergone a strategic expansion with offices in South Australia, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. It has also been restructuring some departments to ensure all National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and Aged Care Reform requirements are being met, and will continue to be met, with the rollout of these schemes.
RSB Hunter Region Office officially opened While the Royal Society for the Blind (RSB) has been providing services for people who are blind or vision impaired in the Hunter Region since November 2013, the office was officially opened on 23 July 2014, a landmark milestone.
Opened by The Hon John Ajaka MLC, Minister for Disability Services, NSW, with local member for Lake Macquarie, Greg Piper in attendance, the Minister expressed how impressed he was by the services being offered, particularly in an area that has an ageing population.
The range of professional services provided include Occupational Therapy, Independent Living Assessments, Adaptive Technology, Social Support and Wellness programs, Print Alternatives and Counselling.
RSB | CBS celebrates official launch The Royal Society for the Blind (RSB) and Canberra Blind Society (CBS) formally announced their new partnership at an official launch on 25 July 2014.
The RSB | CBS have come together to deliver an increased range of services to people who are blind or vision impaired living in the ACT. CBS has been a major provider of services in the ACT for 55 years, and with the RSB’s long history of 130 years, both partners are now working together as RSB | CBS to offer a broader range of blindness services.
James Bardsley, Manager, Client Services
RSB Client Services provides a range of specialist services to support people who are blind or vision impaired to remain at home, maintain their independence and participate fully in the communities in which they live. The RSB Client Services team works with clients to identify, assess and deliver an individualised service plan that incorporates client choice and best meets their individual needs.
In 2013/14, more than 170,028 service hours were delivered by RSB Client Services staff. During 2013/14, 5,225 new referrals requesting services from the RSB were received. 14,573 individual service occasions were provided to clients by the RSB’s multi-disciplinary teams.
RSB Client Services is made up of the following key services:
Mobility Services RSB Orientation and Mobility Instructors provide assistance to people who are having difficulties navigating their homes, community and workplaces, allowing them to travel independently with safety and confidence.
Independent Living Training RSB Occupational Therapy staff deliver a range of services to assist people who are blind or vision impaired through the prescription of a range of low vision aids and equipment.
Recreation & Leisure Services RSB’s Recreation & Leisure Services continued to deliver significant results with a range of programs focussed on the Health & Wellness of people who are blind or vision impaired in 2013/14.
In conjunction with RSB’s traditional recreation and leisure services the RSB’s dedicated service team have developed a range of new programs that aim to improve clients health and fitness thereby providing them with a strong framework for maintaining their independence and their ability to remain in the community for as long as possible.
In 2013/14 the RSB delivered a total of 6,788 hours of Recreation and Leisure Services to more than 2,000 clients. In 2013/14, RSB Occupational Therapists provided 10,590 hours of service to clients. In 2013/14, RSB Orientation and Mobility Instructors provided 6,472 hours of services to clients. In 2013/14 RSB Child and Youth Services provided 1,300 hours of assistance and support to clients under the age of 18, as well as their families.
Counselling Services The RSB has a specially trained team of counsellors who assist individual clients to adjust to their vision loss and assist them with referrals and support to external services. Counselling is also provided for the families of people who have experienced vision loss, to provide them with an awareness and understanding of the functional impact of vision loss.
Low Vision Centre – South Australia The RSB’s Low Vision Centre continues to deliver its specialised service to clients living in SA. Through the support of Optometrists and Ophthalmologists in SA, the Low Vision Centre supported more than 2,500 clients in 2013/14. This includes a total of 10,738 direct service hours to clients and 9,715 hours of information and advisory services for people interested in RSB Low Vision Services.
Through the RSB’s strong relationship with Flinders University the RSB continues to provide a training ground for new optometrists studying at Flinders University. It provides these students with a unique experience in understanding what happens to clients once they leave the services of an optometrist, creating new referral pathways for the future. The RSB in conjunction with Flinders University’s Low Vision Clinic, now provides the opportunity for RSB clients to be seen at this new state of the art clinic based in the southern suburbs.
Adaptive Technology Centre (ATC) 4,517 – The number of information and advisory services provided in 2013/14 to a variety of other clients and stakeholders interested in the wide array of specialised equipment that is on offer in RSB’s Adaptive Technology Centres. These centres are also now available to clients in the Hunter Region, NSW and Canberra, ACT.
Child & Youth Services RSB’s Child & Youth Services offer a variety of support services to children and youth between the ages of 0 to 18 and their families.
In 2013/14, the ATC provided direct training services to more than 1,500 clients and provided 7,792 hours of training services in Australia. In 2013/14, a total of 4,872 hours of counselling services were delivered to clients. In 2013/14 RSB Employment Services delivered 6,591 hours of services to clients.
Employment Services In 2013/14 RSB Employment Services had a renewed focus on obtaining and maintaining sustainable employment for clients who are blind or vision impaired, with a significant increase in job placements.
Through a range of new initiatives, RSB Employment Services is now better placed to support clients wanting to maintain their employment, return back to the workforce, or look for their first job.
RSB Volunteer Services In 2013/14 RSB Volunteers once again went above and beyond to help change the lives of people who are blind or vision impaired.
Without the support and generous time given by almost 700 RSB Volunteers, the provision of many RSB services would not be possible. The volunteers’ invaluable efforts across all areas of the RSB delivered 114,808 hours of service to 2,761 clients which equates to approximately $3.5 million in saved wage costs. The RSB is grateful to all volunteers who dedicated their time to assist people who are blind or vision impaired in 2013/14 and looks forward to the support of these volunteers in 2014/15.
National Expansion 2013/14 has been a busy year for the RSB, with interstate expansions in the Hunter Region, NSW and Canberra, ACT. Both locations were specifically targeted to learn from National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) pilot sites, and further to this, market research indicated that there was a significant need for services for people who are blind or vision impaired in the regions.
New staff commenced in both locations to deliver much needed services in the Hunter Region, and to expand the level of service to people who are blind or vision impaired in Canberra.
For the Hunter Region it was a new start and for Canberra it was a new beginning as the RSB commenced a partnership with the Canberra Blind Society (CBS).
Official launches were held during July 2014 in both states. The community value of services to people who are blind or vision impaired was acknowledged with the positive support of the Hon John Ajaka MLC in NSW and Dr Andrew Leigh MP in Canberra, who opened the office locations on 23 and 25 July respectively.
With many challenges ahead under the new legislative reforms of the NDIS and Aged Care, the RSB remains focused on ensuring Australians who are blind or vision impaired continue to receive services that will enable them to live as independently as possible.
“I definitely have a greater joy in life since working at The Taxpayer and it’s been great for me in all aspects of my life. I would say to anyone who’s thinking about it to definitely use RSB Employment Services and to make sure they keep at it and keep trying to follow their dream.”
RSB Client and Apprentice Chef, Alex Kolberg
NDIS & Aged Care Reform Over the last 12 months there has been a plethora of changes to service provision in the sector brought about by government reform at a federal level, including both the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and the Aged Care Reform Agenda.
This coupled with changes to Disability Employment Services (of which RSB is a part of) and reform to the Health Services sector has brought with it a number of challenges for the RSB including how to operate in this changing environment but also how to best continue to deliver our specialist services to people who are blind or vision impaired and identify opportunities for new service delivery to further assist our client group.
Since the NDIS was first mooted, the RSB has continued to actively campaign on the need to adequately include and account for, the future needs of people who are blind or vision impaired, and the organisation continues to actively seek support at both state and federal levels.
At an operational level, RSB Client Services continues to look at ways to support clients through this very confusing and changing period, with the ultimate goal of opening up new avenues for service provision to people who are blind or vision impaired, and to continue to offer client choice in the services that they receive.
Government of South Australia Department for Communities and Social Inclusion
NSW Government | Health
Australian Government Department of Veterans’ Affairs
Australian Government Department of Health
Australian Government Department of Social Services