Image: RSB client Sheelagh Daniels smiling and hugging her RSB Guide Dog
Logo: RSB Official Logo
Inside Front Cover
Image: RSB client Penny laughing and cuddling with her baby son
Caption: RSB client Penny Sanchez enjoys time at home with her son, Riley
++Vision To be the primary responsive quality service provider to South 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.
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
Digital Library and Print Alternatives Services 28
RSB Human Resources and Volunteer Services 32
Marketing and Fundraising 34
My Eye Health Program 40
Special Thanks 42
In Memory 45
Treasurer’s Report 46
++History 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 128 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 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:
I am delighted to present the 2011/12 Royal Society for the Blind (RSB) Annual Report as President of the RSB. It has been another exceptional year in the development and delivery of our services to more than 12,000 South Australians who are blind or vision impaired.
Encouraging individuals to be proactive in managing their eye health, the My Eye Health community education program is now in its second year.
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, the Program is developing in leaps and bounds as it becomes well-known across South Australia.
During 2011/12, 190 eye health education presentations were held across South Australia for allied health staff, residents of aged care facilities and independent living units, high school students and general community groups, reaching almost 4,800 people.
Working closely with the Aboriginal Health Council of SA (AHCSA), MEHP Community
Educators also continue to look at ways to improve eye health for the Indigenous community. In 2012, this included the opportunity to present to Indigenous football players from the APY Lands and Maralinga during the Rio Tinto Cup.
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, and almost $93,000 was raised, assisting the continued delivery of the RSB’s quality services and exemplifying the RSB’s motto, “The Vision to make a Difference”.
In a South Australian first, the RSB Guide Dog Service welcomed three German Shepherd pups to its Puppy Education program in 2012—Kasey, Lily and Lola.
For 15 years, RSB Guide Dog Service Manager, Chris Muldoon, has been researching the German Shepherd breed and speaking to other guide dog schools around the world about the benefits of training these pups as guide dogs.
Kasey, Lily and Lola join more than 40 other Labrador and Golden Retriever pups in Puppy Education, with the aim to better meet client need and demand.
In 2012, the RSB Guide Dog Service also welcomed Guide Dog Mobility Instructor, Lindy Hennekam, to assist with the increasing workload.
As an accredited member of the International Federation of Guide Dogs, the RSB would like to acknowledge the on-going support of other guide dog schools worldwide, including Guide Dogs UK, Seeing Eye USA, Guide Dogs for the Blind US, Guiding Eyes USA, Guide Dogs for the Blind San Rafael, Guide Dogs Norge AS (Norway), Kansai Guide Dogs for the Blind Association Japan and Guide Dogs Queensland.
As we look at the world through the eyes of our clients in this report, 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 South Australians.
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 almost 80 full-time employees, which in monetary terms would equate to almost $3 million in salaries.
Special thanks must be bestowed upon our benefactors, donors and sponsors. Essential funds were also provided by The South Australian 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.
President Image: RSB Guide Dog pup sitting with the puppy pack which includes bag of Royal Canin food, bed, bowl, leash, toys and RSB Guide Dog Service puppy coat.
In 2011/12, the RSB has remained at the forefront of providing free, vital services, assisting more than 12,000 South Australians who are blind or vision impaired. Through on-going endeavour and dedication, the RSB remains true to its commitment in providing the best possible services for people who are blind or vision impaired to ensure independence and a better quality of life.
Recently completing our 16th independent Annual Client Survey of a random selection of clients, the following results were achieved:
Satisfaction with services, a rating of 98% (16 year average 94.4%)
Satisfaction with staff and volunteers 98% (16 year average 95%)
Improvement in quality of life 90% (16 year average 83%)
In this report, I would like to invite you to see the world through the eyes of some our clients, volunteers and supporters.
For each service report, you will have the chance to read about the ways in which the RSB has assisted real clients living in South Australia with real services.
For those of us who live with full vision, it can be difficult at times to truly understand the challenges some of our clients face on a day to day basis. It is my hope that this report will assist readers to see the world through the eyes of our clients, and create increased awareness and understanding about the vital services we provide at the RSB.
In the last 12 months alone, we have expanded the Child and Youth Services program, trained and graduated 12 client and RSB Guide Dog teams and introduced three German Shepherd pups to the RSB Guide Dog Service.
We have received more than 1,750 referrals for RSB Community Services, including counselling, independent living training, mobility services, peer support and recreation and leisure services and we have relocated the RSB Port Augusta office to new, larger accommodation to improve accessibility and enable the inclusion of more Adaptive Technology and Low Vision products.
To assist with the continued growth of the Recreation and Leisure Program, the RSB has continued its partnership with the Blind Welfare Association (BWA) and welcomed Blind Sports SA on board to further develop recreation and leisure groups and activities for South Australians who are blind or vision impaired.
The relationship with Blind Sports SA saw the employment of an RSB Sports Development Officer, who in 2011/12 worked with Charles Campbell Secondary School and Seaview High School to provide the opportunity for 62 students who are blind or vision impaired to participate in various sporting activities.
The RSB Adaptive Technology Centre (ATC) received 268 client referrals and provided almost 4,800 information and advisory services and it still remains the largest display of adaptive technology in Australia.
All of these positive happenings at the RSB are unfortunately shadowed by the increasing problem of vision loss within our community; in Australia, approximately 600,000 people have some form of vision loss and another 150,000 are predicted to develop vision loss within the next 10 years.
During 2011/12, concerns have also grown regarding eligibility and access to services for people who are blind or vision impaired under the new National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
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.
Concerns remain that many Australians who are blind or vision impaired will not fit into any of the current proposed federal funding schemes, and will fall through the cracks unless the needs of this significant segment of the Australian population (some 150,000 people) are recognised.
While the RSB supports many of the recommendations, it is important that all Australians who have a disability, including a loss of vision, are provided essential services.
Image: Vet Ian sitting with RSB Guide Dog Yardley
Caption: Dr Ian McMillan provides veterinary services for RSB Guide Dog Yardley free of charge. Thank you to the Para Vista Veterinary Clinic.
Moving forward into 2012/13, the RSB will continue to lobby for changes to protect the rights and independence of people who are blind or vision impaired, including:
Access to early intervention services, before degenerative conditions lead to legal blindness
The removal of age discriminatory conditions, currently forcing people who acquire vision loss over the age of 65 to be referred to the Aged Care system, where many will not receive services based on current eligibility
The removal of a discriminatory co-payment based solely on the age of acquiring vision impairment (no requirement to pay for access to services currently exists and it only serves to penalise people wishing to remain independent)
My role as Chairman of the Australian Blindness Forum (ABF) and my involvement with the State Committee for National Disability Services has assisted RSB to lobby for these changes.
To ensure on-going awareness of current best practices and to form collaborative links with other like-minded progressive organisations, the RSB maintains strong connections to the wider world.
To assist in the facilitation of this, I serve as one of two elected Australian delegates to the World Blind Union (WBU) and am on the Elderly Blind and Asia Pacific Employment and Empowerment Committees.
Finally, 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 Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs
South Australian Department for Families and Communities
Commonwealth Department for Employment, Education and Workplace Relations
As well as our RSB Ambassadors and our Patron His Excellency, Rear Admiral Kevin Scarce, Governor of South Australia.
With your support, we look forward to continuing our vision to make a difference in 2013 and beyond.
Executive Director Image: RSB Brood Bitch with her six pups all sitting together
Image: Close of picture of RSB purple paw print cupcakes all lined up in a row
Caption: RSB paw print cupcakes are sold at special events to raise much needed funds for the RSB Guide Dog Service.
Image: Corporate photo of Dennis Moir
RSB Community Services provides vision rehabilitation services to people who are blind or vision impaired living in South Australia. This vital outreach service is delivered into the homes, workplaces and local communities of people living with vision loss to ensure independence and inclusion. More than 1,750 referrals were received for RSB Community Services in 2011/12, including counselling, independent living training, mobility services, peer support and recreation and leisure services. This includes referrals from regional areas across South Australia, including Noarlunga, Smithfield, Victor Harbor, Mt Gambier and Port Augusta where 12 qualified regional staff ensure clients receive the same level of services as metropolitan clients.
In 2012, the RSB Port Augusta office was relocated to new, larger accommodation to improve accessibility and enable the inclusion of more Adaptive Technology and Low Vision products. Plans to build a new office at Noarlunga also continue to advance, with the goal to better service RSB clients in the South.
Community Outreach To raise awareness of RSB services among ophthalmologists, the RSB held its fourth Ophthalmic Registrar Program with the aim to improve the continuum of care for RSB clients between the medical and rehabilitation sectors.
Children aged from birth to six years old were also a focus in 2011/12 and Early Intervention Training was carried out among Orientation and Mobility Instructors, Occupational Therapists, Low Vision Centre Staff and Coordinators across the RSB.
The training resulted from an increase in demand for Child and Youth Services in 2011/12 and has assisted staff to assess children’s functional vision and use of all senses, accurately identify children’s strengths and current levels of functioning as well as create, coordinate and implement intervention plans for children.
Staff were also trained in how to work collaboratively and in partnership with families and other team members and taught how to access appropriate resources to provide intervention for infants and young children with a vision impairment and their families.
Mobility Services Professional Orientation and Mobility specialists continue to provide assistance to people who are experiencing difficulties in moving about their homes or workplaces, or travelling due to vision loss. A vital service, in 2011/12 Mobility Services received more than 300 referrals.
In an effort to expand the range of orientation and mobility technology available to clients, the Mobility Services team undertook a comprehensive evaluation of the Kapten GPS in 2011/12 to determine which clients would most benefit from the new technology. Initial training for staff was also completed.
A study and trial on the use of the Apple iPad for instruction and communication was also carried out, allowing Orientation and Mobility Instructors to determine the iPad’s potential as a direct teaching tool for clients in the area of orientation and mobility.
With VoiceOver, zoom capabilities, Speak Auto-text and audible alerts, clients are able to use the iPad effectively for many day-to-day tasks, including the use of mapping Apps and GPS capabilities.