Leading Charities for Blind People Move In to bribís Site in Harborne

Birmingham Royal Institution for the Blind (brib) is welcoming two major national charities to its Harborne site. Guide Dogs and The National Blind Children’s Society (NBCS) will be sharing a building with Focus Birmingham alongside Queen Alexandra College (QAC).

During its 160 year history, brib has seen many changes. In 1903 it moved from Edgbaston to build a new Kindergarten in the countryside on Court Oak Road, near to the village of Harborne. That building now forms a part of Queen Alexandra College. The surrounding area has changed greatly since then, but throughout the century, services for people who are blind or partially sighted have operated uninterrupted from brib’s site. 

In 1997 the operations of Queen Alexandra College, Focus Birmingham and the BRIB Housing Society were transferred to new charities.

Since then, Focus Birmingham has established itself as one of the key providers of specialist support, care, advice and guidance to those with visual impairment and other disabilities. Focus operates residential care homes, day services and community outreach projects including home visiting, rehabilitation services and social activities. Focus also has a state-of-the art Low Vision Clinic on the Harborne site.

QAC is a leading national independent specialist college for people with disabilities. Students and clients with visual impairment and/or other disabilities follow a range of vocational programmes, are supported in independent living and moving towards employment. QAC’s successful advance2work programme supports people aged 18 plus with disabilities into employment.

Guide Dogs will be delivering and further developing its range of Mobility services from the site through the Birmingham Mobility team.  These include the long established Guide Dogs service and new services which include My Guide and Buddy Dog.  Colin Vince, Mobility Team Manager said "We are absolutely delighted to be part of the new site offering us the opportunity to work even more collaboratively with other key organisations in the sector. Crucially, this will ensure we can continue to provide improved access to a range of services for children and adults with a visual impairment". 

NBCS is the leading UK provider of services to children and young people with visual impairment and their families. Its aim is to help them to achieve their educational and recreational goals, offering specialist, independent advice and support from first diagnosis through to the completion of full-time education and entering employment.

Chairman of brib, Geoffrey Oakley said “welcoming Guide Dogs and NBCS to our Harborne premises reinforces brib’s commitment to provide the best possible support and services for people with a visual impairment. Their work will complement the excellence of Focus Birmingham and Queen Alexandra College and we look forward to a long and successful co-operation.”