Foundation For The Blind Celebrates A Successful Transition
The Royal New Zealand Foundation for the Blind (RNZFB) celebrates a year of significant achievement at their Annual
Public Meeting on 28 July at Awhina House in Parnell, Auckland.
During 18 months of organisational transition and transformation, the Foundation has reallocated resources and set up
systems to monitor the quality of their services. The result has been improved and increased services.
"Over the last year we have created seven national divisions which focus on the Foundation's core business, " says
Gordon Sanderson, Chairman, Board of Trustees (RNZFB).
"This has allowed us to provide new, or to enhance existing services and is setting the stage for the Foundation's next
phase of development.
"We have been able to achieve this despite blind registrations increasing by more than one third (from 8,000 to 12,500
people) since 1992. Although we have received additional government funding for children's orientation and mobility
services in the past year, the Foundation still has to raise $12.5 million every year - $45,000 each working day - to
support our rehabilitation services."
Treasurer Frank Claridge says that the increase in services to blind and sight-impaired people was achieved through
money redirected as a result of the redesign, allowing staff to spend more time on direct services as the new divisions
"Although total expenditure was up by 2%, much more than that was spent on services to blind and sight-impaired people.
In fact the saving of $926,000 which was made as a result of the organisational redesign is now going directly into
services. We ended the year with a $95,000 surplus in our general fund and that's a very healthy way to end the
Foundation Chief Executive, Jane Holden says this shows that the organisation is committed and focused on service
"Over the past year we've introduced orientation and mobility training for children and increased adult orientation and
mobility instruction. This training is essential for safety in the home, at school, at work and for moving about in the
"We also had our first five instructors in children's orientation and mobility training graduate from an NZQA approved
Massey University course.
"Needs Assessors have replaced Service Advisors, speeding up the enrolment process. Identifying people's service needs
and discussing their options with them is also more efficient as a result.
"Most recently, on 1 July  Homai Vision Education Centre was recognised and is now established as a State
Residential Special School.
"I am proud that we have delivered all those services we committed to and have also met our fundraising targets which
are crucial to service delivery in the coming year."
The Foundation has several initiatives planned for the next twelve months including, * Piloting residential
rehabilitation services, so that those who need to receive intensive training have the opportunity to do so in a
residential centre. * Increasing involvement in low vision clinics, which act as a link between eye care professionals
and the Foundation's rehabilitation services. * The development of an adaptive technology unit aimed at equipping blind
and sight impaired people for tertiary study and job opportunities. * A braille literacy project * A new blindness
awareness prevention division to educate the public on eye care and the realities of sight loss. * Finding a system of
governance that enables blind and sight- impaired people to control the affairs of the Foundation.
Media are invited to attend the Annual Public Meeting at Awhina House on Friday 28 July, between 2.30pm and 5.30pm. For
RSVP's and a copy of the 1999/2000 Annual Report, please contact Catherine Hennessy, Communications Coordinator on Ph:
(09) 355-6884 or 021- 687-426 or email: chennessyrnzfb.org.nz.
To remove the barriers that blind and sight-impaired people face
To promote participation of blind and sight-impaired people in
all aspects of life
To help ensure the incidence of preventable blindness is
New Zealand is a country where the rights and responsibilities of blind citizens are equal to the rights and
responsibilities of sighted citizens.
Some of the highlights from the divisions for 1999/2000 * Adaptive Living (giving blind and sight-impaired people new
skills and equipment)
* 5,584 more hours of direct service delivery than last year. * Te Kupenga Hou (reaching Maori and Pacific Island people
in a culturally appropriate way)
* Significant growth in Maori and Pacific Island people using Foundation services (6.5% over six months) * Adaptive
Support (adding value through reading, recreation, equipment and extra help)
* Delivery of educational and recreational reading materials to
more than 5,600 blind and sight-impaired people in audio,
braille and electronic formats. * Quality Assurance (always striving to do better)
*Needs Assessment based on the principles of being client-
centered, goal- focused and independent was established. * Homai Vision Education Centre (Training future generations
of blind and sight-impaired children)
* From 1 July 2000 Homai became a State Residential Special
School governed by its own Board of Trustees. * Funding Development (Building relationships with donors)
* Raised over $12.4 million, exceeding a budget of $11.5 million.
For every dollar raised 25 cents was spent. The seventh division is Corporate Services, providing ongoing
administrative support to the other divisions.