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Foundation For The Blind Celebrates Transition

MEDIACOM-RELEASE-BLIND-FOUNDATION

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 refocused.

"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 financial year."

Foundation Chief Executive, Jane Holden says this shows that the organisation is committed and focused on service delivery.

"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 community.

"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 [2000] 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.

ENDS


Background

Our mission

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

minimised

Our vision

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.

ends

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