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1997 /

Birmingham Focus on Blindness, Queen Alexandra College (QAC) and brib Housing Society (renamed New Outlook Housing) are established as independent charities, with their own governing bodies. brib retains ownership of the main site in Harborne, leasing areas of land to the new charities.


1998 - 2000 /

A new brib board is established, with brib governors sitting alongside three representatives each from QAC and Focus. Efforts focus on supporting QAC to develop facilities in the College and assisting Focus in a review of the services they offer.


2001 - 2002 /

Plans are put in place to ensure the financial independence of both Focus and QAC by 2004. brib supports the addition of a modern reception area and car park at QAC, who by this point have 115 students.

A new Chief Executive is appointed at Focus and brib finances a study on the future of the Low Vision Centre and supports the refurbishment of residential premises for clients at Beech House in Gravelly Hill, Erdington.

2002 - 2003 /

There is a successful Charity Commission review of brib, which comments positively on the commitment shown by trustees.


2004 - 2005 /

brib reviews its Memorandum and Association and its main objects remain unchanged. Howev/media/pages/library/tl-karten-technology.jpger, activities which it no longer undertakes are removed and wording is modernised.

Focus continues to successfully increase its income and delivers over 28,000 services to clients.

QAC opens the Karten Centre, a landmark building offering ‘high tech’ computer facilities for students and is inspected by OFSTED for the first time. A £3m plus fundraising campaign is launched for a new Student Learning Centre, to which Brib pledges £300k.

Image: Inside The Karten Technology Centre (QAC)


2005 - 2006 /

Services provided by Focus increase to around 36000 per year. New services are introduced including counselling, community based support as well as a Saturday sports club. Volunteer support rises to 1000 hours per month. A Focus legacy campaign is developed and launched successfully.

Combined income for all three Charities amounts to around £10m per annum with property and investment funds amounting to a further £10m.


2006 - 2007 //media/pages/library/tl-bradbury-centre.jpg

QAC has around 150 students enrolled onto programmes and fundraising for the new Learning Centre progresses well with funding secured from the LSC, as well as charitable trusts. Construction starts, with the building opening in September 2007.

In December 2007 QAC’s Feelgood Fitness Centre is burnt down.

Image: The Bradbury Centre.


2008 - 2010 /

2008 sees building work completed on the new fitness centre, with the grand re-opening in June.

2009 sees QAC’s iCycle move into Harborne High Street ‘Blind Dave’ Heeley, QAC governor and sports celebrity, with Olympic Cycling legend Tommy Godwin and The Lord Mayor of Birmingham attending the official opening.


2012 /

QAC opens a ‘A Quiet Place’ (a holistic therapy centre) and QACafe and gets planning permission for an onsite sports hall to develop their sports provision and begin fundraising, with brib donating £300,000 to the campaign (overall target of £1.37m).

Focus Birmingham extends the Elizabeth Gunn Centre to accommodate increased service provision.


2013 /

brib welcome Guide Dogs and National Blind Children’s Society (NBCS) to the Harborne site, working with QAC and Focus to create a VI Centre of Excellence.

iCycle moves from Harborne High Street to Bearwood High Street, combining its cycle business with a public serving café (also incorporating a student training facility). QAC's student numbers reached its highest intake ever.

Birmingham Royal Institution
for the Blind has
devolved its operations
into three distinct charities.

Birmingham Royal Institute For The Blind. Birmingham Focus on Blindness. Queen Alexandra College.