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brib News

Sight Village - June / July 2017

Sight Village 2017 season is well underway for QAC and with the Edinburgh and Glasgow events having taken place in April, we are now focusing on our forthcoming flagship event in Birmingham, taking place at New Bingley Hall on the 18th & 19th  July.   With over 60 exhibitors attending, showcasing the latest products and services available, it will be worth a visit for anyone who has vision impairment or has with an age related eye condition. There will also be an opportunity to take part in Accessible Sport Taster Sessions and Interactive Workshops.


Guest Article - April 2017

In the first of a number of guest articles we look at advice on how to prepare your home for someone who is visually impaired.  We hope to bring you a number of articles over time.  If there is something you would like to see or if you would like to submit an article please contact

Click here to view the guest article


Review Meeting Announced - October 2016

Brib will hold a public meeting to review the work of the year on Wednesday 19th October at the offices of Focus Birmingham, Woodville Road at midday.  Light refreshments will be served.  If you would like to attend please email to confirm your attendance.


2015 AGM Announced

September 2015

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the annual general meeting of the company for 2015 will be held in M30 at Queen Alexandra College, 49 Court Oak Road, Harborne on Tuesday 3rd November at 10.00am for the following purposes:

Ordinary Business

1. To receive the report of the directors and the audited accounts for the year 31st March 2015.

2. Appointment of the Charity's Auditors for the financial year 2015/16.

3. To authorise the Board to fix the remuneration of the Auditors.

4. To elect directors in place of those retiring.

5. To transact any other ordinary business of the company. 


Dated: 30th September

Registered office as shown above


brib Welcomes Chris Gorham

March 2015

Covert Affairs actor Chris Gorham visited brib recently, on the way to his appearanc/media/pages/library/image2.jpge at the MCM Comic Con at Birmingham. Chris plays Auggie Anderson in the series, a CIA operative who lost his sight on a field mission.

Chris chose to use his appearance at the convention to raise money and awareness for brib of his own accord and came to find out more about what we do. He met with brib Chaiman Geoffrey and had a look around QAC and got to meet some staff and students, along with Questa the guide dog, and was amazed by the work done.

Chris is no stranger to disabilities; not only is his Auggie character blind but Chris is about to start filming a role where he plays the father of a young boy with Autism. This is reflective of his personal life as a father as his son was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome a couple of years ago.


QAC Opens their Bradbury Sports Centre

January 2015/media/pages/library/af_001_qac_sports_hall_opens-small.jpg

On Tuesday 20th January, QAC opened the doors to their new £1.4 million sports hall which will enable accessible sports to be played by our students and the wider community. brib were delighted to attend the event along with England Women’s Cricketer Tammy Beaumont, Ateeq Javid of Warwickshire County Cricket and WBA mascots to formally open the Bradbury Sports Centre, which offers a wonderful facility to students and the local community.


QAC Introduces 'Independence Street'

October 2014

Students at QAC will benefit from a new and unique training facility named ‘Independence /media/pages/library/af_002_qac_independence_street.jpgStreet’. The travel training site is designed to assist students to safely negotiate the street environment, including road crossings, dropped kerbs, street light columns and other street furniture.

Independence Street was officially opened by Councillor Lisa Trickett, Cabinet Member for Green, Smart and Sustainable City, as well as ‘Blind Dave’ Heeley (former student and current Governor at QAC), along with representatives from Amey and our students. This fantastic onsite facility, worth circa £50,000, was built at no cost to the college by employees from Amey, Birmingham City Council’s Highway partner, with all the materials donated by the company and their suppliers.


Focus on Film

October 2014

Focus Birmingham in partnership with 104 Films is leading a film project with 23 visually impai/media/pages/library/dsc_0111.jpgred young people aged 13 to 19 years.

The project sessions are led by award winning director Justin Edgar and Film editor Phil Arkinstall. The young film makers are creating 2 films, one a documentary about viewing film and the second a scripted film, devised, written and acted by them. Attendees learn practical sound, camera and editing film skills, taking roles as interviewee, interviewer, director, camera person, sound engineer, editor or actor.

The films will all be created and filmed around the Focus Birmingham site and a film club is part of the legacy of this project. Once the films are completed a celebratory premier is planned for later in the year. 


Focus Birmingham Thanks Volunteers

October 2014

Focus Birmingham has recognised the valuable contribution of its volunteers during a special event at the Hippodrome theatre. Councillor Shafique Shah was invited to present a special 'Lord May/media/pages/library/focus-volunteer-awards---brian-and-thelma.jpgor Award for Volunteering’ to brother and sister, Brian Evans and Thelma Starling, who together have chalked up more than 30 years of unpaid support to Focus.
The Volunteer of the Year was named as Russell Stevenson, who received the Fred Jakeman Award - named after a former visually impaired trustee of Focus.

More than 40 volunteers, together with Focus staff and supporters, attended the event. Focus Chief Executive Tom Harrison said: "I cannot stress enough how important volunteers are to this organisation. Without the extra 80-90 pairs of hands of our volunteers we wouldn't be able to provide the level of support that we do to visually impaired and disabled people”.


Sight Village returns to Birminghamm

15th-16th July 2014/media/pages/library/99_qac-sight-village_15.07.14.jpg

QAC were pleased to host Sight Village in Birmingham once again. This was the 21st year of the event, which has continued to develop annually and is a ‘must-attend’ for many within the VI community. This year saw new exhibitors attend the exhibition, further enhancing what the show had to offer. In total, 70 exhibitors attended and welcomed over 1300 visitors to the show.


brib’s new strapline

July 2014

One of the key points that came from the solicitor’s event in April was the fact that although brib is a local charity supporting local people, this is not necessarily reflected in our logo and strapline. Therefore, we have written a new strapline and adapted our logo to include this and pledge our strong support to Birmingham’s Visual Impaired Community. The new logo can be seen across the website.


QAC’s Friends & Families Day

4th July 2014/media/pages/library/52qac-awards04.07.14.jpg

Families and supporters joined students and staff at QAC’s annual Friends & Families Day which took place on 4th July. The ceremony marks the end of the academic year and celebrates student achievements and successes throughout the academic year. 40 students collected diplomas and waved goodbye as their time at QAC came to an end. Twelve students were presented with Special Achievement Awards and a Soroptomist Award was also given out to one of the students.


Centre of Excellence at Harborne Carnival

22nd June 2014

Staff from Focus Birmingham, QAC and Guide Dogs promoted the Centre of Excellence collaboration at the Harborne Carnival this year. Volunteers with guide dogs, the TLC lottery and information about QAC and its Enterprises were all featured. There is a strong commitment between the COE partners to work together in the future for the benefit of all, not least our service users, clients and students so it was great to work together at this local event.


Local Solicitors Help Launch brib’s Legacy Campaign

April 2014

In April a group of local solicitors joined representatives from brib, Focus Birmingham and QAC for an information evening to help promote our new Legacy campaign. The group learned more about the work of brib and how the charity works with and supports Focus Birmingham and QAC. Discussion groups then fed back ideas as to how the Legacy campaign can be promoted locally along with other ideas on how brib could raise its profile in the city. Thanks to those who attended and offered support and we look forward to a similar event held in October to generate more ideas and discuss progress.


brib AGM held

12th November 2013

brib’s AGM took place at QAC and those in attendance heard about the good work taking place at the two charities we support. Members were pleased to hear how both Birmingham Focus and QAC have seen great progress take place over the last twelve months. Also the meeting saw the revised ‘Articles of Association’ get approved, broadening the scope of brib’s support to reach ‘people with special needs’ as well as those with visual impairment.


Leading Charities for Blind People host Community Fun Day

October 2013

On Saturday 12th October, Guide Dogs, Queen Alexandra College (QAC), Focus Birming/media/pages/library/funday.jpgham and The National Blind Children’s Society (NBCS) hosted a Community Fun Day and Dog Show from their shared site in Harborne.

Despite the wet weather, the day was a resounding success, with a large number of visitors from across the region. Those attending the event were able to learn more about the four charities as well as participate in lots of fun activities including a chocolate tombola, face painting and an afternoon tea party.

Visitors were also invited to learn more about the experience of Sight Loss and had the opportunity to have a blindfolded walk with a sighted guide. This was quite an experience for many who had not previously thought of the impact that this could have upon a persons life.



brib Launches New Legacy Campaign

/media/pages/library/flyer-cover.jpgSeptember 2013

As a charity brib relies on the generous support of individuals in raising funds, which it then uses to support other charities to continue and develop their work.

Legacies play an important part of this and the Board has recently invested in designing a campaign to encourage more people to consider leaving a gift to the charity in their will.

In consultation with Tyndallwoods Solicitors they have produced an information leaflet which will be distributed through local solicitors and mailings.

They hope it will help raise awareness about the organisation and what it does, encouraging people to support them.

For more information on how to leave a gift in your will, and other ways to support us please see our ‘Support brib’ page.


New Charities Move In

July 2013

brib is delighted to welcome 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 on the site also occupied by Queen Alexandra College (QAC).

The surrounding area has changed greatly over the years, but services for people who are blind or partially sighted have operated uninterrupted from brib’s site for over 160 years.

Focus Birmingham and QAC have provided training and support to members of the Birmingham community for many years. The work of Guide Dogs and NBCS will complement this provision, offering additional services for those who need it.

brib Chairman, Geoffrey Oakley said “welcoming Guide Dogs and NBCS to our Harborne premises reinforces our commitment to provide the best possible support and services for people with a visual impairment and we look forward to a long and successful co-operation.”


 Focus Community Team Increases Support

April 2013

The team at Focus Birmingham have worked hard to increase the range of support on offer, introducing projects such as ‘Out & About’, a travel training scheme in conjunction with Centro and ‘Safe & Sound’ short course covering topics such as home security, personal safety and safeguarding.

As part of this development Focus have expanded their Low Vision Service, now offering appointments at venues in Sutton Coldfield, Kingstanding and Castle Vale as well as at our main centre in Harborne, supporting even more people with vision impairment.


brib Supports QAC in Getting ‘Fit for the Future’

/media/pages/library/web-use_sports_hall_launch_.jpgJanuary 2013

brib is delighted to be supporting another capital development project on its site, this time QAC’s ‘Fit for the Future’ appeal.

The college wants to build an onsite sports hall to strengthen their current sports provision students, enabling more students to participate in more sports more often. . Current, outdoor facilities are not suitable for all students and an onsite, indoor facility will make a huge difference, enabling more students to play and compete a range of sports.

Following the appeal launch in November 2012 brib have pledged £300,000 towards the project. If you would like to know how you could support the campaign please contact





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.