The Royal Society for Blind Children (RSBC), a national charity that works with vision-impaired children and young people, has unveiled an innovative and one-of-a-kind new centre in the heart of London.
The RSBC has now relocated to the new Richard Desmond Life Without Limits Centre, fulfilling a long-held aim of providing a location dedicated to assisting blind and partially sighted children and their families.
The centre, which will be housed in the famous Northern and Shell building on the north bank of the River Thames near London Bridge, will serve as a core for the RSBC’s operations across England and Wales.
It was built by EPR Architects, who transformed a previously empty lower ground level into an inclusive, lively, and engaging facility for blind and partially sighted children, young adults, and their families.
The center’s design and layout include a media suite, an accessible kitchen, small meeting areas for one-on-one assistance, and a large flexible space for group activities.
With cutting-edge technology and virtual workshops, children and young people will be encouraged to participate in activities both at the centre and across England and Wales. They will be able to participate in creative activities such as songwriting, music production, and poetry writing. Children and young people will be able to create podcasts and other digital content in the media suite, and they will be able to have cookery classes or cook-alongs via live online sessions in the accessible kitchen. The centre also contains a modern office area devoted to RSBC employees.
Sue Sharp, the Society’s CEO said: “We’re excited to be welcoming the children, young people and families to the Life Without Limits Centre and introducing them to its incredible new facilities. It was always our ambition to create a space that was designed especially for blind and partially sighted children and young people – a space where they can come together to share their hopes and experiences, and where we can support them to develop their skills and confidence to pursue their dreams and ambitions.
“All of us at RSBC have seen how the lives of blind and partially sighted children and young people can be transformed with the right support. We believe that The Richard Desmond Life Without Limits Centre delivers on that ambition and provides the infrastructure to enable us to support many more to achieve their dreams.
“We’re immensely grateful to the team at Northern and Shell and, in particular, their chairman, Richard Desmond for making the space available, and to him and the many other donors and professionals who have generously given their money, time and expertise to create this truly remarkable space, and for helping to make change in the lives of blind children and young people. It has been a huge collective effort and we owe an immense debt of gratitude to every one of them.”
The Royal Society for Blind Children (RSBC) provides assistance to blind and partially sighted children, adolescents, and their families. Thomas Lucas created the organisation in 1838 to teach blind youngsters to read.
While education and learning remain at the heart of the organisation, RSBC also provides a variety of community-based programmes and has established a dedicated families’ service, Families First, to help the entire family.