Skip to content
Skip to navigation
Join the team
Back to home
Trusts and foundations
View full sitemap
Help young people
succeed in a sighted world
Trusts and foundations
A lot of what we do so successfully in giving our students the best possible experience while they’re with us wouldn’t happen without the amazing support of so many grant giving bodies. This vital extra income supports ever rising core costs as well as specific projects, specialist and IT equipment, as well as larger scale capital improvements on our campus.
Extra support remains crucial as special educational needs and disability funding becomes ever harder to access. And the range of projects supported has enabled us to improve and update our facilities and give our students a truly enriching experience, including extra curricular activities such as sports, DofE, volunteering and work placements. Every experience delivers crucial additional life skills, confidence and enjoyment, preparing our students to succeed in a sighted world.
Below are some recent grants and the amazing ways in which they’ve helped our students, staff and the charity.
Project: Covid-19 Assistance 2020-21
The Foyle Foundation
The National Lottery Community Fund
£90,000 (£50,000 and £40,000)
Funding from the Foyle Foundation and the Coronavirus Community Support Fund distributed by the National Lottery Community Fund will help cover some of the costs incurred in implementing tight infection control and adapting the College curriculum.
The estimated impact of Covid-19 on RNC so far is over £650,000 and counting and at a time when the charity's ability to fundraise from events and other activities has been severely curtailed.
Since the start of the new academic year, all RNC students have been back on campus, divided into three household bubbles who live, eat and study together and this new funding, raised by National Lottery players for good causes, will ensure that RNC can continue to give its students the best possible study experience to allow them to go on to live successful, independent lives.
Project: New sports astro pitch 2020
The Clothworkers’ Foundation
The RNC’s busy all-weather sports pitch was well overdue for replacement, alongside a refurbishment of the students’ gym to upgrade the sports facilities for our students and wider usage.
A number of students study for Personal Trainer and Sports Instructor qualifications so access to the latest equipment and facilities such as a modern astro pitch is vital and also for students wishing to keep up their fitness levels while in residence.
RNC and the Football Association had both agreed to contribute towards the cost of a new pitch with the whole project costed at around £100,000. Several grant applications were submitted - with some still outstanding – and in Spring 2020, the Clothworkers' kindly confirmed a vital contributory one-off capital grant.
Astro pitches have a limited lifespan of around 10 years or less with extensive use, our pitch also regularly flooded due to the drainage system no longer working properly, requiring time consuming manual removal of the water.
The relevant national sports bodies including England Blind Football Team had already indicated they wouldn’t be able to use the existing astro pitch for competition as it no longer met the safety and usage requirements.
The pitch was regularly used for various RNC student sports activities as well as being booked by the general public and a wide range of local sports groups so an urgent fix was required for this vital community asset.
With the Clothworkers' funding, the contributions mentioned above and a new sourcing of supplier, the pitch was completely revamped and resurfaced, with new drainage, in summer 2020, ready for a busy autumn schedule and many years of competitive sports including, hopefully, a return to residential training camps by the England Blind football Team.
Project: Purchase of specialist braille equipment 2018-19
People’s Postcode Trust
The MacRobert Trust
£21,215 (£12,475 & £8,740)
Seeking funding for specialist braille equipment in 2018/19 resulted in RNC gaining support from a range of trusts. Included in these we were fortunate to receive funding from People’s Postcode Trust - grant giving charity funded by players of People's Postcode Lottery - and The MacRobert Trust.
This enabled us to purchase nine Brailliant devices for students to use in their learning and social lives which were put into immediate use and will benefit many students now and in years to come.
The Brailliant can act as a standalone notetaker, or can be plugged into a desktop or laptop computer. Then it acts as a braille input and output device as it displays what’s on screen. Having keys to access the commands, work can also be reviewed and edited.
RNC has on-site staff who are also skilled at servicing braille equipment so the equipment will be kept working efficiently for as long as possible, delivering a strong return on investment for our funders.
Braille is a powerful communication tool for our students and part of our core education offering because it delivers the freedom to understand the outside world without needing the assistance of a sighted person.
Medicine containers are often brailled, tins of food, elevator floor numbers, the button to ring the bell on a bus. Using braille over time increases a student’s literacy which can also improve their employability and prevent them from falling into poverty in the long term.
Project: Recycling bins for campus 2018
Baron Davenport's Charity
Monmouthshire Building Society Charitable Foundation
£1,536 (£768 x 2)
RNC is an eco-campus and encourages its students to think about the environment and recycle and re-use responsibly. The same ethos is applied to use of resources across the College by teachers and the wider staff population, with a sub-group that monitors and aims to lessen our impact from resource usage across our activities as a charity.
As you would expect, there are various recycling sites around the campus and the grants from these two charities enabled us to purchase two substantial mixed recycling and general waste bins, one for the front of the Student Hub and one for the residential hall, Stephens Hall, respectively.
They are sited where students often sit for breaks and consume snacks/drinks. The bins are user friendly for students with VI: there is bright green colour coding on the recycle opening for those with some sight and it is on the righthand side of the bin, as with all of our waste bins on site, a useful rule for those students who are blind.
Project: Independent Living Skills Centre new site and refurbishment 2020-21
The Spectacle Makers
£13,500 (£9,500 and £4,000)
RNC has a fully equipped and adapted Independent Living Skills (ILS) Centre on site where all of our students learn to become as fully independent as possible including housework and cleaning, washing and laundry, and cooking skills ranging from hot drinks and snacks to full meals. The importance of familiarity with day-to-day household equipment is essential if our students are to lead fulfilling and independent lives after they leave us. Having reassurance from teachers and to know it’s okay to make mistakes is all part of the learning process.
As ex-student Molly explains, 'the learning experiences provided by teachers and students within our ILS centre together deliver so much more than the actual skills, it’s about confidence to go further and achieve more.'
Molly became confident enough not only to cater for herself but to entertain socially as well. ‘My teacher demonstrated how to use a basket placed in a saucepan which enabled me to use the hob safely without knocking over or carrying hot water. Before this, I was always scared to use the hob. I’d never heard of a talking thermometer but it’s very useful because it ensures meat is cooked to the right temperature and safe to eat. I also really benefit from using the George Foreman Grill and now enjoy cooking for friends who stay at my flat, making bacon and sausages for breakfast, curries, casseroles and pasta meals’.
During the new academic year the ILS Centre will move to a new site within the College. This move allows staff, with input from students, to design a space that’s purpose built for them, along with the opportunity to update and replace old equipment. New helpful gadgets for the visually impaired community are becoming available all the time too so costs are considerable, making grants such as that from the Ulverscroft Foundation and The Spectacle Makers' Charity vital and gratefully received.
Project: Equipment to support students undertaking Duke of Edinburgh Awards 2019 onwards
The Jeremy Willson Charitable Trust
The DMF Ellis Charitable Trust
The Alpkit Foundation
£3,430 (£680, £2500 and £250)
Enriching experiences and activities are a really important part of life at RNC and help our students enormously with their confidence, independence and teamwork skills.
Three funders helped us purchase vital equipment including tents, sleeping mats and lights for the mandatory expeditions, one of the four required sections of the Duke of Edinburgh Awards at all levels. The other three are helping the community/environment, becoming fitter and developing new skills.
We had 20 students sign up for a mixture of Bronze or Silver Award in 2019-20 academic year and expeditions to the Forest of Dean were meticulously planned and anticipated until the global Covid-19 pandemic struck.
The students were extremely disappointed but the DofE head office team were very understanding, agreeing to give the 2020 Awards based on the three other sections being successfully completed.
This was very important for our students who have been working hard on their other activities including volunteering and, wherever possible, our staff helped them complete these remotely.
Ex-student Andrew says:
‘doing my DofE Silver Award was one of my fondest memories of my two-year stint at RNC’. Andrew has now gone on to work towards his Gold Award under their independent pathway and is recording online vlogs about his experience.
All of the equipment and remaining funds means we will be able to offer the full DofE experience including the overnight or 2-night expeditions when safe to do so again, hopefully for the new intake of students in autumn 2020 and beyond.
01432 265 725
01432 376 621
Press and media enquiries to:
Visit us at
The Royal National College for the Blind (RNC), Venns Lane, Hereford HR1 1DT
Company Limited by Guarantee No. 2367626
Registered Charity No. 1000388
Share this page
Print this page
Back to top