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Header Fundraising Newsletter

Autumn 2023

Welcome to our twice-yearly round-up of news, fundraising success stories and ways you can support the Royal National College for the Blind and its fantastic students.

RNC’s Fundraising Department is a hive of activity throughout the year and, below, you’ll find news about some of our successful funding bids, campus improvements that have happened as a result, challenge events by individual supporters and ways you could support us. 

The College is a registered charity and relies on donations - cash or in kind - to achieve all of the improvements that will support our students even further. This can be anything from vital accessible technology and other equipment upgrades to improving areas of our campus including our sports and recreational facilities. 

Crucially, donations also enable our students to experience enriching extra curricular activities on and off campus that aren’t covered by general student funding. 

We hope that you enjoy reading our news and might even be inspired to do something to support us… please do get in touch as we’d love to support your efforts! 

You can also update your communications preferences with RNC at any time by clicking on the blue button below. Thank you.

Broadening student horizons

A group of students standing in the square  in the sunshine in Lyon, France

International trips - a regular feature of our student experience at RNC - were suspended for a while due to the worldwide pandemic. We are now able to reintroduce foreign travel into our enrichment programme, with all of the benefits this brings to the young people, practically and culturally. This started with cultural visits to France and Spain last year and will continue with a visit to Berlin next summer. 

A group of 20 students and staff will be heading to Germany at the end of June 2024, navigating regional transport, busy airports and passenger flights, as well as the diversity of a vibrant European capital city. While in Berlin, they will visit the Holocaust Museum, a section of the Berlin Wall, and take part in lake swimming and Octo-bike travel. 

Following the popularity of TV shows such as Travelling Blind featuring Amar Latif, a blind travel expert, and Wonders of the World I Can't See, with comedian and ex-RNC student Chris McCausland, the advantages of international travel for individuals with visual impairments are on everyone’s radar. 

If you have not yet had the opportunity to watch these shows, they come highly recommended, offering a unique perspective on how the tourist trail can offer pleasures to those who can’t see the big attractions. And we are sure that our students will have similarly enriching experiences in Berlin. 

If you would like to contribute to our extra curricular activities fund for students, please contact us at fund@rnc.ac.uk or call 01432 376372.

Taking up the challenge

Five of the Hereford Couriers stand together in red courier t-shirts and wearing RNC sashes

We’re always grateful when individuals or groups of friends with a shared interest get together to support our work with a fundraising challenge. 

Next Spring, six members of Hereford Couriers Running Club are running in two different marathons: five of them tackling Brighton and one, Ieuan Vale-Smith, with a place in the hallowed TCS London Marathon, both in April.

Between them, the runners will complete an impressive 253 kms, almost the same distance as travelling from Hereford to London and back again! The six Couriers taking part are: Ben Brown, Ryan Lawrence, Kieran Merrick, Kieran Whittall and Ieuan Vale-Smith (see photo above) and Freya Collins (see photo below).

The team are training hard, out and about on Club runs around Hereford on weekday evenings as well as following their own training plans so you might see them in their distinctive orange Hereford Couriers running vests and safety lights!

To donate to our Brighton marathon runners’ pages, please search for them on the official Brighton fundraising pages here.

To donate to Ieuan’s TCS London Marathon challenge, please click here.

Freya lower res

Student gardens opened by the Mayor

An aerial view of the Mayor making a speech to formally open the gardens. The group of guests stand around her

In late August this year, we welcomed a group of funders and local businesses that had supported our gardens project to the official opening of both the working garden and the sensory garden. 

We were delighted to receive around £45,000 funding to create these two fantastic student resource spaces. The sensory garden consists of two circular seating areas linked by wheelchair accessible paths, lined with beds of beautifully scented lavender and roses. A water feature provides the gentle sound of running water. 

The working garden is an area where students can work: including those studying gardening, undertaking the Gardening unit in their Duke of Edinburgh Award or gardening for pleasure as part of their Learning and Leisure time. The large paved area, lined with tactile paving is the perfect base for our two polytunnels, fitted with height-adjustable workbenches to improve accessibility. 

After a short tour of the campus, the Right Worshipful Mayor of Hereford Cllr Jacqui Carwardine formally opened the gardens – in typical light rain! - and guests retreated to the shelter of the polytunnels for a delicious afternoon tea kindly provided by RNC caterers Baxter Storey, leaving with a scented lavender bag as a souvenir of their visit.

Will you make a difference?

An advertisement for leaving a gift in your Will. An RNC student working on Reception holds a phone receiver to his ear

For over 150 years, the RNC charity has benefited from the generosity of individuals and organisations who recognise the significant impact RNC has on the lives of young people facing the many challenges of visual impairment.

We want to ensure that RNC’s education provision can carry on for the next century or more but we need your help to ensure appropriate financial resources will be there for future generations of students coming through our doors. 

Many of us give to charities during our lifetime but, after taking care of family and loved ones, we are asking if you could consider a gift – no matter what size – in your Will, to support our work in the future. 

Please help us ensure that our students continue to have access to the specialist education and training which sets them up for an independent life, whatever their chosen path. Also, to support vital IT and specialist equipment, campus improvements and the enrichment programme that enables our young people to experience educational visits, trips and activities.

As one ex-student puts it: ‘Without the specialist planning and guidance of RNC, it’s unlikely I would have an opportunity to take part in such a visit.’ 

More information about how to include a legacy for RNC can be found at Leave a gift in your will on our website here.

***STOP PRESS*** RNC is planning another Will Writing Month in March 2024 where you can have a new Will written professionally or amend an existing one in return for a voluntary donation. To register your interest, please email fund@rnc.ac.uk with the subject heading WILL WRITING.

IT is it!

A student using accessible software on her computer, the St James Place Charitable Foundation logo is also positioned in the top left

A really big thank you to St James’ Place Charitable Foundation for an important grant to replace end-of-life individual IT examination PCs and workstations for our students. 

Each of our young people sitting examinations require a different level and type of IT in order to complete their examinations, based on their visual impairment. They all sit examinations using computers which is an equipment-heavy commitment for our IT team and the College generally. 

To be able to upgrade our examinations IT suite in one go like this and include some touch screen capability is an invaluable opportunity so our thanks go to them on behalf of the students. Having a smooth examination process really helps our young people stay calm and get the most out of their examinations, using the technology available and hopefully leading to good outcomes at results time!

Your chance to bag some amazing Christmas prizes

Christmas Raffle Poster with QR code. Details as written in the body of the text

We’ve just launched a fantastic Christmas prize draw to raise funds for RNC, with a dozen exciting prizes that could double as wonderful Christmas presents if yours is the winning ticket, or to simply treat yourself!

Tickets can be purchased online using the QR code above or by clicking hereThe closing date is 12 December at 11.59pm. 

Tickets can also be purchased from RNC Reception, Venns Lane, Hereford HR1 1DT. 

The Draw will take place at RNC on 14 December. Thanks to the following businesses, one of our Governors and some of the RNC’s own students and staff for these amazing prizes: 

  • ONE Bottle of champagne* (Winner must be 18+, please drink responsibly) 
  • Afternoon tea for TWO at Castle House 
  • THREE Holistic massages undertaken by RNC complementary therapy students 
  • FOUR Tickets to Dick Whittington at The Courtyard (Family ticket: 2 adults and 2 children) 
  • FIVE surprise ASDA gifts* 
  • Beefy Boys meal for SIX (one burger, one side and one cocktail per person) 
  • SEVEN festive flowers in a hand-tied bouquet from Beehive Florist
  • EIGHT-inch Christmas fruit cake donated by Baxter Storey* 
  • NINE sessions at thePoint4’s newly refurbished gym
  • A TEN-pack of Stowford Press cider, a case of Henry Westons Vintage cider and a family tour voucher (Please visit the Westons Cider website for full terms and conditions. Must be 18+, please drink responsibly)
  • From Henryka, a stunning teardrop link bracelet in silver and light pink quartz - comprising ELEVEN stones, with matching earrings* 
  • A luxurious chocolate hamper, featuring TWELVE scrumptious items*

*These prizes must be picked up from RNC Reception, please bring ID/proof of age. For any enquiries, please email: fund@rnc.ac.uk or call 01432 376372.

Just a few of the prizes, shown for illustration purposes only.

A bottle of Tanners champagne with a champagne saucer filled with gold baubles and a small glittery Christmas treeThe hamper open to display all the chocolatey goodies
An afternoon tea laid out with a Christmas themeThe bracelet and earrings displayed in their open cases, the table is decorated with a candle, holly and other pretend gifts

The Royal National College for the Blind

Venns Lane



Tel: 01432 265 725

Email: fund@rnc.ac.uk

Website: www.rnc.ac.uk