Welcome to Blind Citizens NSW.
Blind Citizens NSW Makes Historic Decision
At a Special General Meeting held in Sydney on Saturday, 2 December, the members of Blind Citizens NSW, (BCNSW) voted in favour of the two resolutions required to consolidate BCNSW into BCA.
BCA has congratulated members of BCNSW on this historic decision which will ensure that people who are blind or vision impaired in NSW and the ACT benefit from 150 years of collective advocacy experience, whilst retaining the strong, local community connectedness which has been central to the success of BCNSW for over a century. BCNSW members also spoke in support of the consolidation, both in terms of the benefits to people who are blind or vision impaired and the consolidation of limited resources to reduce duplication and maximise the impact for members across the state.
Graeme Innes was appointed as President of the interim BCNSW Management Committee with responsibility for winding up the organisation and transferring BCNSW operations and assets to BCA. Graeme indicated that members of BCNSW would have their membership transferred to BCA but that they could opt out if they did not wish to become BCA members.
BCA President, John Simpson welcomed BCNSW staff to the BCA team and said that a top priority would be to transfer their employment to BCA. A NSW state division has now been created by the BCA board. When the board meets in Melbourne next weekend it will appoint the NSW state division committee which will join with key stakeholders for a planning day in mid February.
Proudly supporting people who are blind or vision impaired since 1910
Blind Citizens NSW is a charitable, not-for-profit association, owned, operated and managed by people who are blind or vision impaired in NSW/ACT.
Blind Citizens NSW aims to improve the quality of life for all people who are blind or vision impaired in New South Wales or the Australian Capital Territory through:
- Peer support and services
- Advocacy on matters relating to blindness or vision impairment
- Promotion of recreation, educational and vocational opportunities
- Breaking down barriers of social isolation
First established in 1910, Blind Citizens NSW grew out of a loose social network founded by Mr. A. J. Shirley for former pupils of the Darlington School for the Blind facilitating outings, theatre nights and other similar activities for its members. Originally named "Association for the Advancement of the Blind", its brief soon expanded to include relief of hardship, mutual support and a call for necessary changes in community attitudes and government policies to improve the lives of people who are blind or vision impaired through;
- Compulsory education for blind or vision impaired children
- Income Support/Pensions for people who are blind or vision impaired
- Transport concessions/free travel for people who are blind or vision impaired in NSW/ACT.
In 1957, Blind Citizens NSW purchased the property at 11a Ethel Street, Burwood, naming it "Shirley House."
From this point on it could expand and increase its services from an easily accessible central location. The association was incorporated in 1993. In 2012, the Shirley House property was sold and Blind Citizens NSW currently operates from the Vision Australia premises at Enfield, Sydney.
"I joined Blind Citizens NSW as a university student many years ago, as I came to appreciate the value that collective action could have to improve the situation for people who are blind or vision-impaired.
I learned strategies from other members about how to advocate for myself, and improve the library and transcription services I needed. I also gained excellent support from these members, who – as people who were blind like myself – could appreciate the issues I faced. I have continued to learn from other members, and am happy to share my experience and expertise with them, and with others who may join. We are all better off if we work together."
President Graeme Innes AM
"Blind Citizens NSW is an essential service. Their staff members are compassionate, professional and approachable. Blind Citizens NSW assisted me when I was denied access with my seeing-eye dog Zeta. The advocacy assistance was an incredible support and we received a positive outcome. I also love their outings. You are able to socialise with like-minded people and learn something at the same time!"
"I use the sewing services, I have also use the technology training services. I have always enjoyed the many social get togethers, and made new friends."