2 NCBI Retail


As we age most of us will expect to need glasses at some point but few could imagine losing it to the point that everyday tasks become challenges. One of our Residents volunteers some of her spare time to help and we asked her about what she does.

What is the Charity?

"The National Council for the Blind is the national sight loss agency in Ireland. They help anyone dealing with sight loss, including those caring for people with sight issues."

"It's a not for profit charity and only 10% of it's funding comes from the HSE and therefore fundraising constantly plays a big role. As more people make use of their services the more funding they need."

What can they do for people?

"They provide advice and practical information to individuals and their families on dealing with vision loss and on making the most of what sight they have and reducing the impact it has on their everyday life."

"They produced this leaflet About themselves."


"I've seen tools and gadgets that will assist people to become more self reliant and able to overcome everyday tasks such as pouring hot coffee, filling the bath, reading, viewing the TV, big button telephones etc but these gadgets all cost money. The NCBI have a range of products for sale for people who are having difficulties with their eyesight. "

How do you help?

"I volunteer my time and help out at their Charity Shop in Kennedy Place which is one of around 80 shops in Ireland."

"It's a typical charity shop selling clothes and household objects. People bring in donations which we sort, some items have a clean up, clothes get steamed and hung up and anything unfit for resale gets recycled."

Why did you join?

"I was actually in the shop shortly after it opened, looking through the items for sale when I overheard a lady who had come in asking about a job. She left since it was only voluntary staff they we're needing and I thought that it might be something I could do."

"Last year we had a presentation about the NCBI campaign promoting Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) Awareness Week 2016 and I highly recommend readers get their eyes tested asap and regularly too."

How can people get involved and help?

"It's fairly busy in the shop and we're always looking for volunteers to help. There's around 20 of us helping to give the occasional hour or two a week. Come and buy too, everyone likes a good bargain, and also bring in worthwhile things for us to sell."

"We have an ongoing 'wardrobe challenge' to encourage people to donate good condition clothes. It's a simple idea that will help free up space in peoples cupboards and provide us with more quality items to resell. If you turn and point all the hangers the same directions in your wardrobe and then when you wear something turn the hanger around but after 6 mths if any hangers point the original way then you don't actually wear them so please bring them in to us." 

"The shop is also an opportunity to Community Schemes such as work experience, CE Scheme, TUS, and also for those with intellectual disabilities."

The shop also hosts fundraising events?

"Yes we had an amazing event in 2015 where we were the first to organise a 'Dinner in the Dark' evening. Held in a local restaurant guests had the brief experience of being blindfolded for a dinner. This meant we led them to their tables, described the menu, they ate, poured they're own drinks and chatted without the use of their sight. We also got to try the experience and it's quite a challenge."

"In November 2016 'The Central' in Navan hosted a 'Dine in the Dark' with a donation to the NCBI."

"We've also had customer evenings at the shop with branded clothing and musicians too."

"There are also opportunities to help at 'one off' events such as bag packs and collections if people can't commit to any regular voluntary help."

We asked the NCBI for a few words:

Our mission is to enable people who are blind and vision impaired to overcome the barriers that impede their independence and participation in society.

NCBI currently provides support and services to over 16,000 people nationwide. Only about 5% of those using our services are totally blind, 95% have some level of vision.

We offer the following services:

  • Emotional support and counselling
  • Rehabilitation training
  • Advice and information
  • Low vision solutions
  • Assistive technology advice and training
  • Library - large print, audio and Braille books
  • Employment advice
  • Practical solutions in our shop

If you or someone you know is experiencing problems with their sight, NCBI can help. Call us on Tel: 01 8307033. "