Closure of charity shops leads to major financial losses

The National Council for the Blind of Ireland is set to lose €1 million due to new level 5 restrictions. 

The National Council for the Blind of Ireland (NCBI) must raise €3 million annually to keep the charity functioning at its current state.  

Some 114 charity shops around the country, including the NCBI shop on Francis Street in the Liberties, have been closed. 

June Tinsley, head of communications at NBCI said “I think that a lot of people might not realize how difficult covid has been for people who are blind or visually impaired. People who are blind or visually impaired can’t abide by social distancing; they can’t see the floor markings, they can’t see where the queue starts, they can’t see the traffic light systems that people have going into stores. They have lost their sense of touch.”  

She added “There’s a need for greater support from government to ensure that funding is provided to NCBI and other charities so that we can insure we deliver our services in full to people who need them. I also think that there’s a need for greater public awareness of the unique challenges that Covid has presented to people who are blind or visually impaired.” 

The state funds 70% of NCBI and the remaining 30% is raised through charity shops and fundraising events.  

NCBI have looked at different initiatives to raise more funds, such as “direct mail marketing and encouraging more people to donate directly to us online and we’ve also tried to look at online shopping” said Tinsley. 

Only 24% of people who are blind or visually impaired are in employment. According to Tinsley these figures have “most likely dropped due to job loses throughout the country.”  

She added “NCBI is calling for the government to ensure that there are supports available for people who are blind and visually impaired to stay in their employment…to stop their feeling of isolation.” 

The Governments main priority at the moment is public health and level 5 has been implemented to stop the spread of Covid-19. All charity shops will reopen in six weeks granted there are no further restrictions put in place.