Where it all began

In 1846 founders Elizabeth Bache Harrold and Mary Badger opened a school for the blind with just six students. 

The organisation grew in size and success and in 1848, was named the "Birmingham Institution for the Blind".

In 1909, King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra visited and Royal patronage was awarded. It then became formally known as "The Birmingham Royal Institution for the Blind" (BRIB).

In 1968, thanks to a substantial bequest under the Will of Mrs E A Gunn, the Elizabeth Gunn Centre on the Harborne site was officially opened. The Focus Birmingham Day Centre continues to support and care for people with complex needs.

The Low Vision Centre was established in 1993 offering assessment and training for people with low vision and supplying specialist equipment, advice and information, together with a Resource Centre offering a wide variety of specialised items for people with a visual impairment. Focus Birmingham’s Low Vision Centre and community projects continue to this day and make a huge positive impact on people’s lives in the local area.

In 1997, the BRIB operations of Queen Alexandra College, New Outlook Housing and Birmingham Focus on Blindness (now Focus Birmingham) were launched as three independent charities.


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