Royal Society for Blind Children: Thriving under difficult circumstances

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When COVID-19 hit, the Royal Society for Blind Children (RSBC) feared it would have to drastically cut back services. Instead, with some hard work and a loan of £250,000 it has been able to adapt to online delivery and increase reach by 40%.

RSBC key facts

Key facts

Impact area: Health and Wellbeing
Location: England and Wales
Loan amount: £250,000


In 2017, two leading charities working with blind and partially sighted people joined forces to form the Royal Society for Blind Children (RSBC). Dedicated to making sure no child grows up to be poor or lonely just because they are blind, the charity provides support, learning and development opportunities to help them build resilience and skills to fulfil their potential.


As the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic came to light, RSBC worked out it was likely to lose around 20% of its income, equating to £1 million. Through hard work, it was able to half that gap but the remaining shortfall combined with liquidity issues meant a loan was needed.

Working with Charity Bank, RSBC secured a loan of £250,000 as part of the Resilience and Recovery Loan Fund (RRLF), managed by Social Investment Business (SIB). This enabled the charity to complete a reform of how it operates, moving costly and reach-limiting face-to-face services online, which will allow the organisation to evolve its services post COVID-19. At a time when the charity feared the need to downsize and cut back, it was instead able to expand its reach by 40% while cutting costs of service delivery thereby increasing impact per pound delivered.

“Faced with the effects of COVID, we turned to Charity Bank for help. We knew we were going to a trusted source and an organisation that understands our needs and the problems we were having. We felt like we were in a really safe space with people who were genuinely trying to help us, which feels very different to trying to negotiate a commercial loan. That allowed us to be open and honest, talk about the difficulties we were having and get the loan package that actually suited us."

“Having more confidence in our solvency and liquidity in the short term gave us the courage to do the things that were necessary to get on and make a difference for the people we serve. We would not have been able to do that without the backing of the RRLF and our friends at Charity Bank.”

Tom Pey, Group Chief Executive, Royal Society for Blind Children

About Charity Bank

Charity Bank is the loans and savings bank owned by and committed to supporting the social sector. Since 2002, we have used our savers’ money to make more than 1,000 loans totalling over £350m to housing, education, social care, community and other social purpose organisations.

Find out more about us here.

The Resilience and Recovery Loan Fund (RRLF) is managed by Social Investment Business (SIB) who make the ultimate lending decision. Charity Bank was one of eight social organisations who delivered this fund. RRLF is not appropriate for all organisations and eligibility criteria applies. Borrowers remain 100% liable for the debt.

Nothing in this article constitutes an invitation to engage in investment activity nor is it advice or a recommendation and professional advice should be taken before any course of action is pursued.