RNIBS Response

I’m just back from a volunteer event in Derry so this will be quick. I got this post from RNIB today. I don’t know what to make of it!

Dear Torie,

Thank you for your email to Royal National Institute of Blind People
(RNIB). I am sorry for the delay in replying to you.

RNIB’s ‘Help Emma’ advert was a fundraising appeal explaining the vital
work of RNIB in supporting blind and partially sighted people across the
UK. It tells the story of nine-year old Emma, her experience of sight
loss, and the support she received from RNIB, particularly through the
talking books programme. We were inspired to develop the advert after
receiving a heartfelt letter from a young girl thanking RNIB for the
support that she’d received.

We felt this was a wonderful opportunity to tell a real-life story of
one young girl and her family. We do, however, take very seriously our
responsibility to reflect the many and varied experiences and life
situations of people who are blind or partially sighted. Therefore,
across all our RNIB communications we show a wide range of individuals
and illustrate many different aspects of people’s lives, including the
challenges and achievements.

Blind and partially sighted people are central to our work. Sight loss
can occur at any age and every individual’s experiences will be
different. Although some people cope, and indeed may cope well, with
sudden sight loss, others find it a very traumatic experience and need
support from organisations such as RNIB. Whilst people may have
different experiences throughout their life, our ambition, as we know it
is yours, is that each person who is blind or partially sighted has the
same opportunities as anybody else. Our commitment to this goal remains

Blind and partially sighted people are central to our work and helped
shape this advert. However we are very keen to receive feedback on this
and all of our films which depict the many different experiences of
sight loss in order to increase the public’s understanding. We are
grateful for the engagement and feedback that the video has provoked,
and, moving forward, will use your constructive feedback in the spirit
in which it was given.

We very much appreciate the time you have take to share your thoughts,
thank you.

If you have any further queries, or would like to know more about our
work and how you could help support us, please do not hesitate to
contact our Fundraising Support and Enquiries Team on 0845 345 0054
(Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm) or email

Kind regards
David Ireland
Fundraising Support and Enquiries Team
RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People)


RNIB Complaint

I wrote this email to
Earlier today. It probably doesn’t make sense and is probably written badly, but it’s away now.

Dear RNIB fundraising

I was directed to an advert you have produced about helping a little girl called Emma.

I find the way the advert was done was quite offensive and upsetting. I think the advert puts out a very bad message to the public. It portrays us as helpless and that all blind and partially sighted people are badly disabled.

I do not know what it is like to lose my sight as i am blind from birth, but i felt that the way the child was portrayed was very over the top. Yes you have some great services like the talking books and the library service, but i think there are certain parts that will portray a very bad message to the public.

Blind and partially sighted people should be portrayed as normal children. Yes i understand it is hard losing your sight as a child, but it could have maybe shown the child adapting to her circumstances etc. if a parent saw that advert and they had just received the news that their child had a sight problem, i’m sure they would find it very upsetting.

I would urge maybe a consultation by blind and partially sighted people before any future advert is put out for viewing. While you can’t please everyone, i deffinetly think it might help and could make the advert possibly more affective.


Torie Tennant

I wonder what their reply will be! Even American tweeters are disgusted.

The RNIB Ad Causing A Storm

I read a blog today that had an advert from the RNIB. The blog was saying all about the way the advert portrayed blind and partially sighted people. I clicked on it thinking it wasn’t that bad. How wrong was I!

The advert features a little girl called Emma. It talked about how Emma loved to play with her friends, read, ride her bike and count the stars as she went to sleep. That’s grand. Then it goes on to say “one day the stars gradually began to fade. Her mornings became dim and her world became a blurr” or something similar. The little girl then calls for her mum, and doesn’t know where the mother is. It then says “2 million people in the UK live with sight loss. We must help them and we must do it now”. It then says that if you donate, you’ll give a blind child their childhood.

Now, I don’t know what it is like to lose vision. But i found the whole thing very upsetting and offensive. Did I and many others not have a childhood because we couldn’t see? Did we not ride a bike, or read? Did we not know where our parents were? Were we completely helpless?

You can check out the vidio yourself

What kind of perception does this give to the public? I hope nobody in their right mind donates, or if they do, I hope they do it because they want to, not because of some pity party.

I might write a email to them about this. We can’t let them continue! There are ways to ask for donations, but not like that. If anyone wants to complain, you can do so by
Clicking here
(That’s the short link for Twitter but it should still work).

I found this advert a complete disgrace! Shameful!

I’m away to do something useful.