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About us

With a history of helping blind and visually impaired people in Ipswich for nearly 150 years, the Ipswich Care for the Blind is one of the oldest Societies in the town, and I am proud to be their Patron, David Sheepshanks.

The Ipswich Blind Society (IBS) is the oldest of three voluntary organisations set up in Suffolk to provide services for the blind and visually impaired. The Mission Statement of the Ipswich Blind Society is simple: To help the blind and visually impaired people of Ipswich live full, independent, and active lives. The principle objectives of the Society are:


Photograph of David Sheepshanks, Patron of the IBS

David Sheepshanks, Patron of the IBS


"I am pleased and honoured to become patron of the Ipswich Care for the Blind.  Having been chair for a short time a few years ago, I found out more about the splendid activities of the Society and the excellent work of staff and volunteers.  My mother was registered blind for the last 35 years of her life and the Society provided superb advice and practical support so she was able to stay in her own home until well into her 90s.  Amongst other things, I regard this as an opportunity to repay some of that kindness".

Former Ipswich mayor Roger Fern has been announced as a patron for Ipswich Care for the Blind. Mr Fern, who is currently a member of Ipswich Borough Council for the Sprites ward was previously mayor for 2004-2005, has agreed to take up the role as a patron for the organisation, which provides support and advice for blind people and their families.  Ipswich Care for the Blind are delighted to be able to announce his acceptance of the position.


Roger Fern Ipswich Blind Society

Roger Fern Patron of the IBS


  • To give practical support and advice to visually impaired people and their families on social, health, financial, domestic and personal matters. This is done face-to-face at the Ipswich Blind Society Office and Resource Centre at 19 Tower Street, through our Telephone Befriending Service, and through our Community Workers visiting people in their homes.
  • To demonstrate and sell aids for the visually impaired to enable them to lead independent lives in their own homes. To arrange a major exhibition once a year where suppliers of aids display their wares for the visually impaired community in Ipswich.
  • To facilitate visually impaired people meeting together for social, educational, self-help and other purposes men's clubs, outings and holidays.
  • To refer visually impaired people to other appropriate sources of help.
  • To work with the local authority and other voluntary and statutory bodies to enhance services to the visually impaired community.

The Ipswich Blind Society has historically operated as a not-for-profit exempt charity, registered under the Industrial and Provident Societies Act 1893 on the 30 March 1950 under registration number 13826 R. Suffolk.

 The Society has completed the process of converting to a Registered Charity, and on 13 January 2011 registered under the Companies Act 2006 as a Company Limited by Guarantee, company number 7491559.

Who do we help?

The Society supports all blind and visually impaired people of all ages in the Borough of Ipswich and those in the surrounding areas who choose to make use of these services.

  • One in six people over 75, and one in twelve of people over 60 are blind or partially sighted.
  • Over 90% of older blind and partially sighted people live on less than half the national average income
  • across all age groups 29% of those registered blind and 28% of those registered partially sighted also have an additional disability
  • Visually impaired people often describe the impact of their impairment as "devastating" or "shattering" It is the third largest precursor to suicide.