Why are we changing our name?
Our name will bring up different emotions for different people, for those who have been part of OAB for a long time it will be a positive name associated with the work and people they have been involved with. For those who are new to having a visual impairment they may think. “I’m not blind”, for others the term ‘for the Blind’ feels condescending as we are blind or visually impaired people, not ‘the blind!’
If you have been around a while, you will know that we have brought this up before, but now we feel it is time to reflect on how we fit into the modern world around us and whether our name could be more appropriate for this environment. We have listed some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) below to help you gain an understanding of the journey we are on.
One big question you may have: what are we going to be called? Well, we would like to hear from you, and we have in the past had many suggestions, do send them to us. We will take them all on board and hopefully we’ll all come up with a name that is welcoming, practical and sets us apart from other organisations. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01865 725 595
Frequently Asked Questions
Why change our name?
Our name is outdated, it doesn’t reflect a positive image or reflect the work we do and the impact we have in the community. Many people do not access our services or are put off by them because they are not blind. We don’t want our name to be a barrier for people accessing the support they may need. We frequently hear the phrase “I’m not blind enough” which is a shame as our services and support are for anyone with a visual impairment.
Is the word blind wrong?
Certainly not! The word blind is correct and is generally associated with those who have no vision or very little vision. About 5% of people, we work with are totally blind. Some people will identify as a blind person, this is because in the past registration was either blind or partially sighted. But we want to ensure everyone is included and certainly not put off.
Have we always been Oxfordshire Association for the Blind (OAB)?
No, in our 144-year history, we have had five names. We started in 1877 as Oxfordshire Association for the Home Teaching of the Blind. You can find out more about our history on our website or at our resource centre.
How much will it cost us?
One of the reasons we have put the name change off until now is because we wanted to ensure we didn’t waste a lot of money which could be directed towards services. We are now in a position where we can do a lot of this work in house. There will inevitably be a cost involved – legal fees, reprinting and the needs for new materials and signage etc. We aim to keep this to a minimum; the good thing is a lot of groundwork has been done before this point. We will use some of our Legacy money to cover the above costs, so that all funds raised through donations and other fundraising efforts still go straight into provision of our services.
When will we change our name?
From January we hope to put together a consultation so we can find out a bit more from you and present you with a couple of name options. From this we will present an option to the board of trustees for approval. We aim for this all to be completed in Spring 2022.
My will is written out to OAB, do I need to change anything?
No, we will be retaining the same charity number and company number, this will ensure that any donations or legacies will still be available to us.
Will this make a difference to income if we don’t use the term blind?
Many other local associations have changed their name, Berkshire Vision and BucksVision for example, they have thrived and continue to do so since changing their names a number of years ago. Income is based on the impact we have in the community not on any public misconceptions of what visual impairment is. We are here to educate, campaign and stand up for visually impaired people in Oxfordshire.
Will this impact our services?
No, we intend to grow and build the organisation over the coming years, to reach the demand and be visible within the community of Oxfordshire. We will use the name change as an opportunity to grow and reach more people that are facing life changing news of sight loss.