About

About Us

ForSight is a subsidiary of Vision Ireland, the new for NCBI (National Council for the Blind of Ireland) who has been providing direct supportive, transformative and innovative services to people who are blind or vision impaired in the Republic of Ireland since 1931.

Using Vision Ireland’s successful model of charity retail shops operational in the Republic, ForSight is a chain of charity shops specifically established to raise funds for initiatives designed to enhance and empower the lives of children and adults who are blind or vision impaired.

Connecting communities

Connecting Communities

Meet New People in Our Community

Volunteers truly play a vital role in many aspects of ForSight’s work. We are indebted to our volunteers for their enthusiasm, energy, and commitment. Become a volunteer and make a difference today.

Have a few hours to spare during the week and you would like to be part of the retail team?

Do you have a love for preloved and vintage clothing?

Come instore for a coffee and a chat with your Local Store Manager for more details or email us at [email protected]

We’d love to have you as part of the ForSight volunteer family. There are plenty of volunteering opportunities available.

 

These initiatives include assisting children and their families, providing sporting opportunities to everyone through Vision Sports Ireland, undergraduate bursaries and academic research for effective clinical intervention for the advancement of sight loss treatment.

The ForSight community of volunteers, donators and charity partners is a proud collective working together to ensure that children and adults who are blind or vision impaired have the resources and networks to be visibly empowered.

News

Robbie Best, Head of Communications at NICVA; Chris White, ForSight NI Chief Executive Officer; Sean Doran, Programme Manager and Accessibility Consultant, NCBI and Kyran O’Mahoney, Chief Executive Officer of IA Labs and Chief Technology Officer of NCBI all holding the Northern Ireland Digital Accessibility Index outside the ForSight Belfast store.

New report shows many of Northern Ireland’s authorities and private companies fail when it comes to digital accessibility

Even organisations including councils bound by law to meet digital accessibility standards have failed tests reveals a new report by charity ForSight NI

30 May 2023 – A new report commissioned by ForSight NI — a charity that supports children and adults who are blind or visually impaired — has revealed many of Northern Ireland’s most profitable companies, and indeed essential authorities, fail to meet digital accessibility guidelines.

The report, titled the Northern Irish Digital Accessibility Index 2022, was put together by Inclusion and Accessibility Labs, an organisation that specialises in auditing websites for digital accessibility.

The report’s aim is to educate and guide businesses and public sector bodies here on their journey to create an accessible digital future that nurtures societal equality and also benefits businesses but it is clear from the report that much work needs to be done.

Among the most important findings in the report was that of all sectors covered, only one sector — government department websites, which legally have to meet official guidelines known as WCAG standards  — has a 100% audit pass rate.

It also found that although all nine departments passed the IA Labs audit, none were 100% free from accessibility issues. The nine departments had several issues each, with the Department for the Economy performing best.

The private sector fared worst in the report which said of Northern Ireland’s top 10 businesses; just three passed IA Labs’ accessibility audit.

Moy Park, which is Northern Ireland’s second-largest employer, had 41 issues. And while not legally obliged to meet accessibility standards, these private firms’ performances in terms of digital accessibility were well below par given their turnovers, global reach, and customer base.

Meanwhile of Northern Ireland’s 11 local authorities (councils), just nine passed the audit, despite an obligation to meet the accessibility standards outlined in the Public Sector Bodies Accessibility Regulations 2018.

The two authorities that did not attain the standard were Derry City and Strabane District and Newry, Mourne and Down District. The best performer was Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council with zero accessibility issues.

Northern Ireland’s housing organisations also fell short of the standards, with only one (Clanmil Housing) of five passing the audit. Highlighting the importance of this shortfall in this sector, the report reads: “The ability to look for housing options online is as important as being given equal access to housing in the first place.”

In education, of the small section of schools that were assessed within the primary and secondary levels, five out of 12 secondary schools and four out of 12 primary schools passed an accessibility audit.

Five of our six health and social care trusts passed IA’s accessibility review. Meanwhile of our four state agencies including the likes of Libraries NI and the NI Housing Executive, only one agency — NI Housing Executive — passed IA Labs’ application of the WCAG 2.1 AA standard. Libraries NI and Invest NI surprisingly had the most accessibility issues.

The final element of the report showed that out of our three utility providers — Northern Ireland Water, NIE Networks and SSE — just NIE Networks passed the IA Labs accessibility review. This is despite Northern Ireland Water being government-owned, which means it falls under the Public Sector Bodies Accessibility Regulations 2018.

Chris White, ForSight NI Chief Executive Officer, said: “Our report is compiled to guide and inform relevant authorities and businesses of where the shortfalls are in digital accessibility. It is not a name-and-shame guide but rather a highlight of how far we’ve come and how far we still need to go.

“It’s essential that authorities and organisations make their digital assets accessible in Northern Ireland, where one in five people have a disability. That amounts to approximately 336,000 people — a huge part of the population that is vulnerable to being excluded from digital access.

“Being digitally accessible is not just a legal obligation for those who are bound by law, but it’s a moral obligation and one that is essential for good business practice and in the near future, essential for operating in continents including the US and Europe where digitally accessibility is scrutinised even more.

“As well as showing you have admirable environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards, being digitally accessible opens your business to a new audience or indeed a new customer which is a profitable move.

“We hope the findings in this report encourage businesses and authorities to take action and maintain an inclusive action-focused mindset for a more inclusive world.”

Robbie Best, Head of Communications at NICVA, said: “At NICVA, we welcome the report and look forward to working closely with ForSight NI and IA Labs in the future.

“As the umbrella body for the community and voluntary sector, we represent organisations who work with people and communities accessing services all across Northern Ireland from education and health, to community transport and services for young people.

“Digital services aren’t a nice to have, they’re a vital part of our everyday lives so making sure these services are accessible to everyone is really important for us as a sector.

“We’re working closely with IA Labs to ensure our own new website is fully accessible when it launches later this year and will be supporting our sector get help, support and guidance to ensure their services can be accessed by everyone who relies on them”.

Kyran O’Mahoney, Chief Executive Officer of IA Labs and Chief Technology Officer of NCBI, added: “The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) Accessibility Regulations and Equality Act 2010 are vital for ensuring inclusive digital experiences. However, our research shows that people with disabilities still encounter discrimination in an increasingly digital society. Compliance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) is mandatory for the public sector under UK law, so businesses, organizations, and service providers in Northern Ireland must assess their website or mobile app’s accessibility and take action to ensure full inclusivity. Digital accessibility benefits both end-users and businesses, promoting equality and improving profitability.”

ForSight NI is increasing its presence further in Northern Ireland with the launch of a brand new vintage charity shop in Lombard Street, Belfast.

A full breakdown of the findings of the Northern Irish Digital Accessibility Index 2022 can be found within the report, which also details findings from Google Lighthouse, an automated tool used for improving the quality of web pages. It should be noted that IA Labs’ audit process is a more manual and comprehensive inspection.

ENDS//…

Northern Irish Digital Accessibility Index

This report was commissioned by ForSight NI and details how accessible Northern Ireland’s digital world is based on manual accessibility audits performed by the staff of IA Labs.

Research and write-up of the index was carried out from July to December 2022 and it was officially released on 24th May 2023.

For the most accessible version, please download and open the index in Adobe Acrobat.

Northern Irish Digital Accessibility Index 2022

Brace for Belfast! ForSight officially opens fourth store in Northern Ireland.

Belfast store frontMonday 3rd April 2023 – ForSight, Northern Ireland’s latest chain of charity shops, is today delighted to announce the arrival of our fourth store in Belfast, which opened on Saturday 1st April, and is packed with rails of pre-loved and exclusive Vintage gems.

ForSight Belfast is the organisation’s first new store opening in 2023, following the opening of its stores in Derry/Londonderry, Enniskillen and Omagh last year. Our Derry/Londonderry store was the first for ForSight to stock our exclusive Vintage range, but Belfast has joined the family and will have a whole dedicated area for Vintage. This exclusive range has thousands of pieces from brands like Ralph Lauren, Prada, Armani, Timberland, Nike, Puma, Adidas, Asics, Ellesse and more. Sports fans could also find something special as our Vintage Range extends to retro football and American sport jerseys.

Beverley Scallan, ForSight Head of Retail said: “Following the success of launching our first three stores in Northern Ireland in 2022, we are delighted to continue the trend and expand into Belfast. This bustling city is the perfect location for us with its significant student population and we have seen already the wider public also share our passion for pre-loved, which has huge environmental benefits. Our environmentally friendly ethos also extends to the fit out of the new store, which is renovated and decorated using reclaimed, recycled, and pre-loved materials.

“If you haven’t already visited a ForSight store in Northern Ireland, make Belfast your first port of call as we guarantee you will be blown away by the quality of our stock and by our boutique style store design. Not to mention, by supporting our stores you will also help to fund initiatives that benefit people who are blind or vision impaired across Northern Ireland.’

Danielle McDonagh, ForSight Belfast Area Manager, added: “Opening ForSight Belfast has been our most exciting journey yet and the passion from our staff and volunteers has been amazing. With our first two days behind us, we can already feel the sense of support from the local community and we look forward to nurturing that in the coming months and years.

“Please drop in to ForSight Belfast and say hello to the team. We are always on hand to accept donations or expressions of interest in volunteering, and we would also love to help you find your next pre-loved or vintage gem for your wardrobe as we approach an exciting summer!”

ForSight Belfast is located at 22-24 Gordon House, Lombard Street, Belfast, Co.Antrim, BT1 1RD.

Vintage fashion fever spreads across Northern Ireland as ForSight expands collection in FermanaghA ForSight store's vintage display which includes racks of colourful clothing to the right of the image and a stand with a small yellow table decorated with old vinyl records.

Thursday 9th February 2023 – ForSight is spreading Vintage fashion fever across Northern Ireland as we are excited to expand our collection to the ForSight store in Enniskillen.

ForSight joined the Vintage Range family in October 2022 at the opening of our Derry store and the collection has remained a huge asset to the store since.

For those who aren’t familiar with our Vintage Range, ForSight has vintage pieces from brands like Ralph Lauren, Prada, Armani, Timberland, Nike, Puma, Adidas, Asics, Ellesse and more. Sports fans could also find a gem as our Vintage Range extends to retro football and American sport jerseys.

Beverley Scallan ForSight Head of Retail said: “ForSight is currently on a mission to modernise our stores, but that doesn’t mean we’re out with the old – our Vintage Range will give each of these stores a corner with a retro feel. Vintage feeds perfectly into our commitment to sustainability by keeping clothing from as far back as the 80s and 90s in circulation, but it also gives us an opportunity to share the style of those times with a younger audience and some nostalgia to people who are of a certain vintage!

“People may be surprised by the brands they can find and the prices they can find them at within our Vintage sections, but it’s no surprise to us as we secure new pieces each day through generous donations which are the lifeblood of our stores. If you have any vintage pieces that could get a new lease of life with someone else, don’t hesitate to drop into your local ForSight store where team members will gratefully accept donations. By doing this you’re supporting people who are blind or vision impaired and you’re supporting ForSight’s environmental goals.”

ForSight’s Vintage Range is also available online through stores on EbayDepopThriftify and Haru.

ENDS

 

 

Previous news and press releases

13th October 2022, The third ForSight store in Northern Ireland has officially opened in Derry/Londonderry! The team at the store was honoured to be joined by the current Miss Derry/Londonderry, Amy Doherty. While Amy visited the store, she also celebrated with the team by cutting the ribbon to officially open our store to the public.

Amy said: ‘Thank you to the team at ForSight for having me here to cut the ribbon. I got a chance to look around the new store and there are so many amazing pieces on offer, especially in their new vintage section. If you’re a vintage fan, ForSight Derry/Londonderry should definitely be your first stop if you’re in the area!’

Danielle McDonagh, Area Manager for ForSight Derry/Londonderry said: ‘We were over the moon to have Amy with us as she’s amazing ambassador for the people of Derry/Londonderry, who have also been so welcoming to us and supportive of what we’re trying to do here at ForSight. We have a huge selection of pre-loved men’s and women’s clothing, accessories, homewares and more. Our vintage section is a first for ForSight stores and we’re dedicated to expanding this section as we know how huge vintage is for a lot of people these days.

Beverley Scallan, Head of Retail at ForSight, said: “Opening ForSight in Derry/Londonderry – our third store in Northern Ireland – is a huge achievement considering our first store in Omagh opened just seven months ago. Our pre-loved stock at Derry and our new vintage section will provide brilliant options for people in Derry/Londonderry to who want to grab a great deal, who want to contribute to supports and services for children and adults who are blind or vision impaired and who are also conscious of how their shopping habits can affect their environmental footprint. We feel so welcome in Derry/Londonderry already and we would encourage all members of the community to pop in and say hello to the team!’

Our innovative and modern design in our ForSight stores will continue to change the perception of how a charity shop is or should be. As always, all donations of quality clothing, accessories and homewares and expressions of interest in volunteering with ForSight are welcome at your local store.

22nd April 2022, The second ForSight store in Northern Ireland has officially opened in Enniskillen! The team at our Enniskillen store was on hand to cut the ribbon and celebrate our arrival into the local community. Our second opening comes shortly after the hugely successful inaugural opening of ForSight in Omagh, Co.Tyrone. Picture caption for ribbon cutting: L-R: Debbie Keyes, ForSight Enniskillen store manager, Danielle McDonagh, ForSight area manager, Chris White, ForSight CEO, Julie Silvestri, Queens University and Beverley Scallan, ForSight head of retail cutting the ribbon outside the new ForSight shop in Enniskillen

Beverley Scallan, Head of Retail at ForSight, said: “The opening of ForSight in Enniskillen represents another significant step in our expansion in Northern Ireland. ForSight’s presence in as many communities as possible will be essential in contributing to our work to support people who are blind and vision impaired.

“Our store in Enniskillen is packed with incredible stock and our team is more than happy to help you find a hidden gem, whether that be the perfect dress or a new addition to your décor at home. As with our first store, and those to come, sustainability guides everything that we do and one of the best ways you can support the environment is to shop pre-loved with us.”

Chris White, ForSight CEO, added: “Growing our presence in Northern Ireland means we will raise much needed funds to support direct services for people who are blind or vision impaired as well as funding clinical research into the causes of sight loss. Customers will not only be supporting an excellent cause but also helping to save the planet. Similar to our store in Omagh, we look forward to our Enniskillen shop becoming a cornerstone of the local community”.

The doors of ForSight in Enniskillen will be open to the public six days a week. Our innovative and modern design in our shops will continue to change the perception of how a charity shop is or should be. As always, all donations of quality clothing, accessories and homewares are welcome.

Chris White, ForSight CEO, with Melanie O'Kane, ForSight Omagh shop manager and Danielle McDonagh, ForSight area manager, cutting the opening ribbon with shop volunteers.

16th March 2022, ForSight is delighted to open the doors to its first charity shop in Northern Ireland. Today we celebrated as we opened the doors to our new shop on 27-29 Market Street in Omagh, Co.Tyrone.

Beverley Scallan, Head of Retail at ForSight, said: “After months of hard work from our team, we’re delighted our first ForSight shop is open for the people of Omagh to visit. We look forward to becoming a cornerstone of the local community as we get to know our supporters and customers in the coming months.

“Sustainability is at the forefront of what we do so the Omagh store is stocked with a fabulous range of pre-loved clothing, homewares items and accessories that will make perfect additions to wardrobes and homes throughout Tyrone and beyond. We’re extremely excited with what is on offer and encourage people to shop, donate and volunteer with us.”

Chris White, Chief Executive Officer of ForSight, added: “Today is a milestone for ForSight with the opening of our Omagh store which we know will raise much needed funds to support direct services for people who are blind or vision impaired in Northern Ireland as well as funding clinical research into the causes of sight loss. Customers will not only be supporting an excellent cause but also helping to save the planet. We look forward to expanding the ForSight chain with our second store opening in Enniskillen shortly.”

ForSight in Omagh is now open to the public six days a week. Pop in and be amazed at how the store challenges people’s ideas of what charity shopping is like given the modern look, stylish layout and excellent quality stock. All donations of clothing, applicable accessories and homewares are welcome.

ENDS

17th February 2022: ForSight is delighted to be unveiled as Northern Ireland’s newest chain of charity shops dedicated to raising funds for initiatives designed to enhance and empower the lives of children and adults who are blind or vision impaired. These shops, opening in Omagh and Enniskillen in March 2022, will sell preloved fashion, accessories and homeware.

Chris White, CEO said: “we are thrilled to open a chain of high-quality charity shops across Northern Ireland. Building on the experience achieved through ForSight’s sister company NCBI in the South, I firmly believe we can challenge people’s perceptions of charity retail and raise the awareness of the realities of living with sight loss. All funds generated in the shops will support direct services or clinical research to improve the lives of children and adults in Northern Ireland who are blind or vision impaired.”

ForSight’s motto Visually Impaired Visibly Empowered will underpin our work in collaborating with leading organisations already working to advance the needs of people who are blind or vision impaired.

Sara McCracken, CEO Angel Eyes said: “We welcome the opening of the ForSight chain of charity shops and support their work which will help to increase awareness of visual impairment, and fund activities to address the impact of this low incidence disability especially for children.”

Professor Julie Silvestri, Belfast Health & Social Care Trust said: “our collaboration with ForSight will hopefully lead to additional funding for our much needed research into both Inherited Retinal Degenerations and Age-related Macular Degeneration in Northern Ireland. The research focuses on the identification of genetic factors in both disorders with a view to directing patients to current and future clinical trials and treatments.”

We hope ForSight stores will become an integral part of the community where customers can shop, donate and volunteer. ForSight stores will also champion the sustainability agenda and be an alternative to fast fashion. This means shopping in ForSight not only raises much needed funds to support those living with sight loss but also helps save the planet.

ENDS