HRH The Countess of Wessex recently took part in an online session to highlight the work of the Royal National Institute of Blind People’s (RNIB) services for children. The craft session also marked the launch of the charity’s Shape and Share events for 2021.

The session, which was held on Thursday afternoon, saw Her Royal Highness join eleven families from across the UK in making bird houses. The event was introduced by RNIB Chair of Trustees, Anna Tylor and the activity was led by artist, Emily McFarland. It aimed to encourage children to get out into nature and listen for spring birds.

RNIB Shape and Share forms part of the support the charity is offering for children and young people with vision impairment and their families. This support is being offered virtually in response to the latest UK coronavirus restrictions.

RNIB Shape and Share comprises a series of online events including craft and storytelling, ‘jump, jiggle and jive’, pizza making and sessions on online safety. The events, which run from February to April, are aimed at encouraging children and young people with vision impairment to make new friends, try new things, and engage in some much-needed fun.

Her Royal Highness praised the creative efforts of the families who took part in the craft session and said how much she enjoyed meeting them all. At the end of the session, The Countess said:

“Hopefully one day we’ll be able to get together and compare what birds have visited our bird boxes!”

Her Royal Highness also thanked RNIB for all the work the charity is doing to support people.

RNIB Principal Education Officer, Caireen Sutherland said: “Our online Shape and Share events bring children, young people and their families together for peer support, sharing knowledge and advice, and trying out new fun activities.

“We are delighted that Her Royal Highness was able to join us for what was a very engaging and entertaining session. RNIB Shape and Share events are open to families throughout the UK so we would encourage anyone interested to get involved.”

Cherie Coyle from Derry, whose 10-year-old daughter, Freya took part said: “Freya really enjoyed herself and was excited to meet a member of the Royal Family. She had fun decorating her bird house and engaging with the other children who also took part. Freya plans to give her bird house to her Granny!”

Michelle Bateson who is also from Derry, said her 10-year-old daughter, Elodie really enjoyed the craft session. “Elodie loved decorating her bird house and listening to the bird song that was played during the session. We are going to put the bird house on the tree house in our garden and are excited to see what birds will visit.”

To see the full list of RNIB Spring Shape and Share events visit the RNIB website