MORE details have emerged of the three-year rescue plan for Hereford's Royal National College for the Blind.

And with it has come a special message to the city's residents - thank you for being so supportive and helpful to our students.

Last week it emerged that the RNC had sold their southern campus to Herefordshire Council as part of a rescue plan in the face of mounting financial woes.

The buildings on the southern campus, some of which house Hereford College of Art, will now be used by the council as a shared education centre for the city.

The RNC have revealed that they talked to a number of potential buyers after putting it on the market around 18 months ago.

But Charity Chief Executive Lucy Proctor says they were delighted to sell it to the council because it keeps the building for education and that will also strengthen their offer.

The sale is just one part of a rescue package that also includes plans to boost student numbers again and double the income they get from fundraising.

The college has been hit by a big drop in student numbers, down a quarter from a few years ago. There are currently 75 on roll.

The drop has been sparked by local councils commissioning fewer places for students.

The RNC say changes in government policy have placed more legal, administrative and financial pressures on local councils, and as a result they are not referring as many students.

"It has become increasingly difficult for young people to get funding agreed," said Ms Proctor.

The sale of the southern campus provides a vital cash injection.

Part of the money will be used to convert space and provide facilities in the northern campus.

But the college's future will depend on success in getting more students and raising more funds.

The RNC is lobbying government in the hope that it will reconsider the current policy over the way youngsters are assessed for special educational needs, and is also talking to local authorities about what it can offer.

It has also set itself an ambitious target of doubling fundraising to £500,000 a year to help meet the costs of keeping the college running in Hereford.

"We really value being in Hereford," said Ms Proctor. "We get such great support.

"There is a real awareness in the city and an understanding from the people that has been built up over the years.

"It's not just people supporting our fundraising events, ever day the people of Hereford support our students when they meet them in the city."