From podcasting to employment advice: Vision Foundation awards £260,000 in grants to London projects

The funding will support seven projects supporting blind and partially sighted people across London

blind person holding hands
The Vision Foundation has awarded more than £260,000 in grants for projects supporting blind and partially sighted people in London.

The charity has presented grants to support local initiatives ranging from employment support to rehabilitation activities, community dance programmes, to training volunteers.

Olivia Curno, chief executive of the Vision Foundation, said the grants would enable seven “unique projects which will enhance the lives of blind and partially sighted people across the capital.”

Among the organisations to receive funding, Disability Advice Service Lambeth has been awarded a grant of £49,979 for a project supporting visually impaired adults to learn how to present, interview, produce and promote radio chat shows and podcasts.

The project intends to work with 50 visually impaired people over two years, to support them to develop the skills and experience for a career in broadcasting. The grant will cover the cost of a co-ordinator, provide technical support to develop training and production support, as well as funding to purchase equipment.

Abs Tripp, community development team leader at Disability Advice Service Lambeth, said the grant would make “a huge difference to the community we serve,” adding: “Podcasting provides a unique opportunity for blind and partially sighted people to share their lives and experiences with the world, gain experience and technical knowledge while building their confidence and resilience.”

A grant of £47,450 has also been provided to the Royal Society for Blind Children for an employment programme providing one-to-one support to blind and partially sighted people between the ages of 16 and 25. Activities will be focused on skills development and an increased knowledge of the job market. The Vision Foundation grant will cover the costs of an employment support adviser, recruitment of participants, staff travel, as well as monitoring and evaluation of the project.

Grants of £50,000 were awarded to projects led by Blind Veterans UK to provide remote support services for older visually impaired people, and to SeeAbility, for the recruitment of two roles to advocate for the commissioning of the Learning Disability eye care pathway across London boroughs.

Funding of £43,890 was provided to the Metro Sports and Social Club to provide online home-based and in-person community dance programmes to engage young visually impaired people and adults from the Asian community in physical activity.

Sutton Vision received a grant of £9500 towards the recruitment of an assistive technology co-ordinator, while Macular Society received a grant of £9990 supporting the recruitment and training of volunteer telephone befrienders.

Darren Barker, Vision Foundation trustee and chair of the Grants and Impact Advisory Committee, commented, “The pandemic has had a huge impact on the visually impaired community over the past year and we believe each of the innovative projects we have chosen has the potential to be a catalyst for wider change.”

The projects were assessed by the Vision Foundation’s Grants and Impact Advisory Committee against criteria including the level of impact for people living with or facing sight loss, measurable need for the project, and the wider benefit beyond the end of the grant.