Applications open for projects tackling isolation amongst blind and partially sighted Londoners

Ideas with ‘an innovative approach to tackling loneliness’ are being encouraged to apply for the Vision Foundation/Fight for Sight Vision Fund

An elderly Caucasian woman in a grey jumper and a light blue scarf is wearing white headphones and sitting at a table in a yellow-painted kitchen next to a younger man who is looking at her rather than at the camera
Liz Atkin

A fund that aims to tackle loneliness and isolation amongst blind and partially sighted people in London is open for applications.

The Vision Fund, from Vision Foundation/Fight for Sight, will invest in programmes that will drive positive change and offer ‘an innovative approach to tackling loneliness.’

Organisations with experience in delivering specific interventions, such as those focused on fitness, should apply for funding, Vision Foundation/Fight for Sight said.

The charity is also encouraging applications from organisations and groups who are looking to scale up an existing project or who can influence policy in this area.

Sensory loss is one of the key risk factors leading to loneliness, according to the Campaign to End Loneliness.

A 2019 survey by Vision Foundation found that loss of sight, combined with broader societal issues such as barriers to accessing transport, employment, and technology, led to 80% of blind and partially sighted people reporting that they were sometimes, often, or always lonely.

“Being blind or partially sighted should not mean you are left out, isolated, or lonely,” Eleanor Southwood, director of social impact at Vision Foundation/Fight for Sight, said.

She added: “We welcome applications from organisations who open doors and strengthen communities through access to sport, social activities and job opportunities, as well as organisations who have new and innovative approaches to reducing feelings of loneliness and isolation for blind and partially sighted people of all ages.”

£120,000 of funding is available, with organisations able to apply for grants of up to £30,000.

Organisations should apply online by Tuesday 31 October, providing a project proposal of up to 1200 words.

Details of how to apply for funding is available on the Vision Foundation website.

Those requiring support with applications should email Vision Foundation’s grants team.

A panel of experts, including senior leaders working within the disability and sight loss sector, all of whom have lived experience of sight loss, will review applications and recommend the best and most impactful projects to support.

The panel will be chaired by David Clarke, who is chief executive of the British Paralympic Association and was previously services director at Royal National Institute of Blind People, and includes Marsha De Cordova MP, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Eye Health and Visual Impairment.

Other panellists include Steph Cutler, a consultant providing coaching to disabled people; Cathy Low, director of partnerships at the Thomas Pocklington Trust; Mike Nussbaum, trustee at the Shaw Trust; Bhavini Makwana, campaigns and projects officer at the Thomas Pocklington Trust and chair of BAME Vision; Natalie Doig, a disability rights expert who has sat on Vision Foundation’s Grants and Impact Advisory Committee, and Darren Harris, a double Paralympian, a speaker, facilitator and coach.

The Vision Fund is supported by the City Bridge Foundation, London’s biggest independent charity funder, which aims to “help communities foster connections, become more resilient and build a more equal London.”

Vision Foundation and Fight for Sight merged to become one charity in April 2023.