Charity launches new fund to transform the lives of people facing and living with sight loss

The Vision Foundation has launched a new fund to address the most pressing issues affecting blind and partially sighted people in London today.

The Vision Fund is designed to fund innovative projects that are changing lives amongst London’s visually impaired communities. The new fund is being launched at a time when alarmingly more people than ever before are needlessly going blind and the life experiences of blind and partially sighted people in the capital are deteriorating. Sight loss is projected to increase in London by up to 50% in the next decade – from 200,000 to 295,000 people by 2030.

The funder, established in 1921, has said that the fund will be available to projects that address one of the following three key priorities:

  1. Opening London up

Everyone living, working or visiting London should have access to the rich cultural, economic and social opportunities of our city. Blind and partially sighted people face barriers to employment, taking part in physical activity, navigating city streets and engaging in social activities – many things sighted people might take for granted.

  1. Empowering those at-risk

Within the visually impaired community, there are certain groups who can face a ‘double disadvantage’. When facing sight loss, those from the BAME community, older people, women, those living on a low income and those with other disabilities are at risk of experiencing poorer outcomes. In addition, there are some consequences of sight loss that are not supported well or at all, such as the heightened risk of domestic violence, poverty or poor mental health.

  1. Preventing avoidable blindness

200,000 people are living with sight loss in the capital and just under 700,000 (1 in 12 adults) are living with a sight-threatening condition. Unless there are bold interventions, these figures are set to increase significantly by 2030. An estimated 50% of sight loss is avoidable, but not currently avoided. Public awareness and a stretched NHS are major contributors to these poor outcomes.

The Vision Foundation supports established organisations delivering services directly to blind and partially sighted people across London. This new fund is open to organisations operating services and projects which can demonstrate a track record of success and can evidence the effectiveness of their work.

The Vision Foundation’s Chief Executive, Olivia Curno, said:

“The Vision Fund is a new opportunity for organisations to make London accessible for everyone with sight loss and work to reduce preventable blindness.

“London is an incredible city but for many blind and partially sighted people, the capital is out of reach. Three-quarters of visually impaired people of working age are not in paid employment – that’s the equivalent of about 700 London buses full of people unable to find work. Our new fund will challenge London to put accessibility first and make sure blind and partially sighted people are not left out.”

The Vision Foundation has already invested more than 30 million pounds across London over the last 98 years to support the needs of blind and partially sighted people.

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