Welcome to Thomas Pocklington Trust’s website

Author: Sarah Anderson


People try out new sports at free Multi-VI Sports Festival in Sutton

Visually Impaired people in South West London enjoyed a free day of sporting activities recently. Thomas Pocklington Trust (TPT), in collaboration with Sutton Vision, Better Sutton Sports Village, Crystal Palace Football Club and Metro Blind Sport, ran a free Multi-VI Sports Festival in Sutton on 29th July. The 20 participants got to try out sports including VI football, VI tennis, an audio described dance class and a gym circuit session. Alex Pepper, a Project Coordinator at TPT who helped organise the event, said the event was a pilot activity day for the VI community in South West London to encourage...

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Prudential Ride London 46 on a tandem bike

Alex Pepper, 27, has been sight impaired his whole life and lost his functional sight in early 2016. Alex, a Project Coordinator at Thomas Pocklington Trust, has written about his experience training for and cycling in Prudential Ride London 46. Entering the Ride London 46 was something I hadn’t really planned to do initially.  It came about after speaking to Wheels for Wellbeing about arranging some tandem cycling track events in Croydon for the local visually impaired (VI) residents to try out.  Abigail, who worked for the charity, told me about her experience doing the ride last year, and...

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CEO Blog August

As trailed in last month’s blog, our summer staff conference activities featured a bake off competition which I had the privilege of judging, alongside our Chief Operating Officer Sharon Billingham. All 13 cakes were absolutely marvellous! It was part of a week of activities which brought our staff together. Sadly, I was unable to participate in the Zumba, tea dance and yoga classes but I did struggle along to the pub quiz! I would like to congratulate Ellie Southwood on being confirmed as the new Chair of the Board of Trustees at Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB)...

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Learning to swim with South East London Vision

Ian Rattray, a 52-year-old member of South East London Vision (SELVis), has written about his experience taking swimming lessons organised by SELVis and the charity Sense. Ian was born short-sighted so he has never had 20:20 vision, and he was recently diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa. My first experience of water as a child was not a good one. When I was around 4 or 5 my sister and I managed to capsize a pedalo.  I had to be rescued from the pool we were in.  This was not helped by swimming lessons at school where I was generally ignored....

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NHS England releases review of the Accessible Information Standard

There is widespread support for the Accessible Information Standard introduced last year, a review of the Standard has revealed. NHS England has today released its review of the Accessible Information Standard, which must be followed by all organisations that provide NHS care and/or publicly-funded adult social care. The Standard, which became a requirement for all organisations on 1st August 2016, aims to make sure that people who have a disability, impairment or sensory loss are provided with information that they can easily read and understand so they can communicate effectively with health and social care services. NHS has reviewed...

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New report finds disabled people are being marginalised

One in four disabled people experience loneliness on a typical day, a new report launched by Sense has revealed. The research, conducted as part of the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness, reveals that disabled people in the UK are still being marginalised by negative public attitude, with a quarter (26 per cent) of Brits admitting that they had avoided conversations with disabled people. Only half (52 per cent) of those responding to the study believed that they had much in common with disabled people, whilst ‘fear of causing offence’ (30 per cent), ‘feeling uncomfortable’ (20 per cent) or ‘not knowing...

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Guide Home Page

Housing Guide for People with Sight Loss Introduction This online guide aims to share information for visually impaired people who are looking for a new home, seeking to live independently for the first time or experiencing problems in their current accommodation.  It will share personal experiences from visually impaired people who have different life circumstances, provide useful suggestions, and signpost to sources for further advice. If you have any comments or ideas about the information in the guide, please email us at Research@pocklington-trust.org.uk. To browse the guide, or to help us direct you to the most relevant information, please select a...

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Launch of Online Housing Guide for Visually Impaired People Looking for a New Home

Leading sight loss charity Thomas Pocklington Trust (TPT) has developed an innovative online housing guide designed to assist younger adults with visual impairment find a new home. The Housing guide for people with sight loss – launched today – provides information and advice for visually impaired people who are looking for a new home, seeking to live independently for the first time or experiencing problems in their current accommodation. It covers everything from student housing and tips for living in a shared house to the moving process, assistive technology and support for living independently and more. The guide, funded...

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Launch of Online Housing Guide for Visually Impaired People Looking for a New Home

Leading sight loss charity Thomas Pocklington Trust (TPT) has developed an innovative online housing guide designed to assist younger adults with visual impairment find a new home. The Housing guide for people with sight loss – launched today – provides information and advice for visually impaired people who are looking for a new home, seeking to live independently for the first time or experiencing problems in their current accommodation. It covers everything from student housing and tips for living in a shared house to the moving process, assistive technology and support for living independently and more. The guide, funded...

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CEO Blog July

I am very pleased to welcome two new Trustees to the Thomas Pocklington Trust board! Marsha de Cordova, MP for Battersea, and Graham Findlay, Chief Executive of North East Sensory Services in Scotland, have joined our Board of Trustees today. We are grateful to them both for their time and wealth of knowledge. It is wonderful that Marsha has joined our board after stepping down as Director of Engagement & Advocacy at TPT when she was elected to represent Battersea last month. I would like to congratulate Marsha again on her election. I know that she will be a...

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Drivers’ putting people with sight loss in danger by parking on pavement

More than half of UK drivers park on the pavement but many don’t realise they could be putting people with sight loss in serious danger, a new survey has revealed. Research by YouGov, for the charity Guide Dogs, shows that 54 per cent of UK drivers park on the pavement, with more than a quarter (29 per cent) of those doing so a few times a month or more. More than half (55 per cent) of these drivers say they think about their impact on people with sight loss, whose lives are being endangered because they are forced to...

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Sharon Billingham appointed as Chief Operating Officer at TPT

Sharon Billingham has been appointed as Chief Operating Officer here at Thomas Pocklington Trust (TPT). Sharon’s appointment as Chief Operating Officer is effective immediately and comes after her being Director of Charity and People Development at TPT. Her appointment follows our Deputy Chief Executive, Keith Valentine’s, appointment as Chief Executive of Vision UK and our Director of Engagement and Advocacy, Marsha de Cordova’s, election as MP for Battersea. Sharon will now also be overseeing our Engagement and Advocacy Team and Employment Programme, and will deputise for our Chief Executive Peter Corbett in his absence. Peter congratulated Sharon on her appointment....

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Many people unaware that smoking causes blindness

A recent survey has revealed that 53 per cent of people are not aware that smoking causes blindness. The survey was conducted by the Macular Society in the lead up to Macular Week (26 June – 2 July), which raises awareness of the biggest cause of sight loss in the UK – age-related macular degeneration (AMD). According to the Macular Society, smoking is the biggest ‘modifiable’ risk factor when it comes to AMD, with smokers up to four times more likely to develop the condition. Passive smoking can also have an impact on your eye health. During Macular Week...

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New Visually Impaired Women’s Group launched

A Visually Impaired Women’s Group has been launched to help improve networks in the community. Croydon Vision hosted the launch event of the new Visually Impaired (VI) Women’s Group, which was organised in collaboration with Thomas Pocklington Trust (TPT), on Wednesday 14th June. The group’s aim is to improve activities and socialisation opportunities for women in the local and surrounding boroughs. Alex Pepper, Thomas Pocklington Trust Project Coordinator, said the event was a success with a great turnout from a number of London boroughs. “There was a very positive vibe in the room throughout the day with lots of laughter...

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Congratulations to Marsha de Cordova!

We are thrilled for Thomas Pocklington Trust’s Marsha de Cordova who has been elected as an MP in the General Election. Marsha, our Engagement and Advocacy Director, has been elected to represent the constituency of Battersea. In her victory speech last night, Marsha said: “As a visually-impaired person myself, I feel passionately about the rights of disabled people. Accessibility in our public places and on public transport still falls short of what is reasonable. I will use my time in parliament to lobby for improvements in these areas. In the fifth richest country in the world, there can be...

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CEO Blog June

I am delighted that Keith Valentine, Thomas Pocklington Trust’s Deputy Chief Executive, has been appointed as Chief Executive of Vision UK, the new unified umbrella body for the Eye Health and Sight Loss Sector. This is an exciting new chapter in collaboration across the sector, bringing together some of the organisations that have been working side-by-side but separately until now. It’s something that I have personally been working hard to achieve over the last few months and I’m delighted to see it now coming to fruition. This is only the beginning of this exciting new chapter and there will...

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Keith Valentine appointed to lead new organisation for collaboration across the eye health and sight loss sectors

Keith Valentine, Deputy CEO of Thomas Pocklington Trust and RNIB Trustee, has been appointed as the CEO of new organisation Vision UK. Vision UK will support the delivery of a new collaborative ambition for change across the eye health and sight loss sectors. It will bring together the work of the UK Vision Strategy, VISION 2020 UK and the England Vision Strategy, and will work with partners from across the eye health and sight loss sectors to deliver an agreed set of UK-wide ambitions and priority areas. Keith has a background in leading urban renewal programmes but, as his...

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Congratulations to the 2017 TPT Volunteering Awards winners!

The 2017 TPT Volunteering Awards were held at the Pocklington Hub last night (5th June). The inaugural awards were held during Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June) to celebrate our wonderful volunteers. Volunteers, service users, staff and corporate partners, including representatives from Moorfields Eye Hospital and Bank of America, attended the awards ceremony. Our award winners are: West Midlands Volunteer of the Year – Mark Sanders (pictured) London Volunteer of the Year – Diana Plant Befriender of the Year – Maureen Pitman Link Up Volunteer of the Year – Hubert Feichtinger Inspirational Volunteer of the Year – Elise Crayton Pool Volunteer...

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Get to know our Volunteering Team during Volunteers’ Week!

We’re celebrating Volunteers’ Week here at Thomas Pocklington Trust! Our Volunteering Team has organised a range of events to thank our wonderful volunteers during Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June) We want to take you behind the scenes to get to know our Volunteering Team and find out more about our Volunteering Program which helps to enable independence for our service users. The team is led by the Development Manager for Volunteering, Kirsty Palmer, and includes Volunteer and Development Coordinator Leila Pearce, Volunteer Coordinators Katrina Sheppard and Karice Baker-Quow, Volunteer Service Administrator Courtney Nugent and Support Worker Peter McGeary. Kirsty said...

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General Election 2017 Disability Hustings

We’re going to be at the Disability Hustings event in central London this afternoon. Candidates representing three of the main political parties will be answering questions from an audience of more than 160 people with disabilities, including visual impairment, ahead of the election on 8 June. It will cover the big issues facing disabled people, including the social care funding crisis, disability benefits and employment. The candidates taking part in the hustings event are: Penny Mordaunt – Conservative MP for Portsmouth North since 2010 and Minister of State for Disabled People, Work and Health Kate Green – Labour MP...

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Congratulations Odette!

Congratulations to Odette Battarel, from South East London Vision (SELVis), for placing third in her category in the inaugural International Blind Tennis Tournament. Odette, the Chief Executive of SELVis – a part of the Pocklington family – represented France in the women’s B3 singles category in the tournament in Spain earlier this month, placing third. Odette was one of 70 players from 14 countries, including six players from Great Britain, who took part in the tournament. Two Great Britain players, Chris Baily and Brenda Cassell, returned home with trophies also. Chris won the men’s B3 singles and Brenda finished runner-up...

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Next UK Government must commit to no more disability benefits cuts

Thomas Pocklington Trust is urging all Party Leaders to protect disability benefits from further cuts if they get into power. We have partnered with more than 80 charities and organisations in the Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC), which we are a member of, to make our voice even stronger. You can sign our open letter to Party Leaders calling for no more cuts to disability benefits in the next UK Government. Together, we’re standing up for more than 13 million disabled people in the UK, who spend an average of £550 a month on costs related to their impairment or...

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Voting in the General Election

Did you know that about half of the blind or and partially sighted people surveyed after the elections last year felt they could not vote independently or in secret? A Royal National Institute of the Blind survey, Turned Out 2016, found that 50 per cent of the 300 visually impaired people surveyed faced barriers to voting in the local and devolved elections and the referendum on membership of the European Union. But blind and partially sighted voters have the right to be able to vote independently and in secret in all elections including the General Election on 8 June....

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I want to think about my options for a Future Move

I want to think about my options for a future move People decide to move to a new home for different reasons. You might be considering a move out of the family home for the first time; you might need to move to start a new job or a course; to move in with your partner (or out, following the breakdown of a relationship); or you might be looking for somewhere cheaper, more secure, bigger or better located. The main housing options available involve: Renting from a private landlord; Renting from a social or not-for-profit landlord – a local authority, housing association or housing cooperative; Buying (or part-buying) your own home. This section includes: Some general things to think about, especially if it will be your first move to independent living, drawing on the experiences of visually impaired young adults who have already done it; Information about private renting, social renting and (part-) buying a home; Benefits and finances – to work out what you will be able to afford; Further places to go for advice and information. A housing jargon buster – click on the underlined words throughout to be taken to a jargon buster with definitions. If you are (or plan to be) a student, please go to our section on student housing  General considerations before moving It is important to think about what you need from your home....

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CEO Blog May

I’m pleased to announce that an app, developed with the support of TPT is launching today! We have been working with LINK, the UK’s cash machine network, on the development of a new ATM locator app to ensure it is fully accessible for visually impaired people. We provided feedback and tested the GPS-enabled app throughout its development to ensure it will make it easier for blind and partially sighted people to locate ATMs based on their access needs. The app is available in the Apple and Google Play stores and you can find out more information about the app...

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Leading Charity Helps Develop Brand New App Which Enables Visually Impaired People To Locate ATMs

Tuesday 2nd May 2017 Leading sight loss charity Thomas Pocklington Trust (TPT) has been working with LINK on a fully accessible smart phone app which will enable visually impaired people to locate ATMs more easily. LINK, the UK’s cash machine (ATM) network, has launched a GPS-enabled ATM locator app which is designed to help people with visual impairment and other disabilities to easily locate ATMs based on their access needs. TPT was embedded in the app development process with LINK, providing expert feedback to the developers at each stage to ensure the app would be fully accessible. The charity...

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TPT helps develop accessible app which enables visually impaired people to find ATMs

Thomas Pocklington Trust (TPT) has helped develop a fully accessible smart phone app which will enable visually impaired people to locate ATMs more easily. The LINK ATM Locator App has been launched today by LINK, the UK’s largest cash machine network. TPT worked with LINK throughout the development process, providing detailed feedback to the developers at each stage to ensure it would be accessible and meet the needs of blind and partially sighted users. We also organised extensive testing in order to ensure that the app would be fully accessible with VoiceOver and TalkBack screen readers on both iOS and Android...

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Congratulations Louise!

On Sunday, Louise Fairhurst, our Head of Finance Projects, completed the London Marathon! Louise ran to raise money for East London Vision (ELVis), a local sight loss organisation and an important part of the Pocklington Family. Louise completed the marathon in an incredible 04:11:57. We are very proud of her. It’s not too late to donate! If you would like to sponsor Louise please visit: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/LouiseFairhurst You can find out about ELVis and the fantastic services they provide by visiting http://www.eastlondonvision.org.uk/  ...

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CEO Blog April

Yesterday the Government implemented cuts to the Employment and Support Allowance which will see new claimants placed in the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) go without the work-related activity component of £29 per week. This puts these individuals £1,500 worse off a year compared to existing claimants. I am strongly opposed to these significant cuts and believe that it is vital that financial support is available for blind and partially sighted people. As a charity we have responded to these latest cuts and you can read our response here. On a more positive note, it was a pleasure to...

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TPT’s response to cuts to the Employment and Support Allowance

Thomas Pocklington Trust (TPT) remains strongly opposed to the Government’s decision to implement significant cuts to the Employment and Support Allowance. As of 3rd April new claimants placed in the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) will not get the work-related activity component of £29 per week and will consequently  receive up to £1,500 less each year compared to existing claimants, set to save the government around £650 million per year. TPT remains firm in the view that it is fundamental that financial support is available for blind and partially sighted people. Rather than incentivising people to find work, TPT...

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