Welcome to Thomas Pocklington Trust’s website

Author: Sarah Anderson


New report makes recommendations on the future of collaboration in the eye health and sight loss sectors

THE UK Vision Strategy has published a report to help inform future collaborative work in the eye health and sight loss sectors. The Shaping the Future Report is the result of a six-month evaluation and consultation project, commissioned by the Vision Strategy Leadership Group, which more than 750 people participated in through interviews, surveys and engagement events in all four countries in the UK. The report includes views on the progress made towards the UK Vision Strategy outcomes 2013-2018, the key challenges and successes of the strategy specific to each country, and recommendations, which were co-produced with people who are blind or partially...

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Petition calls for disability equality training for all taxi and minicab drivers

GUIDE Dogs has launched a petition calling on the UK Government to make disability equality training a requirement for all taxi and minicab drivers. It comes after Guide Dogs research, released in November, found that 42 per cent of assistance dog owners who took part in the survey were unlawfully turned away by a taxi or minicab in the last year because of their guide dog. By comparison, only three per cent of people who took part in a YouGov opinion poll had been turned away. The Guide Dogs research also revealed that 38 per cent of guide dog and...

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Free dance classes to improve health and fitness

PEOPLE can improve their health and fitness and enjoy the freedom of movement at free dance and exercise classes. Illuminate Freedom, in partnership with Better and State of Emergency, is running free taster Blind Zumba, Intro to Contemporary Dance and Blind Street Dance classes for people with sight loss on January 18 and 19. If you would like to improve your health and fitness, balance and coordination, or posture and flexibility, or if you just want to meet new people and experience the joy and freedom of movement you can book your place at the free taster classes. The...

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General Optical Council to help reduce barriers to community based eye care services

THE UK regulator for opticians has committed to working with the optical sector to reduce the barriers to community based eye care services to increase them. Research released by the General Optical Council (GOC), the regulator, shows that the vast majority of optometrists and dispensing opticians are keen to provide more eye care services in the community, and that 97 per cent of patients report high levels of satisfaction in the care provided by their optician. But the research also reveals a number of barriers that must be overcome before the shift to community based health care can take...

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Free swimming sessions for people in South East London

THOSE people trying to start the New Year on a health kick can dive in head first with free swimming sessions for visually impaired people living in South East London. South East London Vision (SELVis), in partnership with Metro Blind Sport, GLL and Greenwich Association of Disabled People – ‘Into Sport Project’, are offering six free swimming sessions to people living with sight loss in South East London Participants will be coached by a level 2 swimming coach, who has previous experience of working with VI people, in the 45-minute weekly sessions running from Tuesday, January 17. There will also be an additional lane for people who want to swim for fun or exercise. The swimming sessions will be held at The Greenwich Centre, 12 Lambarde Square, London SE10 HB, from 12-1.30pm every Tuesday from January 17 to February 28, with no session on February 14. If you need advice or help with purchasing swim wear please do not hesitate to get in touch. For more information, phone Hassan Khan at SELVis on 020 3815 3660 or 07811 808 145, or email him at...

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Birmingham group to star in their own play on stage

BIRMINGHAM Vision is working with a performing arts company for visually impaired people to produce a play with people living with sight loss from across Birmingham. Birmingham Vision is working on the exciting project with Extant, a performing arts company run by, and for, visually impaired people, to give people an opportunity to take to the stage. The group of participants, who have never met before, will start to develop their storyline this month and will work towards performing it at the Midlands Arts Centre in Birmingham on May 24. Jodie Stus, Participation Programme Manager at Extant, said it was an exciting...

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CEO Blog January

I want to start by wishing you all a very Happy New Year! I hope you had an enjoyable and safe festive season, and are ready for 2017. I certainly am ready to tackle the New Year and for all of the exciting events and developments that will take place. The first big development of the year will take place when the UK Vision Strategy evaluation report is published this month. We are already working in partnership with the UK Vision Strategy, VISION 2020 UK and the England Vision Strategy on a collaborative sector response to the evaluation. This...

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Ten people to get bionic eyes funded by NHS

TEN people with an inherited form of blindness will be fitted with bionic eyes paid for by the NHS. NHS England is funding further testing of the Argus II, also known as the bionic eye. The bionic eye, developed by American company Second Sight Medical Products, is a retinal implant which interprets images captured by a miniature video camera worn on a pair of glasses. Five patients will undergo the surgery to tackle Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) at Moorfields Eye Hospital, and five at Manchester Eye Hospital from 2017. They will be monitored for a year afterwards to see how the...

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TPT is supporting Local Charities Day

THE spotlight will be on small charities on Local Charities Day this month. For the first time, the UK Government is holding Local Charities Day on Friday, December 16 to celebrate small, local charities and community groups like our local sight loss charities. It will put small charities in the spotlight, helping them thrive and show the incredible work they do in their areas. Minister for Civil Society Rob Wilson commented: “On Local Charities Day, I want us all to shout from the rooftops about small local charities, their energy, commitment, expertise and the benefits they bring to their...

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Birmingham Sight Loss Council receive bespoke Parliament tour

On Friday 9th December, the Birmingham Sight Loss Council visited the Houses of Parliament for a tactile tour of Parliament. The fully guided tour of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords is designed specifically for those with sight loss. It grants those taking part unique, fun and interactive access to Parliament, including exploring models of the historic parliamentary estate before being taken on a tour of both chambers. The group from Birmingham Sight Loss Council were allowed to touch the interior design, and statues, and were able to sit in the Speaker’s Chair. Parliamentary tours...

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Researchers discover a drug treatment to override blinding disorder

RESEARCHERS have found a drug treatment that can override a genetic fault that causes a severe blinding disorder. Researchers, with funding from Fight for Sight, have shown that a new drug treatment, Ataluren, for cystic fibrosis and Duchenne muscular dystrophy can override a genetic fault that causes choroideremia. Choroideremia is a rare inherited dystrophy caused by any number of faults in the gene (CHM gene) which encodes instructions for making an enzyme (REP1) which is important for cells throughout the body to process protein correctly, but is particularly active in the retina. About 1 in 3 of these faults...

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East London Vision service users climb to new heights

VISUALLY impaired people in East London put themselves to the test when they took part in a rock climbing session. East London Vision (ELVis), in partnership with Metro Blind Sport, ran a rock climbing taster session for ELVis service users and others at The Castle Climbing Centre in Hackney. ELVis Service Development and Delivery Project Coordinator Nicola Stokes said it was a very successful trip with many people being able to reach the top of the walls they climbed, and everyone having a brilliant time. “It’s been great to see the enthusiasm that everyone has shown; they’ve all done themselves proud,” Nicola...

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Research funding boost for Moorfields Eye Hospital

MOORFIELDS Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has received a funding boost for its vital eye research. Moorfields NIHR Clinical Research Facility will receive £5.3 million over five years, starting from April 2017, from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). Professor Sir Peng Tee Khaw, Director of Research and Development at Moorfields Eye Hospital and Director of the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre, said the hospital was delighted to once again have been awarded NIHR Clinical Research Facility funding. “This substantial investment in eye research will enable us to continue to fast track innovative research for the benefit of our...

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TPT Responds to the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement

On Wednesday, November 23, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, delivered the Autumn Statement to MPs, updating them on the Treasury’s plans for the economy. One of the Chancellor’s most important economic statements of the year, this year’s Autumn Statement forecasts that government finances will be £122 billion worse off in the period until 2021 than the forecast in the March budget, with consequences for people with sight loss. Read on for Thomas Pocklington Trust’s official response to the Statement: “The Chancellor’s focus on the UK’s strong economy without the inclusion of measures to protect some of society’s most vulnerable is disappointing. The government’s...

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Thomas Pocklington Trust and Metro Blind Sport strengthening partnership

Thomas Pocklington Trust (TPT) and Metro Blind Sport (Metro) are pleased to announce that the partnership between the two organisations is being strengthened. TPT, a leading sight loss charity, and Metro have built a successful partnership over the last five years. This will be strengthened from January, 2017 when TPT will directly employ the four Metro staff members. This will allow Metro to focus even more resources on blind sports and recreational activities, including buying sports equipment and more money to run events and hire venues. TPT Chief Executive Peter Corbett commented: “The partnership between Metro and TPT will...

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Drivers urged to get eyes tested during Road Safety Week

DRIVERS are being urged to have their eyes tested as part of Road Safety Week this week. With about 2900 road casualties caused by poor vision every year, the Optical Confederation (OC) has joined forces with the charity Brake to raise awareness of the impact poor vision can have on driving as part of Road Safety Week (November 21-27). The theme of this year’s Road Safety Week, the UK’s biggest annual road safety event, is ‘Make the Brake Pledge’. It focuses on six simple elements to make our roads safe – with sharp vision as one of the vital...

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Corporate volunteering day with Standard Chartered Bank

VOLUNTEERS have taken a group of Thomas Pocklington Trust service users to the Royal Mews. A group of volunteers from Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) partnered with Thomas Pocklington Trust (TPT) to hold the volunteering day last week. Six volunteers from SCB undertook a two-hour information and training session to learn how to support people with sight loss appropriately and safely. The volunteers then put the skills they had learnt into practice by supporting TPT service users on a trip to the Royal Mews where everyone enjoyed seeing horses in the stables, the royal carriages and even trying on some costumes....

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England Vision Strategy National Conference registrations open

Registrations have opened for the 2017 England Vision Strategy (EVS) National Conference. The second EVS national conference will be held at BMA House in London on January 26. The conference will discuss key issues relating to eye health and sight loss, as well as present the findings of the UK Vision Strategy evaluation. It will also look at the future of the EVS and how it will align with the outcomes of the UKVS evaluation in order to develop and build on the successes and lessons learnt from the past two years. There will be a number of expert...

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Fight for Sight and TPT form new partnership to fund vision research

Brain disorders that affect behaviour, movement and mental health often cause visual impairment, but this disability is frequently overlooked. Leading UK eye research and sight loss charities Fight for Sight and Thomas Pocklington Trust are partnering to fund new neuro-ophthalmology research to help improve diagnosis. Eyes are sensors that detect light and turn it into an electrical signal that is sent via the optic nerve to the brain. The brain interprets the signals to produce what we see. We also know that the retina, the nerve layer at the back of the eye, does quite a bit of processing...

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Hundreds of people helped by East London Vision technology service

A TECHNOLOGY training service provided by East London Vision (ELVis) has helped more than 200 people in its first year. ELVis’ Access Technology Advice and Training Service, which was started in October, 2015, provides vision impaired people with technology support including basic demonstrations of access technology, one-to-one and group training, and help setting up email and social media accounts. It also works with organisations to make their information technology accessible to vision impaired people. The service has provided more than 50 home visits to help people with issues from mobile phone queries to upgrading to their computers to Windows 10...

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New Apple website showcases people using accessibility features

APPLE has launched a new accessibility website to help people use the accessibility features in its products. But the website doesn’t just tell you what accessibility features Apple products have. It shows you how people with disabilities, including visual impairment, use the accessibility features. The homepage of the website features short videos of people using the assistive technology, including one video of a visually impaired person using the VoiceOver feature on an iPhone, which can describe what’s on your screen, while he takes a photo. The rest of the website delves more deeply into what’s in each product. The...

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Royal Eye Unit Support Service to be run by Kingston Hospital NHS Trust

Leading sight loss charity, Thomas Pocklington Trust (TPT), has announced that from today the Eye Unit Support Service will be run by Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. Since its formation in late 2014, the volunteer-led Eye Unit Support Service in the Royal Eye Unit at Kingston Hospital has provided emotional and practical support to those newly diagnosed with visual impairment or receiving treatment for their eye condition. This support is essential during a time many can find confusing, daunting and isolating. Twenty-eight volunteers have provided invaluable support to in excess of 5000 patients in the two years since the...

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CEO Blog November

The end of October was a busy time full of networking, collaborating, learning and sharing knowledge across the eye health and sight loss sector. I attended two events in Birmingham focussing on the delivery of the Seeing It My Way outcomes in the region and across the country. The West Midlands event was attended by a great variety of organisations with representatives from across the sector and I was pleased to see the momentum that has already been built up and the huge enthusiasm to work together to make things better. This year’s Visionary Conference saw the highest ever...

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Metro Blind Sport is in the running to win a grant

METRO Blind Sport is in the running to win a grant to help fund the 2017 Metro Athletics Open. People can vote for Metro Blind Sport to win a grant in the Aviva Community Fund. If the London-based charity, which is dedicated to giving people living with a vision impairment access to sport, wins it will use the money to help fund the 2017 Metro Athletics Open, an annual event open to blind and partially sighted people of any age and ability living in the UK. The event, which has been running for 40 years, gives competitors an opportunity to take...

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Local sight loss charities celebrated at the Visionary Awards

LOCAL sight loss charities have been celebrated at the 2016 Visionary Awards dinner. The winners of the 7th annual Visionary Awards were announced at an awards dinner held last week as part of the 2016 Visionary Conference – Sharing success, making a difference. Wiltshire Sight, Henshaws, HERIB, Vista and Berkshire Vision received accolades among a strong shortlist of charities. The awards aim to recognise and celebrate excellence in the leadership and management of local sight loss charities, and in the quality of service offered. The awards winners are: Best example of partnerships in practice – Wiltshire Sight Best example...

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Pocklington and Visionary Launch New Internship Programme For People With Sight Loss

Thomas Pocklington Trust, in partnership with Visionary and Blind in Business, is supporting an exciting new internship programme that can benefit both visually impaired working age people and local sight loss organisations. Over the next year, Thomas Pocklington Trust will be funding the placement of five internships for visually impaired people into member organisations across the UK. These internships will be between three to six months in length, with the opportunity to make the roles part time or full time depending on member and employee requirements. The interns will be on secondment from Thomas Pocklington Trust, with Pocklington picking up the cost of payroll at the London living wage of £9.40/hour. This wage is applicable to interns placed in any area of the UK. In addition to five internships, we will also be supporting five workplace shadowing opportunities for visually impaired people in sight loss organisations across the UK over the next year. Shadowing will take place over two weeks and the travel expenses for those undertaking the shadowing will be reimbursed by Thomas Pocklington Trust. As well as providing new employment opportunities for people with sight loss, we hope that this experience will be of great benefit to sight loss organisations too. For organisations who have not had any prior experience of supporting a visually impaired employee, Visionary staff will be on hand to guide organisations through the...

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The Power of Social Media When You Have a Disability

Guest blog by Emily Davison – author of the blog Fashioneyesta. Social media, it seems to be taking over the world these days. It dominates many news stories and it’s a key way that people find out news on current affairs, their favoured celebrities and share news on their own lives. With there being so many apps created to allow people to network and share their lives with the world, some may ask ‘why?’ and ‘what’s the point of it all?’ Allow me to introduce myself; my name is Emily Davison, although in the cyber world I’m more commonly...

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Spotlight on preventable blindness on World Sight Day

FOUR in five blind people are needlessly blind. Today (October 13), on World Sight Day, there is a spotlight on preventable blindness and visual impairment. World Sight Day is an annual international day of awareness held by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) on the second Thursday of October to focus attention on the global issue of avoidable blindness and visual impairment. About 285 million people worldwide live with low vision and blindness. Of these 29 million people are blind and 246 million have moderate or severe visual impairment. But 80 per cent of visual impairment...

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Shaping the future of the UK Vision Strategy

PEOPLE with sight loss can have their say on the future direction of the UK Vision Strategy. The UK Vision Strategy encourages health, public and third sector professionals to work together to deliver improved eye health, better treatment and support to people with sight loss, and a society which fully includes blind and partially sighted people. The Shaping the Future of the UK Vision Strategy project is a six-month evaluation and consultation project to inform the future development and delivery of the UK Vision Strategy. The project aims to ensure that the UK Vision Strategy delivers maximum positive impact...

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