Welcome to Thomas Pocklington Trust’s website

Author: Zeme Davey Ross

The World of Storytelling: more accessible than ever before

On Storytelling Week 2019, Darren Paskell, Technology Champion from Vital Tech shares some of the ways that storytelling is becoming increasingly accessible for blind and partially sighted people who love to read. My love for stories goes so deep that it’s hard to trace its beginning! The oldest tapes in my collection are full of nursery tales of adventuring young pilots and train drivers. My passion for stories was noticed by my first teachers who often asked me to recite some of my favourites in class. I gladly performed these without a thought, having heard them often enough to have...

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Peter Corbett retiring from his role at TPT

It is announced that Peter Corbett, Chief Executive, Thomas Pocklington Trust, is to take retirement and stand down from his position. Pocklington’s Chair of Trustees, Rodney Powell, said: “The Trustees and I want to thank Peter sincerely for his work with Pocklington. Under his stewardship, Pocklington has contributed significantly to the lives of many visually impaired people and introduced many new initiatives. We are extremely grateful to him and wish him a very happy retirement.” Arrangements for the appointment of Peter’s successor are in hand and we hope to make further announcement regarding these plans...

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London Vision – strengthening service provision for blind and partially sighted people across London

London Vision’s 2019 strategy to strengthen the service provision for blind and partially sighted people across London. 2019 will see London Vision establish itself as the first sight loss organisation dedicated to serving blind and partially sighted people across all of London’s 32 boroughs. London Vision is focused on strengthening the capital’s sight loss community and striving to ensure that blind and partially sighted people living, working and studying in London are able to access equal opportunities. London Vision will work to increase awareness of the issues facing blind and partially sighted people and foster a better networked sight...

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Disability Benefits Consortium write letter to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

The Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC), which represents over 80 disability organisations and which TPT co-chairs, has written to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Amber Rudd MP. They are calling for an orderly transition to Universal Credit (UC) from benefits such as Employment and Support Allowance and Housing Benefit, rather than just stopping existing benefits and leaving people to sort out a UC claim. Geoff Fimister, consultant to TPT and DBC Co-chair, said: “A Minister suggested in Parliament that disability organisations were OK with the “stop-start” approach, so we needed to put the record straight. Claimants need continuity...

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Our response to the NHS Long Term Plan

On Monday, the NHS published its anticipated Long Term Plan. There is much to be welcomed, as well as a note of caution, as we await the outcome of Brexit and the promised Green Paper on Social Care. We welcome the NHS’ ambition to be more joined-up and coordinated in its care. We hear far too often from blind and partially sighted people about the barriers they face when transitioning between primary care, secondary care and social care. Many do not currently receive the support they need when they need it, including vision rehabilitation. This can mean people risk...

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Making the festive season fun for all

The festive season is upon us! As we plan for a host of social gatherings and prepare to spend time with our friends and family over the holidays, it’s the perfect time for playing games. Our accessible technology experts Vital Tech have compiled a list of games designed specifically for blind and partially sighted people, making the perfect gift and promising festive fun for all! More than ever, technology is empowering blind and partially sighted people in social situations, as well as in daily tasks. Vital Tech provides impartial guidance through the world of assistive technology for blind and...

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Researchers investigate how our natural ‘body clock’ could influence short sightedness

TPT are working with eye research charity Fight for Sight to fund research looking to understand how a disrupted ‘natural body clock’ plays a role in the development of short-sightedness (myopia). Researchers from Ulster University will be studying children at low and high risk of developing myopia by taking saliva samples and analysing melatonin levels combined with data about family history, sleep quality and personality type. The information from this research could provide evidence for the promotion of a healthy circadian rhythm to help prevent myopia. While there are many genetic and environmental factors that can influence the development...

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International Volunteer Day at Thomas Pocklington Trust

On International Volunteer Day 2018, we reflect on recent successes with corporate volunteering events, and the fantastic support of all our corporate partners. International Volunteer Day celebrates the power and potential of volunteering. For us, the day is an opportunity to celebrate the efforts of our volunteers and promote volunteering across sight loss organisations. Head of Volunteering, Rachel Wilkinson, said: “In the coming year we aim to expand our volunteering initiatives across the country. Corporate volunteering will be a key part of our volunteering offer. “We want to build on past successes, such as the partnership with the Bank...

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United Nations envoy speaks out on poverty

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty, Philip Alston, has published his highly critical report on poverty in the UK based on his recent visit. His findings focus on the impact of austerity, benefit cuts and problems with Universal Credit. Much of this is relevant to the findings of recent research commissioned by Thomas Pocklington Trust (TPT) from the highly respected Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University. This found that blind and partially sighted people generally struggled to achieve a Minimum Income Standard that would enable them to fully participate in society. This could make...

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Children at the Heart of Funding – the power of one voice

At Thomas Pocklington Trust, we believe that working together to have one clear voice is powerful – which is why we supported the campaign calling on the Government to put Children at the Heart of Funding. We proudly put our name on a letter to the Minister of Education, calling for increased funding for Specialist Educational Needs and Disability (SEND). The evidence that services and support that children rely on are at breaking point is compelling and cannot be ignored. The campaign has won the support of parliamentarians and garnered significant media coverage. That there was no mention of...

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Why I launched Esme’s Umbrella by Judith Potts for Charles Bonnet Patient Day

Three years ago, I launched Esme’s Umbrella at the House of Commons to raise awareness of Charles Bonnet Syndrome (CBS) and to fund research into this distressing condition. Named after my late mother, for whom CBS tormented her final years with multiple hallucinations, Esme’s Umbrella – which is still just me – has moved apace and today I am hosting the world’s first Charles Bonnet Syndrome Patient Day at Moorfields Eye Hospital. CBS has been acknowledged by ophthalmologists and optometrists since Charles Bonnet first documented his grandfather’s experience of vivid, silent, visual hallucinations in 1760, but it has always...

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DWP announce further changes to the managed migration to Universal Credit

Esther McVey, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, yesterday laid out the regulations to roll out Universal Credit (UC) over the next few years to claimants of existing benefits, including extending the period people have to claim from one month to three months. Great concern has been raised by disabled people, disability organisations including Thomas Pocklington Trust, MPs and others about the intention simply to stop existing benefits and give claimants a month to claim UC. The obstacles, including the challenge of people normally having to submit digital claims, raise the real possibility that large numbers of...

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Budget 2018: Little extras and missed opportunities

In this year’s Budget, the Chancellor set out his spending plans for the year ahead. While the Budget goes some way in addressing the issues faced by blind and partially sighted people, Thomas Pocklington Trust remains concerned that more needs to be done. Cuts to social care in recent years have impacted on vision rehabilitation and other services needed to support blind and partially sighted people to live independently. With three quarters of blind and partially sighted people of working age not in work, individuals need to know they can have a roof over their head and food on...

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White Cane Awareness Day 2018: How the humble white cane changed my life by Darren Paskell

I’m Darren and I work in the Technology Services team at Thomas Pocklington Trust. From the perspective of a blind person with a professional interest in the field of technology, I cannot overemphasise the positive impact that using a white cane has brought to my life. At a time when driverless cars, automated recognition apps and a range of accessible navigation solutions are emerging, it really is hard to overlook the importance of perhaps the most revolutionary invention enhancing independent living for the blind and partially sighted people of the twentieth century. A bit more about me – I...

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White Cane Awareness Day: Using a white symbol cane by Barbara Smith

I’m Barbara Smith, I am a representative of the Kingston Visual Impairment Parliament as MP for Independence. We are a group of blind and partially sighted residents who raise awareness of issues for people living with sight loss, and we campaign for a more inclusive community. I use a symbol cane when I go out to the shops or travel on public transport, which includes buses, trains and the London Underground. A symbol cane is a small white cane that a blind or partially sighted person holds to let people around them know that they are partially sighted. It...

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World Sight Day: A day in the life of Martin Sigsworth

I am the senior employment manager at Thomas Pocklington Trust and have been registered blind since I was 11. On World Sight Day, I want to show that with a few minor adaptions, my life is pretty similar to anyone else’s. My day starts at 6:00. Hauling myself out of bed is always a struggle but my partner Charlie and I have a pet greyhound called Jammy and his barking is an alarm you just can’t snooze through – when that pooch wants his food, you’d better make a move! Time is tight in the morning, so Charlie and...

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World Sight Day: Why I love my job by Cathy Low

My name is Cathy Low and my experience of sight loss started in adolescence when I was diagnosed with an incurable, inherited, degenerative eye condition called Stargardt disease which results in central vision loss. I have some peripheral vision but cannot see anything if I look straight ahead. I cannot see detail, read without assistive technology or recognise people even when they are very close to me. Despite this, I have been the CEO of London Vision for the past year. I am probably amongst the minority of people who can genuinely say I love my job. At London...

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World Sight Day: A day in the life of Maxine Plowden

I was diagnosed with the eye condition coloboma at 3 months old, and as a result, I have never known what it is like to have good sight. Coloboma is when part of the eye does not develop properly during pregnancy. It usually affects the iris, lens, or, in my case the retina. A large part of my retina is missing. It is most notable in my right eye because the pupil is small. I have very little vision, but I can see the outlines of objects and people. I have more sight in my left eye and this...

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Thomas Pocklington Trust turns 60

This year we celebrate the 60th anniversary of Thomas Pocklington Trust. Twenty-one years after that fateful day when Thomas Pocklington, Sheffield born jeweller-turned- property developer, was accidentally shot in the eye by his chauffeur, TPT began working to improve lives for blind and partially sighted people. Since then, TPT has undergone many evolutions – from providing care and accommodation for elderly people living with sight loss, to our current aim of improving lives for blind and partially sighted people across the UK. Some of our recent work has focused on influencing the national agenda on important issues. This has...

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