Author: Zeme Davey Ross

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, CEO at London Vision

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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