TPT awards half a million pounds in emergency funding Projects from Fight Against Blindness, Wirral Society of the Blind and Partially Sighted and ABA Leeds are among the 55 applications approved by Thomas Pocklington Trust (TPT) from its COVID-19 Emergency Fund. TPT suspended its normal grant funding activities to set up the emergency fund at the end of March and has now awarded £500,000 to 55 sight loss organisations across the UK to aid support during the current Covid-19 pandemic. 105 applications were submitted to the Emergency Fund to support either general running costs for organisations affected by the crisis or to fund a specific project that will help blind and partially sighted people throughout this period. Charles Colquhoun, CEO at Thomas Pocklington Trust (TPT), said: “We are delighted TPT has been able to support a wide range of sight loss organisations during this unsettling time. This funding is absolutely crucial for many organisations working across the UK to be able to continue to provide critical services for the physical and emotional wellbeing of blind and partially sighted people”. Charles added: “The fund was specifically set up to help those organisations which are directly supporting people in the communities”. The Emergency Fund was designed by TPT, and managed in conjunction with partner organisations London Vision and Visionary, to reach as many blind and partially sighted people as possible, which is why the amount of funding organisations could apply for was capped at £10,000. Most of the 55 organisations have been funded simply to enable them to continue operating and provide critical services but also new projects were put forward and approved. These include: British Blind Sport based in Coventry will provide a range of audio guided physical activities from gentle meditation and stretching exercises to cardio and dance workouts for all ability levels to do at home. Fight Against Blindness based in Oxford will move its face to face service to telephone and video appointments to ensure the vital clinical psychology service for visually impaired children and their families can continue. Listening Books will provide free access to audio books to blind and partially sighted people to guard against social isolation, loneliness and anxiety. Alstrom Syndrome UK will increase its services for families by offering regular phone calls, weekly virtual community get-togethers via webinars which can be accessed online or over the phone on a range of topics such as Q&A's with Clinicians. Wirral Society of the Blind and Partially Sighted will offer distanced support, such as daily news and blogs through its Facebook page, encouraging people to maintain involvement with online discussions and interest groups including an art appreciation group. ABA Leeds will deliver food parcels to some of its service users who are living alone, and often face multiple accessibility issues through limited language proficiency, reliance on benefits and inability to access the internet. Bury Society for Blind & Partially Sighted People will provide training and personal protective equipment to guides to support people to access shopping, and essential appointments. It plans to expand its Phone Friends service by recruiting and training more volunteers to support people feeling anxious and isolated. Visionary, which was awarded funding from TPT earlier this year, will continue to provide support to local organisations including those that were unsuccessful in their applications. You can find a full list of the sight loss charities that have been awarded funding on the Emergency Fund webpage ENDS For further information or images please contact: Penny Wilkinson, Thomas Pocklington Trust, [email protected] 07974 578 637. Editors’ Notes About Thomas Pocklington Trust Thomas Pocklington Trust is a national charity dedicated to enabling and empowering blind and partially sighted people of all ages to live the life they want to lead. We are committed to increasing awareness and understanding of their needs and aspirations, to working with partners and to developing and implementing services which meet these needs to increase independence and improve lives. These include: Acting as an advocate and positive change agent for blind and partially sighted people. Creating opportunities for blind and partially sighted people seeking employment. Enabling opportunities and supporting blind and partially sighted people whilst in and entering education. Facilitating the voice and encouraging self-determination of blind and partially sighted people. Being an effective partner and grant funder based on our knowledge of the sector.