For those registered blind, regardless of whether this is a recent disability or a lifelong condition, there are many challenges to overcome. These hurdles can be difficult to cross at the best of times, but especially so for people with little in the way of financial support. Many blind people have to rely on the support of others, both loved ones and official organisations, if they’re to have any form of independence. Luckily, there are grants in place to make life easier and give people the best chance to succeed.
Where to Find Grants
Grants for blind people come from a variety of places, including public organisations like the government, and private not-for-profit organisations. The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) is one of the most recognised charities for the blind, but there are many others across the UK that could offer help. Meanwhile, disability grants and free travel passes from the government can help people get the support they need to gain much needed freedom.
The RNIB offers a variety of grants, all with the aim of providing a way to live an ordinary life. If you’re registered partially sighted or blind you could apply for one of these to help pay for equipment and technology that could give you independence.
To be eligible for funding, you need to fit the royal blind society’s qualifiers, which include:
- Being a UK resident
- Being registered as blind, severely sight impaired or partially sight impaired with your local authority
- Having savings under the value of £6,000
- Having been refused funding from your local authority
- Having not received a grant for the past three years
- Being in receipt of a benefit that’s means-tested. These included Income Support, Council Tax Support, Pension Credit, Income-related Job Seeker’s Allowance, Universal Credit, Housing Benefit and Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
What the RNIB Offer
The RNIB are extremely strict in what they’ll pay for, with grant money solely for the use to buy specific equipment. The following list outlines the technology grant money can be used for.
- Magnification software and computer accessibility software to the cost of £500
- Computer dictation software to the cost of £80
- Portable and TV video magnifiers to the cost of £400
- Dictaphones and voice recorders to the cost of £70
- Talking phones and accessible smartphones to the cost of £350
- Talking radios, watches and clocks to the cost of £60
- Talking and big button landline telephones to the cost of £100
In addition, the RNIB can only provide funding of £500 per individual, so you will have to make up any extra cash required by other means.
Other Blindness Charities
Aside from the RNIB, there are many other charities able to help. These organisations are often a lot smaller and cater to specific needs, but they’re a good starting point if you’re in desperate need of money.
- Blind Children UK
If you or your loved one is under 25, you could apply for funding from Blind Children UK. This charity gives grants to help kids achieve recreational and educational goals, though any equipment supplied is for home use. Applicants should also be in part time or full time education.
- Royal Blind Society
The Royal Blind Society supports families with children under the age of 25, and aims to give youngsters confidence beyond any sight impairments. The organisation doesn’t actually offer grants, but the Family Support Service workers can help families find funding sources and other help.
- Gardners Trust for the Blind
If you’re looking for one-off financial assistance, the Gardeners Trust for the Blind could help. Money is provided for household items, training and education, and the charity even offers grants to bolster pension plans. You can apply by writing to the trust at The Gardners Trust for the Blind, 117 Charterhouse Street, London, EC1M 6AA and should include a sight impairment certification from a third party.
- The Vision Charity
Finally, the Vision Charity works with associations, groups and charities to help the visually impaired and blind communities. Fundraising pays for specialist services, goods and equipment. If you’re looking to raise cash for a group project or event, it’s worthwhile contacting the organisation.
The government has various funding options for blind people, from the Disabled Facilities Grants, to free bus travel. The Disabled Facilities Grants allows you to apply for up to £36,000 which can be used to modify your home to suit your disability. If you need sight impairment aids, such as talking kitchen appliances, this grant could be ideal. You will need to contact your local authority and have an occupational therapist assess your needs, giving you the groundwork to put in an application.
Meanwhile, the government also provides a number of free travel services if you’re blind, including a free bus pass, and London’s Freedom Pass. There is also an Access to Work grant which could provide the financial means to find and stay in employment.
There is a vast amount of help on offer if you’re blind and need support. Depending on your circumstances, and the intent of your grant, both government funding and charitable help could be the perfect answer to a problem.