Apply for funding – Vision Foundation

Apply for Funding

The Vision Fund is designed to support innovative projects that are changing the lives of visually impaired people in our communities and their families.

THE VISION FUND IS NOW OPEN TO APPLICATIONS

Vision Fund FAQs
A group of blind and partially sighted people white water rafting

THE VISION FUND IS NOW OPEN TO APPLICATIONS

Purpose of the 2022 Vision Fund

The Vision Fund is designed to support projects which empower, inform and include blind and partially sighted people and improve eye health across London. It is available for sight loss organisations and other specialist organisations which wish to reach blind and partially sighted people.

We recognise applying for funding can be challenging, time consuming and stressful. Please get in touch with our team by emailing grants@visionfoundation.org.uk if you have ideas but are not sure if they fit our criteria, or if you would like any help with our application process.

Our grantmaking principles

  • Reflect our vision, values and strategy
  • Be intelligent and evidence-based
  • Be courageous and impact driven
  • Encourage collaboration and be empowering
  • Be meaningful and effective
  • Offer stability but encourage sustainability.

All the grants we make must meet at least one of our strategic aims as outlined below. Applications are assessed on the quality of the work rather than the number of priority areas they are working towards. We have three strategic aims that describe the work we support and how we want to bring about change for London’s blind and partially sighted population:

Our strategic aims

icon of Big Ben1. Opening London up

Everyone living, working or visiting London should have access to the rich cultural, economic and social opportunities of our city. In reality, only a quarter of blind and partially sighted working-age Londoners are working. Alongside poor employment, blind and partially sighted people tell us that they face barriers in taking part in physical activity, navigating city streets and engaging in social activities – many things sighted people take for granted.

To ensure we have the biggest impact, we are interested in projects which:

  • Educate and influence employers
  • Empower individuals through education and building confidence, networks and skills
  • Ensure sports, arts, social and cultural spaces are accessible
  • Improve public transport and public safety
  • Showcase and celebrate excellence

Icon of four hands reaching together2. Empowering those at risk

Within the visually impaired community there are certain groups who can face a “double disadvantage”. When facing sight loss, those from the BAME community, older people, women, those living on a low income and those with other disabilities are at risk of experiencing poorer outcomes. In addition, there are some consequences of sight loss that are not supported well or at all, such as the heightened risk of domestic violence, poverty or poor mental health.

To ensure we have the biggest impact, we are interested in projects which:

  • Identify and advocate with those particularly marginalised.
  • Identify the moments when people face the greatest risk of spiralling outcomes, including bereavement, the point of diagnosis or upon losing a job.
  • Sight loss services focused on at-risk communities.
  • Ensuring that specialist services for the general population are fully accessible and are reaching blind and partially sighted people.

icon of a sight test chart3. Preventing avoidable blindness

200,000 people are living with sight loss in the capital and just under 700,000 (1 in 12 adults) are living with a sight threatening condition. Unless there are bold interventions, these figures are set to increase significantly by 2030. An estimated 50% of sight loss could be prevented if detected and treated in time.

To ensure we have the biggest impact, we are interested in projects which:

  • Raise public awareness about the importance of sight tests, particularly among at-risk communities.
  • Improve access to sight tests including adapted tests and community-based testing.

Priorities for this round

In this funding round, we welcome applications under the following two funding streams:
• Project Fund
• Resilience Fund

Project Fund

Addressing barriers to employment

For this round, we will only accept proposals which address barriers to employment for blind and partially sighted people in London. Through a one-stage online application process, we will support requests for grants of up to £50,000, typically awarded over 24-36 months period.

As part of our Centenary celebrations in 2021, we launched a £1 million appeal to address the shockingly low employment rates for blind and partially sighted people in the UK. We also commissioned research to specifically analyse the main barriers facing blind and partially sighted people in securing and retaining paid work.

In addition to outlining key recommendations for the sector and policy makers, the See My Skills Report has also served to inform our continued focus on addressing barriers to employment for blind and partially sighted people in London, which we see as critical to driving both positive social and economic outcomes for blind and partially sighted people.

We acknowledge that sustainable change requires a long-term approach and support. For this reason, we have maintained our focus on employment for this funding round and will prioritise only proposals which actively address barriers to employment for visually impaired community.

We are keen to fund projects which work directly in response to the dire statistics which tell us that:

• 73% of blind and partially sighted people of working age are currently unemployed
• 90% of employers state that it would be “difficult” or “impossible” to employ a visually impaired person
• Unemployment contributes to the cost of sight loss each year in the UK. This is estimated to be £28 billion, more than heart disease, cancer and stroke combined.

Proposed projects could address one of the following targets:

• Raise career aspirations and self-confidence during school years and young adulthood (up to 25 years)
• Support individuals at risk of unemployment as early as possible
• Support working-age people to move into, or closer to, employment
• Support individuals in work to retain and progress in their jobs
• Support those at greatest risk of unemployment
• Increase the inclusion appetite and know-how of employers and recruitment specialists
• Increase the number and range of jobs and routes into employment, including work experience, mentoring and apprenticeships
• Increase advice, mentoring and peer support for older job seekers (26 years+)
• Improve public awareness of what people can do to address barriers to employment
• Influence policy makers to remove systemic barriers to employment

Only projects supporting blind and partially sighted people in London (within the M25) are eligible for funding.

We aim to be flexible and responsive to the needs of individual organisations, so we are open to funding a diverse range of projects including:

• Programme or project funding, including contributions to associated salary costs (cost recovery)
• Development costs for assistive technology
• Scoping and pilot projects
• Contributions to building or equipment costs

In addition to the key areas outlined above, we will give higher weighting to proposals which:

• Demonstrate how they fit within our Theory of Change (see below), and specifically target areas outlined above
• Clearly show that the approach was designed in meaningful partnership with, or led by, blind and partially sighted people
• Are for services that have been proven to be effective, are valued by their users or can demonstrate evidence for demand (if a new service)
• Are for new, innovative and untested work but that could result in significant positive. We are happy to support an unproven idea – we recognise that we need to take risks together to achieve change!
• Embrace learning and the sharing of these learnings
• Can demonstrate how the work will become self-sustaining or funded beyond the life of our grant (if applicable)
• Would benefit from a grant from Vision Foundation in a meaningful and effective way and could serve to leverage further funding.

Please visit 360Giving GrantNav for more information on the types of projects we have previously funded.

Deadline for submission – Monday 11 July 2022. Successful applicants will be notified at the end of September.

Application form for Project Fund – Word version

A blue button with the words Project Fund Apply Now in white letters

 

 

 

Resilience Fund

The Resilience Fund is primarily open to charities whose main purpose is in support of those living with or at risk of sight loss. If for the continuation of a project, this project must be in support of those living with or at risk of sight loss. In our previous round this year, we trialled a new stream offering unrestricted funding to sight loss organisations based and working in London. We have been encouraged by the positive feedback on the value of this funding to the sector, and so will be continuing this stream for this round.

The Resilience Fund recognises that the sector is slowly recovering from the impact of the protracted pandemic and ongoing economic crisis. It is a demonstration of our commitment to support a more resilient sight loss sector.

This funding of up to £10,000 can be used for up to 12-24 months, covering for example running costs including contributions to rent, salaries or strengthening operational systems and processes.

The Resilience Fund can also cover project activities which serve to address barriers faced by blind and partially sighted people as outlined in our three strategic aims. For our funded partners, this could mean the continuation of previously funded projects or contributions towards its expansion.

The Resilience Fund is primarily open to charities whose main purpose is in support of those living with or at risk of sight loss. If for the continuation of a project, this project must be in support of those living with or at risk of sight loss.

We are especially keen to support organisations which we have funded within the last three years. Organisations who applied for this fund and/or were successful in the previous funding round can still apply for a further grant.

Please contact us at grants@visionfoundation.org.uk if you wish to apply and have any questions about the criteria.

Deadline for submission – Monday 11 July 2022. Successful applicants will be notified at the end of September.

Application form for Resilience Fund – Word version

A blue button with Resilience Fund - Apply Now written in white letters

Who can apply

The Vision Fund supports organisations that are providing services in London. The following types of organisations are eligible:

  • UK Registered Charities
  • Registered Charitable Incorporated Organisations (CIO)
  • Charitable companies, limited by guarantee
  • Community Interest Companies (CIC), limited by guarantee
  • Exempt charities (e.g. educational establishment)

We can only fund registered organisations as above and are unable to support individuals.

Theory of Change

We have a Theory of Change that sets out the change we want to see in society and the methods we will take to achieve this. The diagram and narrative documents below lay out our approach. We are interested in how your project achieves the outcomes outlined in our Theory of Change. Please familiarise yourself with this before completing your application.

Download our Theory of Change diagram

Read the accessible plain text version of our Vision Foundation Theory of Change: Vision Foundation Theory of Change Plain Text 2019

Read the full narrative version of our Vision Foundation Theory of Change: Vision Foundation – Theory of Change Narrative 2019


What will happen after a grant is awarded?

Successful applicants will be notified by the end of September 2022. If you have not heard from us by the end of October 2022, please contact grants@visionfoundation.org.uk.

Successful applicants will be asked to agree to our Grant Terms and Conditions. These include regular reporting about the progress of your project, the reach of your work and the impact you are making. We hope that you will work with us to share news of your work and success stories.

Contact us

If you have questions about applying to the Vision Fund, please see our FAQs or email grants@visionfoundation.org.uk and include the words “Vision Fund” in your subject line