Apply for Funding

The Vision Fund is designed to support innovative projects that are changing lives in our communities. New applications are considered biannually.

About The Vision Fund

The Vision Fund is designed to support organisations delivering services directly to blind and partially sighted people across London, and organisations that are expert in their fields but may not be reaching blind and partially sighted people. We welcome applications that cover all aspects of living, working, studying in or visiting London. We are looking for projects which can demonstrate a track record of success or ideas that need an innovative early funder to give them a chance.

Current deadlines:

Large Grant Stage 1 applications is 20 November 2020 at 5pm

Small Grant applications is 14 December 2020 at 5pm

Our strategic aims

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.

All the grants we make meet at least one of these aims. Applications are also assessed on the strength of the organisation, the quality of the proposal and the likelihood of positive impact.

Priority areas

We have three funding priorities that describe the work we support and how we want to bring about change for London’s blind and partially sighted population.

All the grants we make meet at least one of our priorities and applications are assessed on the quality of the work rather than the number of priority areas they are working towards.

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 excellent

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 blindess

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.

Who can apply

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

  • Registered Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO)
  • Charitable company, limited by guarantee
  • Other UK Registered Charity
  • Community Interest Company (CIC), limited by guarantee
  • Exempt charity (e.g. educational establishment)

We are unfortunately unable to support individuals.

What you can apply for

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

Small grants of up to £10,000 are available for smaller projects and organisations. These are typically awarded for a one-year period.

Large grants of over £10,000 and up to £50,000 are available for larger or longer term projects. These will typically be spent across one to three years.

We aim to be flexible and responsive to the needs of individual organisations, so we are open to funding many types of project. Examples include:

  • Programme or project funding, including associated salary costs
  • Software development
  • Scoping and pilot projects
  • Building or equipment costs
  • Unrestricted funding or core costs (provided the overall activity of the organisation supports our aims)

We will prioritise proposals that:

  • Clearly further one of our strategic aims and demonstrate how they fit within our Theory of Change (see below);
  • Are collaborative and designed in partnership with 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);
  • May be for new, innovative and untested work but that could result in significant positive impact for people living with or are at risk of sight loss;
  • 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 the Vision Foundation in a meaningful and effective way.

Please note that we will only fund work that has not taken place yet.

Grant types

Small Grants (up to £10,000)

We have a one stage application process for Small Grants. Applications are submitted online, via this small grant application form. We recommend that you prepare your answers in advance of completing the form. See this document for a list of Small Grants questions.

The deadline for Small Grant applications is 14 December 2020 at 5pm.

Proposals will be considered by our Grants and Impact Advisory Committee in February 2021 and funding decisions will be made by our Board in March 2021. We aim to share the outcome by the end of that month.

 

 

Large Grants (over £10,000 and up to £50,000)

We have a two-stage application process for Large Grants. Stage 1 applications are submitted online, via this Large grant application form. We recommend that you prepare your answers in advance of completing the form. See this document for a list of Large Grants – Stage 1 questions.

The deadline for Large Grant Stage 1 applications is 20 November 2020 at 5pm.

Successful applicants will be notified during the week commencing 7 December 2020 and invited to submit a Large Grant Stage 2 application by 11 January 2021 at 5pm. Your invitation will include a link to the Large Grant application form and a list of Large Grants – Stage 2 questions can be viewed here.

Proposals will be considered by our Grants and Impact Advisory Committee in February 2021 and funding decisions will be made by our Board in March 2021. We aim to share the outcome by the end of that month.

 

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

Vision Foundation Theory of Change Plain Text 2019

Read the accessible plain text version of our Vision Foundation Theory of Change

Vision Foundation – Theory of Change Narrative2019

Read the full narrative version of our Vision Foundation Theory of Change


What will happen after a grant is awarded?

We intend to inform all applicants of the outcome of their application. If you have not heard from us by 15 April 2021, 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 email grants@visionfoundation.org.uk and include the words “Vision Fund” in your subject line.