Financial support – grants
Having a child who is visually impaired can greatly increase your household expenditure. Here are a number of organisations who can help with these additional costs.
VICTA supports children and young people who are blind or partially sighted by providing equipment to aid their visual impairment. We provide grants for a range of equipment including laptops, iPads and braillers, as well as items such as tandem bicycles.
Family Fund is the UK’s largest charity providing grants for families raising disabled or seriously ill children and young people aged 17 or under. They provide grants for items such as furniture, clothing, bedding, kitchen appliances, sensory toys, computers or tablets, a family break or maybe something to help with college. You can find out more and apply for a grant on their website.
Your local charity
There are a number of independent local societies for blind and partially sighted people around the country. Some may offer grants to purchase equipment, or they may loan equipment to help you in your daily life. To find out more about your local society, call the RNIB Helpline on 0303 123 9999 or visit the Visionary website.
It is also worthwhile contacting your local Rotary, Round Table or Lions Club to see if they will consider helping you. Your local library will have a list of clubs and names of contacts.
You can also check the following website to see if any of the charities listed can help, click on “Find a charity”: https://www.charitychoice.co.uk.
Your local authority
We recommend that you always try your local Social Services department. Whether you are registered with them or not, they may be able to give you help with:
- fees for residential and nursing homes
- telephone installation and rental
- equipment to help you in your daily life
- adaptations to the home
Your local authority should also have a hardship scheme to help people on low incomes afford everyday household items. You should contact them directly to find out their qualifying criteria and how much money is available, since it varies between local authorities. You can use the Children’s Society online directory of available local authority funding to check your local area.
Your local Education Authority may also give help with equipment and transport for educational needs.
The RNIB can provide grants up to £500 to help registered visually impaired people purchase useful technology that can help them live independently. There are several restrictions, you can find out the full details on the grants page on their website.
Guide Dogs provide grants towards Assistive Technology such as laptops, computers, Braille devices and multi-sensory equipment.
Independence at Home
Independence at Home is a charity that provides grants to people of all ages who have a disability or long term illness and who are in financial need. All applications must be submitted on behalf of the individual by professional supporters. They provide grants for items such as laptops, tablets, etc. and items which help to improve communication.
The Snowdon Trust provides grants to physically disabled and sensory impaired students studying in the UK in further or higher education or those training towards employment.
Student Health Association
Grants of up to £500 are made to full-time (or nearly full-time) higher education students. Students can apply for assistance in purchasing education aids such as specialist computer equipment, extra travel costs or other aids.
Gardner’s Trust for the Blind
The Trust provides grants towards education, training and social welfare to people who are registered blind or partially sighted in the UK. The maximum amount that The Trust can award is £600.
To apply, call or write to Miss Angela Stewart on the following details:
117 Charterhouse Street, London, EC1M 6AA
Phone: 020 7253 3757
The Honeywood Trust
The Honeywood Trust provides grants for computers, information technology and communication technology to disabled people to promote their education independence and well-being. For more information, or to apply, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01590682843.
BlindAid (London only)
Provides grants to help blind and partially sighted people on low incomes maintain independence and reduce isolation (subject to criteria and typically up to £300).
BlindAid considers grants for equipment and gadgets: including talking clocks, phones, colour detectors, talking microwaves, computer equipment and domestic items. Applications can be made on their website.
Family Action (Holidays for families in London)
Provides recuperative holidays for women and their children (if any) who live in greater London. The maximum grant is £600 for each family. Family Action base the awarded amount on the amount you request, your circumstances and the number of children included in the application. Applications need to be submitted via the website by a professional.