There are various grants you can apply for. They will each specify the eligibility criteria and what the grant can go towards.
The RNIB offers grants to registered blind or partially sighted people for useful technology that can help them live independently.
The Gardners Trust for the Blind provides financial assistance to registered blind and partially sighted individuals in the UK.
It awards one-off grants towards education, training and household items.
The Trust may also provide grants towards a pension.
Individuals should apply directly to the Trust in writing, enclosing confirmation of their disability from a third party.
The Gardners Trust for the Blind
117 Charterhouse Street
Tel: 020 7253 3757
BlindAid offer grants to help blind and partially sighted people to maintain independence and reduce isolation (subject to criteria and typically up to £300).
Grant applications should be made on behalf of the recipient by Social Services, Sensory Teams or other charities. All applications will be considered by the grant committee.
The following are some examples of how grants have been used:
- Equipment and gadgets including talking clocks, big button phones, colour detectors, talking mobile phones, talking microwaves
- Contribution towards computer equipment
- Domestic items
102 Bermondsey Street
Tel: 020 7403 6184
Email: [email protected]
The Amber Trust
The Amber Trust funds music awards to visually impaired children aged up to 18 years. The Awards can pay for music lessons, music therapy, musical instruments, specialist music software, concert tickets and travel to musical events. Parents and carers are able to make direct applications by downloading an application form. Award applications are considered three times a year in mid March, mid July and mid November. Deadlines for consideration at these meetings are end of February, end of June and end of October.
There are a number of independent local societies for blind and partially sighted people around the country and they may offer the loan of, or grants for, equipment to help you in your daily life.
To find out more about your local society, call the RNIB Helpline on 0303 123 9999
In addition, you can approach local clubs / societies such as the Masons, Rotary Club or Lion’s Club that may be able to provide some funding towards specialist equipment.
The Card enables a disabled cinema guest to receive a complimentary ticket for someone to go with them when they visit a participating cinema.
People who receive one of the following benefits are eligible for the CEA Card:
- Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
- Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
- Attendance Allowance (AA)
- Blind Persons Registration
Cardholders must be eight years of age or older.
Eligibility criteria may be updated from time to time.
Victa provides funding for visually impaired children and young people (up to 29 years) for assistive technology.
It has the following age restrictions:
- Computers / software for children over 8 years
- iPads only for children over 11 years
- Braille note takers for children over 11 years
Victa also provides funding to other charities and organisations such as specialist schools and colleges.
The Family Fund aims to help families caring for a severely disabled person under the age of 18. It can provide funding to assist with things such as cost of holidays, household equipment, furniture, transport expenses or even driving lessons for a carer.
Tel: 08449 744 099
Guide Dogs for the Blind Association
Grant applications will be considered for technology or sensory items, where no source of statutory funding will pay for the item required.
Independence at Home
Independence at Home provide grants to people who have a long-term illness or disability, and who need help towards the cost of adaptations, equipment or other things to help manage at home and which are not available from public funds.
4th Floor, Congress House
14 Lyon Road
Tel: 020 8427 7929
Email: [email protected]
How to apply: you will need to find someone to refer you to Independence at Home. The most usual referrers are social workers, occupational therapists, specialist nurses, health workers or key workers from other major charities.
The Florence Nightingale Trust
The trust considers applications from people of all ages, who are in poor health or disabled and require medical items or services to improve their quality of life.
Florence Nightingale Aid in Sickness Trust
6 Avonmore Road
Tel: 020 7605 4244
Email: [email protected]
How to apply: someone with a medical background, a social worker, occupational therapist, Citizens Advice Bureau or other charity worker must apply on your behalf. They can download an application form from the Florence Nightingale Aid in Sickness Trust website.
Your Local Authority
Even if you are not registered with your local Social Services department, they may be able to give you help with:
- 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.
The Children’s Society has an online directory of available local authority funding here:
Your local Education Authority may also give help with equipment and transport for educational needs.
There are various benefits you and your family may be entitled to if you are visually impaired. Each benefit will specify its own criteria:
Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
If you are the parent or guardian of a blind or partially sighted child under 16 then you could be entitled to claim Disability Living Allowance (DLA) on their behalf. DLA is a benefit aimed at helping you meet the extra costs of a disability.
As a carer, you may be entitled to Carer’s Allowance.
To be eligible, the person you care for must already get one of these benefits:
- Personal Independence Payment – daily living component
- Disability Living Allowance – the middle or highest care rate
- Attendance Allowance
In addition, you might be able to get Carer’s Allowance if all of the following apply:
- you’re 16 or over
- you spend at least 35 hours a week caring for someone
- you’ve been in England, Scotland or Wales for at least 2 of the last 3 years (this doesn’t apply if you’re a refugee or have humanitarian protection status)
- you normally live in England, Scotland or Wales, or you live abroad as a member of the armed forces
- you’re not in full-time education
- you’re not studying for 21 hours a week or more
- you earn no more than £116 a week after tax and some expenses – these will be assessed when you apply
Access to Work Scheme (AtW)
Access to Work is a government initiative that gives advice and practical support to people with disabilities. To be eligible you need to be employed, or be about to start or return to a job.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is replacing Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for people aged 16 to 64 with a new benefit called Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
Being ill or having a disability can often make life more expensive. PIP is a benefit that is meant to help you with the extra costs caused by illness or disability – including sight loss.
PIP is only for people aged 16 to 64. If you are:
- 65 or older and were born before 8 April 1948, PIP is not the benefit that you will claim to help with extra costs. If you are claiming help for the first time, it will be Attendance Allowance. If you are 65 or over and already receive DLA, you will remain on DLA
- under 16 and claiming help for the first time, you should make a claim for DLA. When you turn 16, you will then have to make a claim for PIP.
Disability Student Allowance (DSA)
If you are a student, you may be able to apply for DSA.
The RNIB website gives information for students on the support they should be getting at college and university:
Employment and Support Allowance
ESA is a benefit for people who:
- have limited capability for work because of sickness or disability
- are not working (although voluntary work and some limited paid work is allowed – see our factsheet for more details)
- are aged 16 or over, but are under the age at which you can claim your state pension
- are not entitled to certain other benefits (Statutory Sick Pay, Incapacity Benefit, Income Support, Severe Disablement Allowance or Jobseeker’s Allowance).