Visionary briefing 30 September 2020

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Your Briefing – 16 September 2020

This week
Visionary latest – How Visionary can support you
A sector-wide approach – How the sector is working together
It’s all about the money – Funding news, opportunities and updates
Member Spotlight – News and successes from our members
HR and Health and Safety Matters – HR and health and safety advice and information

Sharing the love – Great ideas, successes and stuff that works
In the know – Latest COVID-19 updates, news and resources

Welcome to your fortnightly briefing. Below we share the news that matters to you, highlight some of the fantastic work you have shared with us, and share our continuing programme of online sessions taking us through September.

If you have any news you would like to include in this briefing please email us.

Visionary Latest

Visionary Online Annual Conference, 18 to 20 November 2020

Call for nomination for the Visionary Annual Awards
The Visionary Annual Awards recognise and celebrate the impactful services delivered by sight loss charities and the positive difference you make to the lives of blind and partially sighted people. Highlighting the achievements of local charities helps us to share good practice across the sector and draws attention to the talent, expertise and impact of the local sight loss sector. The awards are open to Visionary members and some are open to our national partners. As always, the awards will be voted for by you and presented as part of our annual conference – the ceremony on 20 November will be virtual but your award trophy and cash prizes will be as real as ever! You can nominate your own organisation or another that you believe deserves recognition by 2 November, 12pm midday. Full details on the 4 award categories and how to make a submission are available on the Visionary website.

How we are supporting you

Visionary Helpdesk
We can provide immediate advice and support via our Telephone Helpdesk on 020 8090 9264 or email

Visionary online
Connecting and developing you and your organisations through our programme of regular one-hour support sessions.

Thursday 1 October, 10am to 11am (fortnightly session)
Opening services and the workplace as COVID-19 restrictions ease
Register and join here.
Our regular, expert led, highly interactive forum exploring how to overcome barriers to opening services and your workplaces. Also visit the Visionary website for resources.

Thursday 1 October, 11am to 12pm
Tech forum
Register and join here.
This forum is our regular session designed to provide an informal space to share ideas and experiences of designing and delivering tech services. The forum is open to any Visionary member/staff and will be facilitated by Mark Owen and David Quarmby of Kirklees Visual Impairment Network.

Thursday 1 October, 12.30pm to 1.30pm (monthly)
Fundraisers forum
Register and join here.
Aimed at fundraisers of all levels, this forum will provide fundraisers with a platform to collaborate and share ideas to benefit local sight loss organisations. The session will be facilitated by Sue Piper, Head of Fundraising at Kent Association for the Blind.

Tuesday 6 October, 10am to 11am (and every Tuesday at 10am)
CEO weekly support session
Register and join here.
Our regular session for CEOs. Future sessions will be a mix of open sessions with no agenda. Currently in the pipeline:

  • Understanding the fundraising of the future
  • Partnership working at a local level
  • Public health discussion

Tuesday 13 October, 1pm to 2pm (monthly session)
Trustees forum
Register and join here.
Whether you’re an experienced trustee or new to the role then please do consider joining this forum to connect, share and develop with trustees from across the Visionary network.

Monday 19 September, 3pm to 4pm (monthly session)
Finance forum
Register and join here.
The regular opportunity for all involved in the financial management and oversight in their organisations to simply connect, share and develop.

If you missed any of our previous sessions

You can read a summary of all of our previous sessions held over the last fortnight and access any available resources on the Visionary website. These include:

  • CEO support session, 22 and 29 September
  • Children Young People and Families – frameworks for parent support groups and service development, 16 September
  • Opening services and the workplace as COVID-19 restrictions ease, 17 September
  • Finance forum, 21 September
  • Handling small scale redundancies, 24 September

Sharing some sad news for us and our key partner and funder…
Charity mourns Rodney Powell MBE
It is with huge sadness we announce that Thomas Pocklington Trust trustee, former Chairman and friend, Rodney Powell MBE, passed away on Friday 25 September. Rodney, Thomas Pocklington’s great nephew, was a trustee at the charity for 37 years from 1983 to the present time, of which 26 were as Chair.
Charles Colquhoun, CEO at Thomas Pocklington Trust said: “It is a real loss to the charity in terms of his contribution to its governance but more so for staff and board members personally. Rodney was an incredibly warm person and he will be sorely missed. Our thoughts and condolences are with his wife and family.” Read the full story here

A sector-wide approach

National Eye Health Week
SeeAbility: Eye care messages for people with Learning Disabilities and Autism
As part of National Eye Health Week, Seeability have put together a video which clearly delivers important eye care messages for people with learning disabilities. These messages include what to expect when going to the opticians. In normal times, going for eye test can be a very daunting experience for people with Learning Disabilities and Autism and during COVID-19, access to eye care can be even more problematic, scary and confusing. This video contains contributions from Seeability’s Eye Care Champions, most of whom have lived experience of either Learning Disabilities, Autism and/or visual impairment.

New guidance launched for HE providers to support students with vision impairment
Thomas Pocklington Trust, Guide Dogs and LOOK UK have worked with Disability Advisers, Qualified Teachers for Visual Impairment (QTVI), lecturers and other professionals to produce this COVID-19 specific guidance for Higher Education Providers. They urge everyone who works within Higher Education to access the guidance on supporting students with vision impairment during COVID-19. Read more on the Visionary website.

Purple Tuesday, 3 November
Disabled people account for 20% of the population, making them the world’s largest minority group. In the UK alone, the Purple Pound – the spending power of disabled people and their families – is worth a staggering £274 billion and is estimated to be raising by 14% per year, yet less than 10% of organisations have a targeted plan to access the disability market. Purple Tuesday is about creating awareness of the value and needs of disabled customers and making the customer experience accessible. We’d love to hear from you if you are doing anything for Purple Tuesday, just email us at the Visionary.

RNIB report: Voice of the Customer: Living with Sight Loss through Lockdown in the United Kingdom
You can download and read a recently published report produced by Firuzé Bertiz and Tracy Dearing from RNIB’s Design and Evaluation Team here Final_external_report_Living_with_Sight_Loss_through_Lockdown_1_. The report contains key insights and recommendations. ‘Please Give Me Space’, a new website and set of products from the people behind the Sunflower lanyard, Hidden Disabilities.

E-petition/letter to the Transport Minister on e-scooters
Guide Dogs have launched an e-petition/letter to the Transport Minister calling for all current e-scooter trials to be halted until safety procedures are improved. You can see the petition here. We previously have shared joint sector guidance which can be found on the Sight Loss Councils website here. If you would like to support this petition or influence your local authority, we hope this guidance will be useful.

It’s all about the money

Leaders with Lived Experiences Funding Programme Accepting Applications
The National Lottery Community Fund is offering 30 to 40 grants of between £20,000 and £50,000 for projects that enable organisations to focus either on the immediate response to the COVID-19 crisis, or on helping communities recover and renew after the impact of COVID-19. The funding is available for up to two years.

The funding is to support organisations set up or run by people with first-hand experience of a social issue, who are trying to create positive change for communities and people who share those experiences. This funding will support lived experience leadership, and make sure lived experience plays a key role in shaping how communities move towards recovery and renewal after the impact of COVID-19. We expect to fund between 30 and 40 grants and the deadline for applications is 13 October 2020 at 5pm. Find out more and apply here.

The pros and cons of cloud accounting
Thinking of how digital can help with your finance solutions? Here’s Catalyst’s guide to how to move your finances to the cloud.

Member Spotlight

Berkshire Vision – Members’ experiences of lockdown
We wanted to share this fantastic short episode from Berkshire Vision which features five of their members discussing the impact of lockdown and how it has affected them. The link will take you to the option to listen on SoundCloud or read the transcript of the conversations.

Member vacancies
You can see all of the latest vacancies across our membership here.

HR and Health and Safety Matters

HR matters

Job Support Scheme – furlough scheme ending 31 October
Last week the Chancellor announced the introduction, in November, of a 6-month Job Support Scheme where the government will financially support employers in paying the wages of workers in “viable” jobs. Workers will be required to work at least one-third of their normal hours and they will receive around two-thirds of their normal pay. Along with Roots HR we await full details of the scheme, but in the meantime the government have produced a short factsheet.

Guidance on NHS Test and Trace for employers, businesses and workers
There has been a lot in the news about this recently, with guidance getting regularly updated. Checkout the latest position here.

New legal duty to self-isolate
From the start of this week (Monday 28 September) people in England are required by law to self-isolate if they test positive for COVID-19 or are contacted by NHS Test and Trace. Employers who cause self-isolating employees to breach isolation compliance can be fined £1000. Read more details on the government website.

Kickstart Scheme
The Kickstart Scheme provides funding to employers to create new 6-month job placements for young people who are currently on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment. Applications must be for a minimum of 30 job placements and we are exploring how Visionary could apply for a Kickstart Scheme grant on behalf of a group of employers. In the meantime do let us now of you are interested.

1 hour of free HR advice for Visionary members delivered by Roots HR CIC
The service, provided by Roots HR CIC’s team of fully qualified and experienced chartered consultants, is offered from 8.30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (excluding Bank and public holidays). Visionary member organisations can arrange to use their 1 hour of free HR advice by phoning Roots HR on 01562 840060 or emailing. Full details are on the Visionary website

Health and Safety matters

New government guidance
Key government guidance documents have recently been updated:

Adult social care: our COVID-19 winter plan 2020 to 2021
The government has recently published it’s policy paper for the social care sector, ‘Adult social care: our COVID-19 winter plan 2020 to 2021’. The main points are as follows:

  • All eligible care providers can register for and use the new PPE portal. All providers should report any PPE shortages through the Capacity Tracker, LRFs where applicable, or any other relevant escalation or data collection route.
  • Providers ineligible to register for the portal (such as personal assistants) should contact their LRF (if it is continuing to distribute PPE) or their local authority to obtain free PPE for COVID-19 needs.

National support
The government are providing free flu vaccines to the following groups:

  • health and social care staff in direct contact with people who receive care or support and who are employed by a residential care or nursing home, registered homecare organisation, or hospice
  • all personal care assistants who provide individuals with care and support via a direct payment, personal budget or personal health budget
  • people with certain medical conditions, those with learning disabilities, those aged 65 years or over, and people who are pregnant
  • people who are living in a long-stay residential care home or another long-stay care facility
  • people on the ‘shielded’ list, their household and carers
  • people who receive a Carer’s Allowance or are the main carer for an older or disabled person

Free Health and Safety support for Visionary members
We have secured the services of Health and Safety specialists Ambeck Associates, in particular Carl Harrison, to provide Visionary members with Health and Safety support and a document/procedure review service. Please note that this service has a specific COVID-19 focus and where the advisor feels that you may need more general Health and Safety advice/support they will discuss that directly with you. All matters discussed via this advice service remain confidential between the enquirer and Health and Safety advisor. Visionary will only monitor the use of the service in respect of number and subject areas of enquiries to ensure fair use and to develop further areas of support. To access the support contact Ambeck Associates directly 01257 230584 / 07983 720208 or email.

Sharing the love

“Talented disabled candidates just need an even break”
We have partnered with Evenbreak, a AAA accessible specialist job board that helps disabled candidates find work opportunities with employers who will value their skills. This partnership gives Visionary members an opportunity to link the Evenbreak services via your websites. This will give more disabled job candidates access to more disability friendly employers. It’s free for job candidates to register and candidates can set up job alerts for the kind of role they are looking for. It is also a good place to consider advertising your vacancies. For more details go to the Evenbreak website.

Social Media – Using social media paid for posts
On 29 September, David Anderson from Accrington Blind Society hosted a Visionary online session on using social media and paid for posts. You can see David’s really useful notes here Visionary – Social Media, David Anderson. One suggestion from the session was that a number of organisations could come together to appoint a shared communications post – if you would like to be part of that discussion, please email Fiona.

New Charles Bonnet Syndrome (CBS) research published
New research which looks at Charles Bonnet Syndrome in children has been published here. It is part one of a bigger study – led by Professor Mariya Moosajee (Moorfields/Great Ormond Street/UCL) and a very important step forward in CBS research. For more information on Charles Bonnet Syndrome, visit Esme’s Umbrella.

Dialling into remote activities for blind and partially sighted people
If you know of a system for blind and partially sighted people to dial into remote activities that doesn’t require them to enter a long PIN, please email Laura Mitchell, CEO at Berkshire Vision.

Latest episode of TPT’s podcast ‘The Blind Spot’ out now!
The use of e-scooters is a growing concern for many blind and partially sighted people. In this episode, Kevin Satizabal, discusses the issues with two Sight Loss Councils members, Gary and Ada. Listen here.

British Blind Sport announces virtual Live Workout Week for the Heart of England region
The Live Workout Week with Heart of England has been announced by British Blind Sport with virtual events running next week, 5 to 9 October 2020. Read more to find out how you can get involved on the Visionary website.

Applications open for the British Blind Sport Youth Advisory Panel
British Blind Sport are looking for up to 12 young people aged 16 – 25 with a visual impairment (VI) to form the Youth Advisory Panel (YAP) who will act as a voice for young people with a VI to become more involved in sport in the UK. Applications close on 16 October. For further information and details on the application process, go to the Visionary website.

Sight loss charity partners with high street opticians
In support of last week’s National Eye Health Week, Vision Express has been raising vital funds towards research to help find a cure and to provide services for people affected by macular disease. Throughout the month the UK-wide initiative will see £3 from every eye test, including free NHS tests, donated to the Macular Society. Read more on the Visionary website.

Surveys for Wales Council of the Blind
Wales Council of the Blind (WCB) need your views to help them produce information packs and online resources to assist people with sight loss in negotiating the measures put in place under the COVID-19 pandemic. To get involved and for further details, go to the WCB Blind RESET project. WCB also have a survey on information and support services for people with sight loss in Wales which can be found here. Both surveys will help with the production of the WCB manifesto.

World Sight Day 2020
World Sight Day (WSD) is on 8 October 2020 and is an annual day of of awareness to focus global attention on blindness and vision impairment. This year, the call to action for WSD is ‘Hope in Sight’. Go to the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) website for their implementation pack of key messages, activities, media messages, promotional material and get involved in the photo competition!

Accessibility consultation to shape the future of eye care at Oriel, 5 October, 4pm to 6pm
London Vision have organised a consultation on the accessibility of Oriel which is the proposal to create a new, integrated eye care, research and education centre in Camden. It is a joint initiative between Moorfields Eye Hospital, University College of London and Moorfields Eye Charity. Register for the ‘Shape the future of eye care at Oriel’ consultation here.

Free webinars and events

In the know

Are you a membership organisation? (it will say so in your Mem and Arts) If so, are you also a charity and company limited by guarantee?
Whilst trustees have always had to act in the best interests of their charity, members could always vote however they liked. However there has been a recent ruling in court which has outlined that members of a charitable company must act in the best interests of their charity’s objects. Read more from Russell-Cooke, our legal advisors, here.

Kruger Report – Levelling Up Our Communities
In June, the Small Charities Coalition held an online meeting to feed into the review being undertaken by Danny Kruger MP into civil society who published his report on 24 September 2020. The report is divided into a number of key headings with recommendations grouped under three key areas, Power, People and Place, not that dissimilar to the Civil Society Strategy of 2018. Get the full report on the Visionary website.

Charity reaction to Kruger report: ‘It is critical that government now acts’
Charities have said they are pleased with Danny Kruger’s recommendations to support communities, but note that the prime minister has not committed to acting on most of them. See more at Civil Society. It’s also left Directory of Social Change’s (DSC) Director of Policy, Jay Kennedy, who is sure he has seen lots of the proposals before, with ‘a profound sense of meta-policy-deja-vu’. Read more at DSC.

NHS COVID-19 app launched
Thomas Pocklington Trust and other organisations in the sight loss sector have been involved in ensuring the NHS COVID-19 app for Apple and Android devices is as accessible as possible for blind and partially sighted people. It is a native app build for Apple iOS and Android devices which means the built-in accessibility settings on your phone will work with it. The app is free and is part of the NHS Test and Trace service in England and Wales which was launched 24 September. Read more on the Visionary website.

Applying to Oxbridge
The universities of Oxford and Cambridge, known together as Oxbridge; are recognised world-wide as leading universities and centres for research. Thomas Pocklington Trust have produced a step-by-step guidance document for new applicants to Oxbridge, collating student insight and top tips, to help you through every stage.

New Web Accessibility Regulations came into force on 23 September
The new Web Accessibility Regulations require all websites operated by, or on behalf of, public sector bodies to comply with certain accessibility standards and prove they’ve done so. RNIB have produced a toolkit explaining the new rules, and giving guidance on how to challenge organisations who do not meet these requirements.

Buttle UK Chances for Children
If you work with children, young people and families you may be interested in subscribing to Buttle UK’s newsletter which has useful information on their work and other important information.


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