Grants from other organisations
As well as grants from RNIB, there are a number of different charities and organisations around the UK that may be able to provide you with financial assistance if you are blind or partially sighted and on a low income.
Your local authority
We recommend that you always try your local Social Services department first. 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
- free rehabilitation training
Your local authority may 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 welfare schemes across the UK you can use to check.
If you live in:
- Scotland, you can apply for a Community Care Grant from the Scottish Welfare Fund if you need help to leave care, live independently, or to continue living independently. Although this is a national scheme, local authorities deliver it, so contact yours to start your application. They also provide crisis grants for emergencies.
- Wales, you can apply for an Individual Assistance Payment from the Discretionary Assistance Fund to help you live independently. They also provide Emergency Assistance Payments. For more information or to make an application call for free on 0800 859 5924. You can also apply online to the Discretionary Assistance Fund.
- Northern Ireland, the Assembly is setting up a scheme called Discretionary Support to help you.
Your local Education Authority can also give help with equipment and transport for educational needs.
If you apply to a charity, sometimes they will only accept application forms signed by or sent by a social worker or other professional. Each charity's rules are different, so always contact them first to find out more.
Local societies for people with sight loss
There are many local voluntary societies for blind and partially sighted people around the UK. These local societies can be a great source of information and support, and may also be able to give you small grants for equipment. Search the Sightline Directory to find out contact details of your local society and what help they can give you. You can also call our Helpline on 0303 123 9999 for more information.
National charities for people in need
There are a range of charities in the UK that give grants to blind and partially sighted people. Some only give grants for specific types of items (such as computer equipment), some give grants to certain sorts of people (such as ex-service personnel) and some, such as the Royal Blind Society, are specifically for people with sight loss.
We have produced a factsheet that gives details of other charities that may be able to give you funding:
The Turn2Us grants search tool provides a comprehensive and free way to search for grants online. You can also call our Helpline on 0303 123 9999 to find other charities that may be able to help you.