Grants from RNIB
We offer grants to registered blind or partially sighted people for useful technology that can help them live independently.
Who can receive a grant from RNIB?
You, or the person you are applying on behalf of, must:
- be resident in the UK
- be registered with your local authority as blind (“severely sight impaired”) or partially sighted (“sight impaired”) unless you are applying on behalf of a child who has not yet had their sight loss certified or registered
- receive a means-tested benefit and one that is not a Tax Credit. Means-tested benefits include Income Support; Pension Credit; Housing Benefit; Council Tax support; Income-related Employment and Support Allowance; Income-related Job Seeker's Allowance; and Universal Credit.
- have been refused funding from your local authority for the items you need
- have savings of less than £6,000
- have not had a grant from us in the last three years.
If you are applying on behalf of your child, a relative or someone you provide care or support for, please give their details on our application form and then make a separate note of your contact details.
What we give grants for and for how much
We only consider applications for grants towards:
- computer accessibility software: magnification software or combined magnifier reader software, Dolphin Guide and upgrades to these. We don’t currently offer grants for JAWS as this costs much more than our maximum limit and there are free alternatives (such as NVDA)
- computer dictation software (£80 maximum for Windows versions, £125 maximum for Mac versions)
- voice recorders and dictaphones (£70 maximum)
- portable and TV video magnifiers (£400 maximum)
- talking kitchen equipment including talking microwaves
- talking watches, clocks and radios (£60 maximum)
- RNIB’s PenFriend 2 labelling device
- talking colour detectors (£60 maximum)
- the Alto 2 talking mobile phone (or £145 towards the cost of another talking phone or accessible smartphone)
- big button or talking landline telephones (£100 maximum)
We are not able to give grants for any other type of item or for items you need for your job (please talk to your employer about the Government’s Access to Work scheme). We are also not able to help towards items which you have already bought.
The items must be reasonably priced for your needs and within our guideline maximum prices. If you ask for an item that costs more than the guideline amount then we may ask you to opt for a cheaper item as our funds are limited and the cheaper item may still meet your needs.
We can only give a maximum of £500, so if the total of the items you need cost more than this you must find the rest of the funding elsewhere before you apply to us for the remainder.
How do I apply for a grant from RNIB or get more information?
To apply, download and complete our application form:
Please read the notes at the beginning of our form carefully. The notes give more details about our grants scheme and what information you need to send with your form in order for us to be able to make a decision on your application.
Your application must be supported by a professional who knows your personal circumstances. This could be a social worker, occupational therapist, health care visitor, or a worker from another charity or local society that is helping you. It cannot be your GP, a friend or family member though.
If you are applying for computer accessibility software (also called "assistive technology"), a mobile phone or a portable video magnifier, we will ask your supporting officer to confirm that you have tried it out and it is the best item to meet your needs. You might be able to try out accessibility software at your local society for people with sight loss or your local library. You can use the Sightline Directory to find somewhere near you by searching for "assistive technology" and entering your postcode.
Please take a copy of your completed form and then send the original to:
RNIB Customer Knowledge and Information Team
105 Judd Street
We welcome grant applications at any time of the year.
For more information, please call our Helpline on 0303 123 9999 and ask to speak to the team that deals with grants. You can also email InfoResourceTeam@rnib.org.uk. We record calls to our grants service for quality and training purposes.
How long will I have to wait for my grant if I’m successful?
If you send us all the information we need in your application, we can make a decision within a week of receiving it. If your application is successful then it takes three to four weeks to send out your payment – by cheque or straight into your bank account.