Birmingham charity for blind people closes

A charity that supports blind and partially sighted people in Birmingham has closed after concluding that it was no longer viable.

Birmingham Vision, which opened in 2015, said in a statement on its website that it had been reviewing its sustainability with its primary funder, the Thomas Pocklington Trust, which found that the charity was not sustainable.

"Following changes to available future funding, we have recently been reviewing the sustainability of Birmingham Vision and working closely with our primary funder, Thomas Pocklington Trust, to determine the best way forward for continuity of provision of services in the area," the statement says.

"We have, sadly, concluded that Birmingham Vision is no longer sustainable, and have made the difficult decision that the charity will no longer continue to operate."

The charity’s most recently filed accounts with the Charity Commission, for the year to the end of March 2018, show it had an income of £300,162, almost all of which came from the Thomas Pocklington Trust.

It had eight staff in 2017/18, but all of those were seconded from the trust, the accounts say.

"TPT is committed to continuing to provide financial support in Birmingham, and it now looks most likely that this will be achieved through a combination of redeployment of some Birmingham Vision staff to other organisations and direct funding of services at other organisations in the area," the Birmingham Vision statement says.

"We are working with TPT and local and national sight-loss charities to transfer our activities and services to them, and we feel that this is the best solution for ensuring the continuity of services for blind and partially sighted people of working age.

"With the support from TPT, we are confident that these opportunities for blind and partially sighted people will continue."

A statement from the trust said it would redirect funding for the services to other organisations in the area, including the disability charity Sense and the sight-loss charity the RNIB.

Charles Colquhoun, chief executive of the trust, said: "Research estimates there are more than 28,000 blind or partially sighted people in Birmingham, with 8,620 actually registered blind or partially sighted, yet only a fraction of these access the services and activities available. We want to change this.

"By redirecting funding for these services to established charities in the city, the new arrangements will enable more people to access these."

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