Sight Savers to focus on greater publicity

Graham Willgoss

Sight Savers International is preparing a publicity drive to attract more statutory funding for its advocacy capacity in developing countries.

As World Sight Day is tomorrow (13 October), Dr Caroline Harper, the charity's chief executive, said: "It's time the Department for International Development started paying us a lot more attention."

According to the Charities Aid Foundation's Charity Trends 2005, only £189,000 of Sight Savers' £25m annual income comes from government sources.

By comparison, Unicef UK receives £27m in statutory grants.

Harper believes the low government funding is a result of Sight Savers' low profile with opinion-formers and the general public - a situation she hopes to change.

"We are proud of our high voluntary income," she said. "It shows massive public support, but it is risky to rely on one source of income. We must ensure long-term sustainability - it's time Sight Savers enjoyed a profile to match its size and reach."

Sight Savers hopes to raise the profile of World Sight Day with events across the UK, including a children's art exhibition attended by the Countess of Wessex at the Royal Academy of Arts, London.

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