A City charity has received funding to transform the lives of London’s blind and visually impaired (BVI) graduates by helping them find work after university.

City Bridge Trust, the City of London Corporation’s charitable funder, awarded £84,000 to Blind In Business Charitable Trust to pay for one-to-one sessions with the charity’s experts in sight loss and job training.

The initiative includes support with writing CVs and filling in job applications, as well as helping people develop aspirations, confidence and to find work.

Blind and partially sighted young people are among the most disadvantaged groups in our society.

90% of those who lose their sight in youth won’t work for more than six months in their lives, and nearly 70% of blind and partially sighted young people are living on the poverty line.*

Alison Gowman, Chair of the City of London Corporation’s City Bridge Trust Committee, said:

“Blind in Business has been working in this sector for many years and is an expert in supporting people with sight loss.

“The organisation has extensive contacts in the City. With this funding it will able to help even more young graduates make connections with employers and begin their journeys into the world of work.

“Tackling disadvantage across the capital is essential to making London a fairer and better place to live.”

Dan Mitchell, Training & Fundraising Manager at Blind in Business, said:

“Employers are generally unreceptive to offering blind young people long term opportunities, based on perceptions that they won’t be able to deliver the work effectively, or that they would need continuous intensive support.

“Technical advances enable BVI people to do almost any job, but they need support and confidence to compete for vacancies.

“This generous grant fromCity Bridge Trust will allow us to help more Londoners with sight loss into work.”

The charity also supports employees diagnosed with sight loss to remain in employment, and advises employers on recruitment and on-the-job support for BVI staff.

Since 1992 Blind in Business has helped on average 90 to 120 young people in London each year, towards education or employment.

Sight loss impairs people’s ability to learn from experience and reduces exposure to learning opportunities that would prove beneficial in the workplace. This means BVI people often come to the job market with less experience than their sighted peers.

In its latest round of funding City Bridge Trust also awarded £82,000 to the Royal National Institute of Blind Peopletowards a Talking Books service for older Londoners.

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City Bridge Trust is the funding arm of the City of London Corporation’s charity, Bridge House Estates. It is London’s biggest independent grant giver, making grants of £20 million a year to tackle disadvantage across the capital.

The Trust has awarded around 8,000 grants totalling over £400 million since it first began in 1995. It helps achieve the City Corporation’s aim of changing the lives of hundreds of thousands of Londoners.

*Saunders, Alex 2014. ‘The link between sight loss and income’ RNIB.

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