£100,000 for apprenticeship programme helping blind and partially sighted young people in London get jobs

A national charity has received over £100,000 towards an apprenticeship programme for 40 blind and partially sighted young people in London.

City Bridge Trust, the City of London Corporation’s charitable funder, has awarded the money to the Royal Society for Blind Children (RSBC) to support young people into employment.

The charity, based in Hackney, places apprentices in top public and private sector employers, including London Transport Museum, Goldman Sachs and the NHS.

The initiative will benefit young people across London.

Visually impaired people are among the most disadvantaged groups in 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.**

The funding from City Bridge Trust, which is London’s largest independent grant giver, will also help RSBC work more closely with the companies to increase their confidence in employing blind and partially sighted young people.

Alison Gowman, Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s City Bridge Trust Committee, commented:

“RSBC is playing a vitally important role in the lives of so many young people across the country.

“Our funding will support its employability programme, helping to unlock skills and opening up the talent pool from which businesses are traditionally recruiting.

 “City Bridge Trust is committed to tackling disadvantage and inequality across the capital, making London a fairer, better place to live.”

Dr Tom Pey, Group Chief Executive at Royal Society for Blind Children said:

“The funds will allow us to develop an apprenticeship programme for blind and partially sighted young people, building on the great successes we have already achieved. 

“We look forward to expanding our partnerships with inspirational employers such as GSK, TfL, and the NHS to ensure the growing numbers of young people we work with realise their full potential in the workplace.”

City Bride Trust is also supporting disabled people through Bridge to Work, its new £3.3million scheme which will open up a wealth of new employment opportunities for young disabled Londoners.

This ground-breaking programme will narrow the employment gap for young disabled people by providing financial backing for organisations tackling the issue.Over the next five years the Bridge to Work programme will fund projects offering employability support and strengthen links between employers and the disabled community.

Working in partnership with leading disability charities, City Bridge Trust will pay for work experience, personalised support for young disabled people looking for jobs, advice on employment rights, role coaching and a new online training resource for job seekers.

City Bridge Trust 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 7,700 grants totalling over £370 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.

Notes to editors

* Nzegwu and Dooley, 2008. Functionality and the Needs of Blind and Partially Sighted Young People in the UK: A Survey of Young People, Parents, Educators and Mobility Specialists’ and; Hewett, 2003. ‘Investigation of data relating to blind and partially sighted people in the Quarterly Labour Force Survey: October 2009 – September 2012’.

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

About the City of London Corporation:

The City of London Corporation provides local government and policing services for the financial and commercial heart of Britain, the 'Square Mile'. In addition, the City Corporation has three roles:

  • We support London’s communities by working in partnership with neighbouring boroughs on economic regeneration, education and skills. In addition, the City of London Corporation’s charitable funder, City Bridge Trust, makes grants of around £20 million annually to tackle disadvantage across London.
  • We also help look after key London heritage and green spaces including Tower Bridge, the Museum of London, Barbican Arts Centre, City gardens, Hampstead Heath, Epping Forest, Burnham Beeches, and important commons in London.
  • We also support and promote the ‘City’ as a world-leading financial and business hub, with outward and inward business delegations, high-profile civic events and research-driven policies, all reflecting a long-term approach.

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For further information, please contact:

Tara Macpherson, Media Officer Assistant, City of London Corporation

Tel: 020 7332 3328 / Mob: 07710 860883 / Email