Tag Archives: Thomas Pocklington Trust

TPT welcomes Disabled Students’ Allowance reform

TPT welcomes Disabled Students’ Allowance reform

TPT welcomes Disabled Students’ Allowance reform

Thomas Pocklington Trust (TPT) welcomes the announcement made yesterday by the Minister of State for Universities, Michelle Donelan, indicating significant changes to Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA).

TPT has campaigned for change to the DSA since January 2019 and met with Chris Skidmore (the then Minister for Universities) last year as well as the Department for Education (DfE) to raise the issues many disabled students face.

Charles Colquhoun, CEO at Thomas Pocklington Trust, said: “We know students often cannot access the equipment they need through DSA and recommended to the then minister and the DfE that there should be one budget rather than four separate sub-allowances. So, we are delighted they have taken these views on board and announced this reform”

In her statement Ms Donelan said: “I am announcing today changes to Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) that will increase flexibility for students to access the support that they need. The undergraduate DSA, which is currently structured as four separate sub-allowances, will be simplified into one allowance in line with the postgraduate DSA.

“The same maximum allowance (£25,000) will apply to both full-time and part-time undergraduate and postgraduate DSA recipients in 2021/22. This will apply for both new and continuing students. An exception for travel costs will be made to this maximum cap, which means that travel costs will in effect continue to be uncapped.”

Holly Scott-Gardner, who came to the meeting with TPT in 2019 to share her first-hand experiences of DSA with the minister, said: “This would have made a huge difference when studying as an undergraduate, as I’d have had greater autonomy over the support I received. Equipment for blind students is very expensive, which often meant that in the past students had to decide between two necessary pieces of technology. I am pleased to see that now they will be able to choose the support package that works best for them.”

Currently, students claim for support under the four sub-allowances under which the equipment grant is limited to a maximum of £5,849. By combining the sub-allowances, it gives students the freedom to choose how they allocate their grant.

Tara Chattaway, Student Support Service Manager at TPT, explains: “Students often reach the maximum amount of funding available without fully addressing their needs. The equipment required often needs to be a high specification and therefore costly. A braille reader alone can take up all of the equipment budget. This means students with vision impairment settle for equipment that is cheaper but isn’t practical and doesn’t meet their needs.”

Charles added: “Whilst for most students with vision impairment this is great news, I am concerned that the overall budget for students has reduced by just over £2000 a year which may mean those with the most complex needs will not be able to access all the equipment they need.”

The new rules will come into force in the 2021/2022 academic year.

The TPT Student Support Service provides resources and guidance to for students with vision impairment. This includes:

  • Covid-19 support: Guidance for students with vision impairment and professionals supporting students entering Higher Education during the current Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Student resources: A range of practical information and ‘how-to’ guides on meeting the challenges of Further and Higher education.
  • Student Support Facebook Network. This new Facebook group allows students to share advice and information, ask questions, and connect with those going through similar situations.
  • Student Support Line.  The telephone support line provides friendly and knowledgeable advice for students who have specific concerns or questions around starting Further or Higher education.
  • Student stories: Students are encouraged to share their experience and tips of Further and Higher Education, such as the challenges in accessing the Disabled Students’ Allowance.

The Student Support Service can be accessed via TPT’s website:
gton-trust.org.uk/student-support 

 

Online Radical CV and Accessible Tech 20-21 May!

Online Radical CV and Accessible Tech 20-21 May with TPT

A ‘Radical CV Masterclass’ on Wednesday 20 May and Accessible tech at home and work’  on Thursday 21 May.

Thomas Pocklington Trust  (TPT)  Online Accessible Tech for home and work webinar is next week (Thursday 21 May from 1-2 pm).

Accessible technology enables blind and partially sighted people to thrive. But with so many products out there, how do you know what is right for you?

Join TPT’s expert panel on 21 May at 1 pm to discuss the pros and cons of various accessible tech products for home and work.

You’ll be able to ask TPT’s tech experts questions and get advice on products you are thinking of buying or trying.

We want as many blind and partially sighted people to benefit from this session, so if you could help us to spread the word I would really appreciate it.  Thank you.

To find out more and to register visit: www.pocklington-trust.org.uk/accessible-tech-at-home-and-work

 

 

New Support Service for Students with Vision Impairment

New Support Service for Students with Vision Impairment with TPT

NEW SUPPORT SERVICE FOR STUDENTS WITH VISION IMPAIRMENT

Starting university can be daunting for someone with vision impairment, and is likely to prove even more challenging during the current pandemic – but help is at hand from the new Student Support Service from Thomas Pocklington Trust (TPT).

TPT has launched the new service to help vision impaired students entering Further or Higher Education not just during the COVID-19 pandemic but to provide ongoing support. It provides resources and guidance to help students navigate this life-changing period – and forge positive networks with people in similar situations.

Tara Chattaway, Student Support Service Manager at TPT, said: “We know it can be challenging under normal circumstances for anyone with vision impairment to go through an enormous change like starting at university, but in the current crisis it is going to be even more difficult.

“Within the wider resources both for students and professionals in Further and Higher education, we have produced a number of resources in response to questions and needs that will arise for students in the coming months and beyond.”

TPT’s Student Support Service offers support in a number of ways:

  • Student Support Line.  The new telephone support line – launched today – provides friendly and knowledgeable advice for students who have specific concerns or questions around starting Further or Higher education.
  • Covid-19 support: New guidance for students with vision impairment and professionals supporting students entering Higher Education during the current Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Student resources: A range of practical information and ‘how-to’ guides on meeting the challenges of Further and Higher education.
  • Student Support Facebook Network. This new Facebook group allows students to share advice and information, ask questions, and connect with those going through similar situations.
  • Student stories: Students are encouraged to share their experience and tips of Further and Higher Education, such as the challenges in accessing the Disabled Students’ Allowance.

Emma Hughes, Director of Services at TPT, said: “Research shows that when students with vision impairment reach the age of 16 and move onto Further and Higher Education they face a number of barriers and additional challenges.  This often leads to them having to repeat the same level modules, stay in FE/HE for a longer period than their peers or even drop out altogether.

“The new Student Support Service is designed to support these young people, creating a community where they come together for support, and providing information and advice, with the aim to reduce the drop-out rate and need for young people with vision impairments to retake modules. It will also support graduating students in their next steps towards employment.”

The Student Support Service can be accessed via TPT’s website: www.pocklington-trust.org.uk/student-support 

 Tara added: “We want to encourage students who are in, or about to enter, university to contact us with their thoughts on the content that will be most useful to them.  We can then tailor our content to ensure we are producing the information and tips that they need.

“We will be developing the new Student Service Facebook group and, when the lockdown ends, looking to hosts events to prepare students for this incredibly important phase in their lives.”

 

TPT launches COVID-19 Emergency Fund for the Sight Loss Sector!

TPT launches COVID-19 Emergency Fund for the Sight Loss Sector

TPT launches COVID-19 Emergency Fund for the Sight Loss Sector

Thomas Pocklington Trust (TPT) has just launched an emergency fund to support sight loss organisations which are providing vital services to blind and partially sighted people during the COVID-19 pandemic.

£500,000 of essential support will be available to sight loss sector organisations to allow them to continue providing critical services for the physical and emotional wellbeing of blind and partially sighted people.

Charles Colquhoun, CEO at Thomas Pocklington Trust, said: “We recognise it is a particularly unsettling time for both the country’s blind and partially sighted population and the sight loss organisations who provide vital services and support to our community.

“We have been speaking to our friends and partners across the sector, listening to their concerns and understanding the essential role these organisations play in supporting blind and partially sighted people, we have suspended our normal grant funding activities and set up this emergency fund.”

The grants, available to sight loss charities, will be for up to £10,000 pounds or the equivalent of two months’ running costs (whichever is less) for use over the next six months.

TPT has suspended its normal grant funding activities, postponed the launch of its revised grant programme and will use funds previously allocated to its normal grant programme to provide this essential support to partners in the sight loss sector.

Charles added: “The monies can be used either to cover the general running costs of the charity in the face of cashflow issues directly caused by the crisis, or to fund a project that will support the blind and partially sighted community through these difficult times.

If you would like to submit an application on behalf of your organisation, please submit an application here

For any questions you have, please email us at: grants@pocklington-trust.org.uk

“It is important to us that we are able to support people as widely as possible throughout the UK and we keep the application process as simple as possible for applicants. This is why we are capping grants at £10,000 per organisation and I am pleased to say that we will be working closely with our partners at Visionary and London Vision to ensure we can process requests as effectively and efficiently as possible.”

Organisations wishing to submit an application should visit TPT’s Emergency Fund web page.  

 

 

Urgent letter sent to all the main supermarkets!

Urgent Letter sent to all the Main Supermarkets!

Urgent letter sent to all the Main Supermarkets!

As the challenges of food shopping have increased amid the uncertainty around Covid-19, several UK supermarket chains have prioritised opening at certain times of the day for vulnerable and elderly people.

RNIB, jointly with other sight loss sector charities Guide DogsThomas Pocklington Trust and Visionary, has written to supermarket chief executives to ask them how they are helping blind and partially sighted people. While we wait for their responses we have put together information we’ve found online about what they are doing to help disabled customers.

Letter Below

Dear Sir/Madam,   May I firstly take the opportunity to thank you sincerely for taking time out to read this letter at what I know is a period of unprecedented demand and strain on your sector, company and staff.   Like you, we are also coming to terms with what the coronavirus crisis means. In the forefront of our minds is how it will impact on blind and partially sighted people and how our charities can best act to continue to support their needs.

As you may be aware, our organisations work alongside and support blind and partially sighted people across the UK. Our key consideration at this time is how to ensure that they are able to continue to live independently and follow government advice such as “self-isolating”, something which poses a particular problem to our community.

A key element of everyday living is the ability to shop for groceries, medicines and other essentials for daily life. Blind and partially sighted people have historically taken advantage of online shopping and delivery services.

We have worked with many providers to ensure that apps and websites are accessible to allow people to independently fill their basket, check out and have it delivered to their door.   We want to acknowledge the excellent measures that some in the sector have put in place such as early shopping hours for vulnerable and disabled customers and please be reassured that such measures are hugely beneficial and welcome.

In relation to online shopping and home delivery however, we are receiving large numbers of distressed calls from blind and partially sighted people who are unable to obtain their usual delivery slot and in most cases are unable to get a suitable slot for over three weeks.

We are sure you can understand the anxiety this can cause for people who are often already struggling with their wellbeing, not to mention the worry of going without vital foods, medicines and other essentials.

We do understand that there are numerous calls on your sector at present to support society in a whole variety of ways, but I would respectfully ask you to consider putting in place a telephone or online scheme whereby blind and partially sighted people are able to pre-book online shopping and home delivery slots in order to guarantee their food supply and therefore provide them with the ability to live independently and minimise anxiety.

We plan to communicate with our members and service users to let them know what assistance supermarkets are putting in place next week. With this in mind, we would ask that you respond to this letter by Wednesday 25th March. We appreciate this is a short time frame, but one that we hope you will be able to accommodate given the severity of the circumstances.

We would be more than happy to work with you to formulate an appropriate scheme should our input prove helpful.

Signed by Thomas Pocklington Trust, Visionary, RNIB and Guide Dogs CEOs

 

Below you can find key information and links to the announcements from some of the key supermarket chains:

Last updated March 25 2020

Asda

Asda has placed limits on the amount of certain products individual shoppers can buy.

Updates on Asda’s reaction to the Coronavirus.

Co-op

All of its stores have a dedicated shopping hour for those at higher risk and the people who care for them.  You will need to contact your local store as these dedicated hours may vary

Morrisons

Morrisons is expanding its home delivery service and introducing new ways of delivering groceries and more slots for customers, which will also help vulnerable people and those affected by the virus. Morrisons is making more delivery slots available to customers both through Morrisons.com and the Morrisons Store on Amazon Prime Now.

Morrisons food boxes

Our new Food Boxes are designed to provide you with everyday essentials, without needing to leave your home. Our boxes contain £30 worth of groceries and we offer convenient delivery directly to your door for £5.

https://www.morrisons.com/food-boxes/how-it-works

Sainsbury’s

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, all of the chain’s supermarkets will dedicate the hour of 8 am – 9 am to serving elderly, disabled and vulnerable customers, as well as NHS and Social Care workers.

Tesco

Tesco says it is prioritising the elderly and most vulnerable between 9 – 10 am on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, except for its Express outlets.

Waitrose

First hour of store opening to be dedicated to the elderly and vulnerable and it is exploring ways to offer its services remotely.

 

You can check for the latest information and find contact details for  all the major UK supermarkets on their websites.

 

Aldi: https://www.aldi.co.uk/

Asda: https://www.asda.com/

Best-One: https://www.best-one.co.uk/

Budgens: https://www.budgens.co.uk/

Co-Op: https://www.coop.co.uk/

Costco: https://www.costco.co.uk/

Costcutter: https://www.costcutter.co.uk/

Farmfoods: https://www.farmfoods.co.uk/

Iceland: https://www.iceland.co.uk/

Lidl: https://www.lidl.co.uk/

Londis: https://www.londis.co.uk/

Makro: https://www.makro.co.uk/

Marks and Spencer: https://www.marksandspencer.com/

Morrisons: https://groceries.morrisons.com/webshop/startWebshop.do

Nisa: https://www.nisalocally.co.uk/

Ocado: https://www.ocado.com/

Premier: https://www.premier-stores.co.uk/

Sainsbury’s: https://www.sainsburys.co.uk/

Sainsburys has a vulnerable persons careline – 0800 052 5500. It is attempting to prioritise vulnerable customers for home delivery.

Call wait times may be substantial.

Spar: https://www.spar.co.uk/

Tesco: https://www.tesco.com/

Waitrose: https://www.waitrose.com/

 

RNIB Helpline: Call on 0303 123 9999
We’re open 8 am-8 pm weekdays and 9 am -1 pm on Saturdays.

The RNIB Helpline team can give you advice and point you to the services that can help you face the future with confidence.