Wakefield District Sight Aid

WDSA has 1140 active members on their database who are all blind or partially sighted, the majority of whom are people who developed sight loss as they grew older, and they benefit from WDSA in a number of ways. The main two being practical need-based support, which entails home visits to assess and advise on the use of equipment, aids and/or adaptations, and other ways to allow independence both at home and when out in the community. In addition, WDSA provide wider social and wellbeing support such as their “Living Well with Sight Loss” courses, for which they are an official delivery partner for the RNIB. They also provide regular day trips, lunches, coffee mornings and telephone befriending, they connect people for peer support.

Prosper awarded a small grant last year, which they have used for the day to day running costs of the charity for the year. The home visits programme is supported by Wakefield Council and some projects are funded by other grants.

Like many charities in the same boat, having a grant that they could use to pay their running costs for the year can’t be understated. For Hayley personally, it made a massive difference as she was able to be present and focus on the charity, rather than always chasing around applying for other grants and pots of money. The grant also gave her space to think about developing some of the new projects that she had been thinking about, it allowed them to be more innovative. “Basically, it felt like freedom! We had never had a grant like this before and we benefitted far more than just financially.”

Hayley admitted that if they hadn’t received the grant, they would have been in financial difficulties for the year. New services and partnerships wouldn’t have happened, and the whole team would have been stressed and anxious. The grant meant that WDSA was able to pay staff properly to reflect the current cost of living crisis, and being able to do this without plunging the charity into a financial deficit was incredibly important.

Having a supportive, independent local funder, such as Prosper Wakefield district, is a huge benefit to charities like WDSA. It means, as a funder, they are more likely to understand what’s happening in the area. With Prosper Wakefield district being closer to the ground, it enables them to be more responsive. And for Hayley, this local intelligence can’t be understated when funding in deprived areas.

Hayley finished by saying that the grant gave them confidence that the ‘business as usual’ stuff was taken care of and gave them the opportunity to innovate and try new things. As a leader, Hayley felt it made her braver, and has since applied for Lottery funding instead of lots of smaller pots which draws too much time and energy. “This was a real confidence boost because if Prosper Wakefield district believes in us enough to grant £20,000 then we are worthwhile. This is where the magic happens, it justifies me and my charity.”

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