The Fight for Sight and Vision Foundation boards have voted unanimously to merge and will work as one organisation from 1 April 2023. United, they will become the only UK grant-maker that changes lives through funding both scientific research and innovative services.
A two-pronged approach. The merged charity will tackle sight loss from both a clinical and social perspective. This is an exciting opportunity for both charities, who are joining to expand their reach and increase their impact.
Crucially, the combined organisation will be grounded in data and insight, both into the science and lived experience of sight loss. With this wealth of evidence they’re determined to leverage further investment into the sector, accelerate clinical progress and improve quality of life.
Laser-focused leadership. The new organisation will be led by Fight for Sight CEO Keith Valentine, a strategic leader in the sight loss sector and a known force within government and industry. Keith also lives with sight loss and will bring authentic and impassioned leadership to the new organisation.
Keith Valentine, CEO, Fight for Sight: “I’m a long-standing supporter of Vision Foundation and have immense respect for all it achieves. Taking that incredible work – as well as our mission at Fight for Sight – onto the national stage is a very big deal. The impact we will deliver for people and families affected by sight loss across the country is immeasurable. This merger will also enable us to grow our funding, which means a stronger, more impactful organisation for the years to come.”
The time to act is now. Every six minutes someone in the UK is told they are losing their sight – life-changing news that is delivered 240 times each day. Sight loss in the UK is on the rise at a time of spiralling living costs, when health and social care services are struggling with demand. The amount of public money spent on the problem is nowhere near adequate – only 1.5% of UK medical research is invested into finding new ways to prevent, diagnose or treat sight loss. This equates to just £9.60 for each person whose life has been turned on its head by sight loss.
The cost of exclusion. When people lose their sight they’re often excluded from society. If you’re a blind adult of working age in the UK, there is only a 1 in 4 chance that you’re working and so visually impaired people can face the financial, social and mental impact of unemployment alongside their disability. Clearly, the current lack of focussed investment in both research and support of people with sight loss comes at a hefty cost to the individual and to society.
Changing the world for visually impaired people. Keith Valentine: “Our cause is too important to miss this opportunity. I’m thrilled to build on what we’ve already done as two separate charities to take us to the next level, because my goal is nothing short of changing the world for people with sight loss.”
Olivia Curno, the outgoing CEO of Vision Foundation, will be stepping away from the charity to take on a national Chief Executive role in the care sector. Regarding her departure, she said: “I am incredibly proud of what the Vision Foundation has achieved in recent years, and can’t think of a better next chapter than joining forces with Fight for Sight and taking our impact to a national stage. Through this merger, we will have the expertise, talent and scale to go on to incredible things, all under the visionary leadership of Keith Valentine.”
- There are currently 5m people living with sight loss in the UK. This is expected to rise to £4m by 2050
- 50% of sight loss is preventable but not treatable
- Only 3% of the sight loss charity sector expenditure is spent on medical research
- If you’re a blind adult of working age in the UK, there is only a 1 in 4 chance that you’re working
- 1 in 12 visually impaired people in the UK is estimated to be a victim of domestic abuse
- 80% of blind and partially sighted people are affected by mental health issues
- Every year, sight loss costs the UK economy more than £25 billion