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Great News: audio grant for Infosound

We are coming to the end of our 2016/17 financial year and wanted to bring you up to date with recent grants we have made and new relationships being forged.

In May 2017 we made a grant of £3388.60 to Infosound.

Infosound is a very small charity based in Brighton, with a big reach, providing a free news and information service, in audio, to over 25,000 blind and partially-sighted people across Great Britain.

Central to the service, and essential to its daily operation, is a small recording studio. They are totally dependent on the sound equipment, which is used every day, being reliable. Everything from recording interviews over the phone, volunteers reading news and information items to editing, compiling and disseminating the audio features, hinges on having this audio kit. Much of their equipment was over 40 years old and in urgent need of being replaced before it failed completely. Without new kit their service would ultimately fold.

Rowland Myers is the Managing Editor and is best placed to describe what Infosound is all about.

The core of Infosound’s service is the professional production of frequently-updated, individual audio features on a broad range of topics relating to living with sight loss, such as products and aids, finance, leisure and holidays, mobility, health, employment and training, consumer issues, travel, hobbies, daily-living advice and support and the issues of the moment.

Being able to access information on a whole range of topics related to living with sight loss in an accessible format – audio – is a major requirement in the daily life of someone unable to read printed literature. Information as diverse as new adapted products or services, holidays that cater for blind people, employment and training opportunities, local events and informal gatherings is key to overcoming some of the disadvantage, discrimination and isolation associated with the physical disability of sight loss.

Providing information in audio can make a big difference to the daily lives of thousands of blind and partially sighted people, opening up new possibilities and signposting sources of support and advice. As many vision-impaired people are also on low incomes, the fact that our news and information service is free is, we know, much appreciated. People want clear, helpful and impartial information that can help towards living a fuller and more independent life as well as combating the social isolation, loneliness and depression that sight loss can often cause. Good information is also key to giving people better chances in life and encouraging greater integration with their local communities and mainstream society.

Over the years, many blind and partially-sighted people in Great Britain have come to depend on our free and impartial news and information service and many new listeners are taking-up Infosound every month.”

Our work with Infosound goes back to December 2016. They are a charity that fits perfectly with our aims and ethos and we had to help. We have been developing the idea of “matched funding” and decided to make an offer to Infosound to fund new audio equipment as long as they raised from other sources 50% of the cost. Infosound had no track record in raising funds but took on the challenge. Eventually they raised £1000 which would have given them £2000 to spend. It was clear that this was not enough. We decided to make a larger grant to enable the core parts of the audio equipment to be replaced which would cost about £4400. The new kit should all be in place by mid-Summer and Infosound can look forward with some security. We are now talking to them about making a second “matched funding” grant to meet the cost of the other audio items that are needed. Our foundation is keen to build a long term relationship with this wonderful charity.

One new area we would like to share with you is our aim to help with hospice care for cancer patients. The trustees have always been supporters of charities that work in cancer research and care. To get the ball rolling we have made a grant of £500 out of our Small Grants Pot (SGP) to Cancer Research UK in memory of a family member Mr Roland Parry.

However the trustees want to explore opportunities to make a more substantial grant to support hospice care. We are talking to Willowbrook Hospice in Prescot, Merseyside about a project. Early days so more about this later in the year.