Supporter Newsletter – Insight Autumn 2017

Your latest Supporter update, Insight Autumn 2017 – available now!  

The latest edition of your supporter newsletter, Insight, is now available. To view and download the newsletter, please click here.  For a large print version, please click here.

The newsletter is our (small) way to say ‘thank you’ to our supporters for helping fund vital services for blind and partially sighted people. Michael, whose story we feature in this edition of Insight, is testament to what can be achieved given the right opportunities and support.

Michael’s story

Michael was born partially sighted with his vision worsening over the years. Despite his circumstances, he was determined to achieve his full potential. Michael was able to build a successful career in furniture making in a number of senior roles, including as a supervisor overseeing a team of 20 staff.

Photo of Michael with his Volunteer of the Year Award.

Michael with his Volunteer of the Year Award

Unfortunately, following an economic downturn, Michael was made redundant. Although he had over 35 years’ experience to offer, Michael felt that the combination of his sight loss and advancing age meant that it would take a lot to convince a new employer of his worth to their company.

However, within a few months, Michael’s prospects changed completely when his application to work with CLARITY, a GLFB-funded member charity, succeeded. Since then Michael has thrived both as a fully engaged and productive team member at CLARITY and also as a volunteer at a charity that supports sight impaired people live independently. You can read his story on page two.

Order your free legacy booklet and help us build a brighter future.

Gifts left in wills are a significant source of income for the Greater London Fund for the Blind. Please accept our deepest thanks if you have already included the GLFB in your Will. Your legacy gift will enable us to be there for more people like Michael.

If you are considering leaving a gift to help safeguard our work in the decades ahead and would like more information, we would be happy to send you a personal copy of our legacy information booklet. For more information on the booklet, please see page four of the newsletter, or if you prefer to speak to a member of our legacies team please call us on 020 7620 4918.


Thank you from all at the Greater London Fund for the Blind for your continued support of our vital work.

Innovative online housing guide launched

Searching for a new home is about to become a more positive experience for visually impaired people.

An innovative online housing guide developed with funding from Thomas Pockligton Trust (TPT) has brought together a raft of information and advice in one easy-to-access location.

The housing guide for people with sight loss covers a wide range of topics including support for living independently, the moving process, living in a shared house and assistive technology.

The tool which can be found here provides useful suggestions and signposts to over 100 sources for further advice.

Peer-to-peer advice

The authors of the guide worked closely with younger adults with sight loss to gain valuable insights into their experiences of searching for a new home. By co-producing the tool with people with sight loss and sharing personal experiences of visually impaired people who have different life circumstances, the authors have given a valuable platform to peer advice.  For example, the section on ‘options for a future move’ includes a podcast on house-seeking from visually impaired people.

The tool will also be a useful resource to any housing organisation, authority or support service involved in helping a visually impaired person to find a suitable home.

If you have any thoughts on the guide and would like to feedback or you would like more information, you can email TPT directly at

 To find out more about the Thomas Pocklington Trust please click here to be taken to their website.

GLFB logo in full colour

Team GLFB 2017

Team GLFB's Daniel (on the right hand side) pictured with his brother.

Team GLFB’s Daniel (on the right hand side) pictured with his brother

Carlos, Daniel and Dean have made an absolutely fantastic contribution to the Greater London Fund for the Blind.

By running the 2017 London Marathon in aid of the charity, not only have they helped raise awareness of our work but the donations they have generated will help make a direct, positive difference to people living with sight loss.

All three runners were inspired to participate in the marathon in support of visually impaired people through a connection with the cause.

Daniel who’s been a supporter of the charity for almost a decade, saw the marathon as another way to help a cause close to his heart.

Daniel said: “At around 20 miles every part of your lower body aches with each bone juddering stride but then you look around and see all the runners with their charity vests on, see the charity volunteers at the side cheering you all on and you remember why you are running and that frankly a few hours of exertion is nothing compared to what a lot of people cope with and often conquer on a daily basis. To be given the chance to do something small to help such a wonderful charity is a great privilege.” 

Carlos’ father is a long-standing supporter of the GLFB and he chose to pick up the baton and continue the family tradition.

Team GLFB's Dean at the London Marathon 2017

Dean, Team GLFB, at the London Marathon 2017

Like Carlos, Dean is proud of his close family connection with the GLFB and wanted to help boost the charity’s profile and generate much-needed funds in the process. For Dean, the decision to run the marathon was also inspired by his grandparents, both of whom are blind.

“It was an honor to run for such a worthwhile charity! I am proud to contribute,” said Dean.

Please consider making a donation to Team GLFB by clicking on the JustGiving links below.

A lifetime dedicated to music: Baluji Shrivastav

Musician Baluji Shrivastav  has recently been made an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in the Queen’s 90th Birthday Honours list for services to Music.

The Indian-origin instrumentalist has a long and illustrious career, including performances with Stevie Wonder in Hyde Park and Coldplay at the London Paralympics closing ceremony.

Baluji Shrivastav

Baluji Shrivastav

Baluji is also founder of the Inner Vision Orchestra, the UK’s only blind orchestra – an initiative supported by the GLFB – and the Baluji Music Foundation.

Blind since eight months old, Baluji’s courageous attitude to life is reflected in his approach to music. In his recent interview with the GLFB team, Baluji spoke passionately about his personal mission to develop the potential of visually impaired people so that they can contribute to society, become independent, and lead full and happy lives.

On being awarded an OBE
I am totally thrilled and humbled to receive an OBE. It is a validation of a lifetime dedicated to music. It is a precious recognition and affirmation of the work of the Inner Vision Orchestra to demonstrate the power of music to transform lives.

One of the aims of the Inner Vision Orchestra is to give a platform to visually impaired people to increase awareness of their work and talents and in so doing, create access to as many opportunities as they deserve. We may not be able to see, but we want to be seen, and to be heard!

On the role of musicians with sight loss in the music industry
This is an area which merits more research. I commissioned a piece of research, ‘Blind to the Facts’, 20 years ago to examine what difficulties musicians themselves said they experienced.

The Inner Vision Orchestra was formed as a result of the lack of sufficient performing opportunities identified in the report. Musicians with sight loss can be easily marginalised which means missing out on networking – an essential feature of the music business.

I would like to commission research into the UK music industry, to discover how many people with sight loss are employed, and what their roles within it are, how they are recruited, and what opportunities could be further developed and how.

On where his heart lies, musically
I was brought up with classical Indian music – a bottomless treasure chest of melody, rhythm and improvisation that enables me to respond and interact with other kinds of music.

Music is a universal language, and the power of a musician to communicate is not only affected by knowledge of technique, and the ability to listen to others, but on the ability to connect that knowledge with the fundamental emotions of human experience.

On Inner Vision Orchestra’s work
The Arts Council, Welsh Arts Council, GLFB and Islington Community Chest have supported the Inner Vision Orchestra in our 2012, 2013 and 2014 tours, which enabled us to play in some of the best venues in the UK, perform on BBC TV and Radio, and entertain many people. We published a report for venues and promoters to offer guidance on hosting blind performers.

Inner Vision Orchestra

Inner Vision Orchestra

In 2015, together with Dr David Baker from the Institute of Education (IOE), and supported by Arts Council England and British Council, we toured seven regions of India, recording and performing,  and researching  sightless musicians from different regional musical traditions.

It is going to be published as part of the IOE’s continuing research into visually impaired musicians’ lives, which Baluji Music Foundation is also supporting. We hope to bring some of these blind musicians and dancers to play with the Inner Vision Orchestra in the UK.

We are also working on a film about the Inner Vision Orchestra called ‘Colours of Sound’ (working title) set to be completed by the end of the year.

On his latest projects
I am planning a tour of my composition ‘Sitar-Guitar Suites’, trying to fund the Urdu opera I have composed with Italian Golden Globe Award winning film composer Dario Marianelli.

I’m also hoping to record a new classical album with the great tabla player Zakir Hussein for ARC Music Productions International, along with writing  ‘My Life and A Chair’ for Park Theatre.

I’m working on more Inner Vision Orchestra music workshops across London with music and dance for visually impaired people, and organising more performances as well. I have plans to set up an Inner Vision Youth Orchestra, and possibly an agency to find work for musicians with sight loss.

You can help GLFB continue our vital work for visually impaired children and adults in the local community by making a regular online donation, or by leaving a legacy gift in your Will, which will help us safeguard services for future generations.