Royal Blind School wins £45,000 of National Lottery funding

Press Release | 08/05/2018

A school for blind and partially sighted pupils has won £45,000 of National Lottery funding thanks to help from the public.

The Royal Blind School in Morningside, Edinburgh, was one of five groups in the East of Scotland in the running for a share of up to £150,000 of funding from the People’s Projects – an annual competition in which members of the public can vote for their favourite cause.

And on Thursday staff and pupils were delighted when they were surprised with the announcement by STV2 for their Live at Five show.

The school was one of three organisations to win the top level of funding thank to votes from the local community. The school will use the grant to purchase specialist equipment for outdoor lessons and for specialist playground equipment that can be used by children with disabilities.  

Royal Blind School Depute Head Teacher, Dominic Everett, said: “We are absolutely over the moon to have secured the funding which will go towards enabling our pupils to learn and play outside. We are so grateful to everyone who voted for us and I am very proud of our pupils and staff who represented the Royal Blind School throughout the Peoples Projects campaign.

“Too often children with a vision impairment are unable to access play areas in the same way as their sighted peers. They are not able to experience the freedom and exhilaration of outdoor play.

“With this funding we will be able to enhance Sensory Play, Active Play and outdoor learning through the creation of a kitchen garden. Pupils can help grow fruit and vegetables from seed to the kitchen. Crucial things that sighted people take for granted but need to be taught to and nurtured with our children and young people. The courtyard improvements will have a significant impact on the development of pupils at the Royal Blind School.”

Now in its 13th year, the Big Lottery Fund, STV and The National Lottery teamed up to give the public a chance to decide how National Lottery funding should be put to good use in their local area.

Martin Cawley, Director for Scotland of the Big Lottery Fund, said: “As the largest funder of community activity in the UK, we are proud to support grassroots groups that are using the vision, determination and drive of local people to strengthen communities. The People’s Projects showcases the best of these and is a chance for you to have your say on how National Lottery funding can benefit your local community.”

Designed to celebrate some of the incredible projects the Big Lottery Fund has supported over the past year, 95 community-based schemes were shortlisted across the UK. In each region, the three with the most public votes will receive grants of up to £50,000. This will help them to continue their work to improve local people’s lives. The entire amount up for grabs across the UK is a life-changing £3 million.

Royal Blind School pupil, Connor, added: “I am very excited. I like running and playing outside because it makes you feel free. We have lots of good ideas for what the Courtyards will be like.”