Go back

UK Government to double donations to FT and Sightsavers’ 2011 Seasonal Appeal

British readers who donate to this year’s Financial Times Seasonal Appeal in aid of Sightsavers will have their contribution doubled by the UK Government.

The seasonal appeal runs from 21 November to mid-January and involves coverage of Sightsavers work, helping change the lives of blind and visually impaired people in the developing world. All donations made by individuals in the UK will be matched pound for pound by the UK Government, in support of the public’s choice to give to this cause.

The appeal already has match funding from Standard Chartered through its community investment programme, Seeing is Believing, meaning every £1 given by a member of the UK public will result in £3 going towards the appeal. Money will be spent providing treatment and operations to improve or restore sight.

Andrew Mitchell, Secretary of State for International Development, said:

“The British public has repeatedly shown its generosity during tough economic times, supporting charities’ life-altering work in some of the world’s poorest countries. We are responding to that generosity of spirit by matching public support for Sightsavers pound for pound – and working with Standard Chartered means the charity can triple its impact.

“A child goes blind somewhere in the world every minute of every day – and those in the poorest countries are at the greatest risk. This extra support could help Sightsavers provide tens of thousands more trachoma operations and hundreds of thousands more eye examinations, giving children a better chance of completing their education, of finding a job, and ultimately of achieving a brighter future.”

Dr Caroline Harper, CEO, Sightsavers, commented: “I am delighted that the UK government is involving the UK public in the way the international aid budget is spent. Of the 39 million people in the world who are blind, 90 per cent live in developing countries. This match funding will have a huge impact on the amount of people we will be able to help through the Financial Times appeal.”

Martin Dickson, Deputy Editor of the FT, added: “This is great news. The match funding from the British government, together with that from Standard Chartered, means that readers’ donations will go much further – an excellent incentive for giving.”

The appeal officially launches on 30 November with a photography auction at London’s Getty Gallery. Articles, which will feature the charity’s work in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Kenya and Nigeria, will appear in the newspaper and online at www.ft.com/appeal

Sightsavers works in more than 30 developing countries to prevent and cure blindness, and to support those who are visually impaired through education and training. Working with its local partners, in 2010 Sightsavers protected over 23 million people against river blindness; performed over 270,000 sight-restoring cataract operations; and treated over one million people for trachoma.  It also supports the vital training of health professionals, the promotion of independence for people who are blind and inclusive education for blind and visually impaired children.

- Ends - 

For more information contact:

Rachel Heald
Sightsavers media team
T: + 01444 446754/ 07775 928253
E: press@sightsavers.org

Emily Gibbs
Communications Executive
T: +44 (0) 20 7 873 3184
E: emily.gibbs@ft.com

About Sightsavers

  1. Sightsavers is a registered UK charity (Registered charity numbers 207544 and SC038110) that works in more than 30 developing countries to prevent blindness, restore sight and advocate for social inclusion and equal rights for people who are blind and visually impaired.  www.sightsavers.org

  2. There are 39 million blind people in the world; 80% of all blindness can be prevented or cured.

  3. In the six decades since its foundation, Sightsavers has:

  • Treated over 206.8 million people for blinding and potentially blinding conditions
  • Carried out over 7.1 million operations to restore sight
  • Trained almost 0.5 million primary eye care workers
  • Carried out rehabilitation training to 91,000 people

About the Financial Times:

The Financial Times, one of the world’s leading business news organisations, is recognised internationally for its authority, integrity and accuracy. Providing essential news, comment, data and analysis for the global business community, the FT has a combined paid print and digital circulation of 585,681 (Deloitte assured, 4 April 2011 to 3 July 2011) and a combined print and online average daily readership of 2.1 million people worldwide (PwC assured, November 2010). FT.com has over 3.7 million registered users and 229,000 paying digital subscribers. The newspaper, printed at 26 print sites across the globe, has a global print circulation of 336,590 (ABC, July 2011).

About match funding from the UK Government

Find out how UKAid is helping the world’s poorest people change their lives at www.dfid.gov.uk/changinglives

  • UK Aid Match is a £30m scheme that will match public donations to fundraising appeals for international development causes. www.dfid.gov.uk/ukaidmatch

  • It is open to any organisation running an appeal in the UK for public donations for poverty reduction work in developing countries.

  • Applications can be made by any not-for-profit organisation, or by an organisation publicising an appeal for a not-for-profit organisation, such as a newspaper.

  • For each successful application, UK Aid Match will provide £1 for every £1 given by the public, up to a maximum of £5m. Matching funding for appeals likely to raise more than £5 million will be considered on a case by case basis. The appeal must be expected to raise a minimum of £100,000 and can run for up to three months.

  • The UK Aid Match scheme fulfils the Government’s pledge to give the public a say in how a portion of the aid budget is spent.

Back to top