The donation, by the Gallagher team based in Kings Hill, West Malling, was through the firm’s ‘Making a Difference’ scheme - a nationwide initiative which invites colleagues from across its UK office network to nominate charities to receive vital funding for projects.. Gallagher is one of the UK’s largest insurance brokers, supporting businesses and individuals with their risk management and insurance needs.
KAB, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, provides rehabilitation services for children and adults with visual impairment in Kent and the surrounding areas to help them to live full and independent lives. Founded in 1920, initially to support servicemen blinded during the First World War, the charity now works with over 12,500 people across Kent, operating from offices in Maidstone, Canterbury, Gravesend, Dover, Medway and Bromley. As well as offering practical support and training for visually impaired people in day to day skills such as using public transport, cooking and using a computer, and providing counselling services, the charity also runs education and training programmes in local communities to raise awareness of preventable sight loss.
The funding will go towards the purchase of a new mobile sight centre, which will enable KAB to reach visually impaired clients who may be rurally isolated, and are unable to access one of its existing sight centres, or those who require a home visit. Set to be on the road by spring 2021, the vehicle will carry an extensive range of equipment designed for use by people with sight impairment, including state of the art reading technology that uses magnification and speech software. The mobile unit will also be used to hold sight awareness workshops and pop-up sessions at venues such as community centres and schools throughout Kent.
Gallagher’s West Malling office has worked closely with KAB for a number of years, and received a nomination for the Philanthropic Partner Award at the KAB Awards event in 2019 in recognition of the team’s contribution to the charity. As well as participating in regular fundraising initiatives for KAB, such as a sporting challenge in April 2020 which involved team members running 2.6 miles backwards, the team also offers hands-on support to the charity, including helping out at KAB’s annual Sight Matters exhibition in Canterbury, which showcases new technologies and equipment from a range of exhibitors.
Charlie Cooper, Account Handler in Gallagher’s West Malling branch, said: “As a local community broker, we play an active role in the areas which where our clients are based. We are proud to support local causes such as KAB, which provides invaluable support to visually impaired people to help them achieve fulfilling lives, while raising awareness of eye health among the general public.
“We are delighted to contribute towards this important new facility, and help KAB continue its vital local work by engaging with even more visually impaired people across Kent, and we look forward to continuing our partnership with the charity in 2021.”
Sue Piper, Head of Fundraising for Kent Association for the Blind, said: “We are thrilled to be the recipient of this £5,000 grant from Gallagher. Not only will we be able to provide additional training and information to people with a sight impairment, but we will also be able to raise awareness of the importance of good eye health as we tour the county. We have been so fortunate to build a strong relationship with Gallagher’s West Malling branch and the team have done an amazing job in supporting us throughout this difficult year. Long may this relationship continue.”