Social Impact Grants Assessment Panel (SGAP) – Vision Foundation

Social Impact Grants Assessment Panel (SGAP)

To ensure that our grant-making activities are fair, transparent, and guided by expert advice and knowledge, we have an advisory committee to advise on our grants and impact work.

Headshot of Eleanor, against a blue background. Eleanor is a white woman with dark brown hair which falls past her shoulders. She is wearing a teal green jumper with a colourful chunky beaded necklace.“We’re delighted to be working with such a high calibre group of people: they are all experts by experience who will bring their different professional backgrounds to our grants assessment process. This means we’re able to get solid independent advice on which projects to fund from a group of people who are committed to a fairer future for blind and partially sighted people.” Eleanor Southwood, Director of Social Impact

The Committee provides independent advice to the Board of Trustees, particularly with reference to funding recommendations, however, all final funding decisions remain with the Board of Trustees.

David Clarke, Chair

David is Chief Executive of Paralympics GB and was previously Director of Services and Chief Operating Officer at RNIB. In addition to these incredible achievements, David is also a Paralympian and blind footballer.

Diagnosed with glaucoma as a baby, David has been blind his entire life, but has used his condition, and the opportunities that it has presented him, to beat a pathway in business, in sport and in the charity sector.

David had a successful career in banking spanning 24 years. Alongside his work he used his love of football to represent his country on 144 occasions including at the 2012 London Paralympics. In 2018, David moved from the banking world into the third sector. In March 2023, David revisited his love of sport to become the CEO of Paralympics GB.

In June 2023 David was awarded an OBE in the first King’s Birthday Honours List for his services to Paralympic sport.

Marsha De Cordova MP

Marsha is MP for Battersea, Balham and Wandsworth and Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Eye Health and Visual Impairment.

Marsha has served as MP for Battersea since 2017 and was previously a Labour Party councillor in Lambeth, London. In Parliament, she has been advocating for her constituents and businesses in Battersea on a range of issues including on the economy, the repercussions of Brexit, on housing, promoting a greener future, and opportunities for young people.

Marsha was previously the Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities from 2020 – 2021 and the Shadow Minister for Disabled People between 2017 – 2020. She has a proud history of working in the voluntary sector for over 10 years before becoming an MP.

Marsha was born with Nystagmus and is registered blind. She has dedicated much of her life to campaigning for disability rights and is passionate about equality for all.

Steph Cutler

Steph is a consultant providing coaching to disabled people and supporting organisations to become more inclusive and disability confident.

Steph started her career in fashion design, but when she experienced sudden sight loss she became personally and professionally interested in disability, and removing the barriers disabled people face.

Making Lemonade is Steph’s consultancy, born out of her experience and the desire to be an advocate of disability issues and a champion of diversity and inclusion.

Cathy Low

Cathy is Director of Partnerships at the Thomas Pocklington Trust. Cathy re-joined TPT as Director of Partnerships in May 2021 following four years as CEO of London Vision. She was previously Director of Stratford Renaissance Partnership and had various roles in Local Government, including partnerships, regeneration and community development.

Cathy has lived experience of sight loss and was diagnosed with Stargardt disease as a teenager.

Mike Nussbaum

Mike brings his lived experience of sight loss as a Trustee to the Shaw Trust, and has a background in community development and regeneration.

Mike has over 50 years of public service as an active and committed volunteer. He has also sat on the Board of RNIB, Guide Dogs, Vision UK and The Equality and Diversity Forum.

Mike is passionate about the added value which volunteers can bring to organisations as well as the personal benefits of volunteering.

Bhavini Makwana

Bhavini is Campaigns and Projects Officer at the Thomas Pocklington Trust. She is also the chair of BAME Vision and an Ambassador and London Facilitator for Retina UK.

Bhavini has Retinitis Pigmentosa and has a guide dog called Colin.

Natalie Doig

Natalie is an accessibility consultant with more than 20 years’ experience working in the disability and equality rights field. She is currently Scope‘s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Advisor as well as a member of TfL’s Independent Disability Advisory Group.

Natalie is partially sighted and has worked and volunteered for many sight loss organisations throughout her career including on Vision Foundation’s Grants and Impact Advisory Committee.

Darren Harris

Darren is a dual Paralympian (football and Judo), England’s Blind Football Captain, a speaker, facilitator and coach.

Darren received a life-changing diagnosis of cancer in both eyes aged 15 months, and would eventually lose his sight. In 1995 after graduating with a maths degree, he spent the next nine years working as an IT professional by day and a blind football amateur by night.

He ended his career as an England blind footballer in 2019, having made 162 appearances and won 10 world and European medals. He now shares his experience of overcoming adversity as a coach and motivational speaker.