Haywards Heath Sightsavers funds doubled by government

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Money raised in a bid to help blind people around the world has been doubled after a visit from a government minister.

International development minister Baroness Northover visited Haywards Heath-based charity Sightsavers on Thursday.

She announced the money raised for Sightsavers’ A Million Miracles Appeal will be doubled to £9.7m – enough for the charity to carry out 320,000 operations for visually impaired people.

Baroness Northover said: “Sightsavers, based here in Haywards Heath, is helping hundreds of thousands of people in some of the poorest parts of Africa to regain their sight through their Million Miracles appeal.

“Trachoma and cataracts are diseases which cause both physical and mental distress, as people can lose their sight and their livelihoods.

“The UK government has matched public donations to this appeal so together we can help victims of debilitating diseases to return to work or education, giving them back their independence and control of their own lives.”

Sightsavers’ A Million Miracles Appeal launched in October but the appeal continues until 2018 with the aim of raising £30m for operations like cataract procedures.

Caroline Harper, chief executive of Sightsavers, said it was an ‘honour’ to have a visit from the Baroness.

“We were thrilled to be able to tell the Baroness about the life-changing work we do, and thank her for her department’s ongoing support,” she said. “For just £30 we are able to give sight back to people.”