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Giving back this year

As we look ahead and begin to make our New Year’s resolutions for 2018, I am reminded that it’s not too late to make a difference this year

30 Nov 2017 by Emily McCormick

As OT 's mail bag of cards and party invites bulges a little more as every week passes in the build up to Christmas, I was reminded through a Vision Care for Homeless People (VCHP) event that it is important to give back too.

The charity, which was established in 2003 to provide free eye care and spectacles to homeless people, has announced plans to raise access to eye care for homeless people by 40% by 2020.

This is a large rise from the 9% that it is estimated to receive eye care through the charity currently.

Having launched an Eye Health Alliance in partnership with the Thomas Pocklington Trust, Pathway Healthcare and the Optical Confederation, the charity explained that it aims to reach this goal by raising awareness of the issue, and lobbying all healthcare pathways and those associated with homelessness care.

The charity already runs clinics in London, Brighton, Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham and Exeter.

It will be expanding its work in order to be able to cater for more people by establishing more mobile clinics and opening more regional centres in 2018.

“A mobile bus would be the dream, so any businesses interested in sponsoring such a venture would be warmly welcomed,” optometrist and chair of VCHP, Elaine Styles, shared.

For those practitioners who wish to support VCHP in its goal, volunteering their time and skills to help test and dispense spectacles at one of their clinics is always welcomed.

In the immediate future, the charity is also seeking volunteers to help it deliver its services during the annual Crisis at Christmas initiative, during which a range of professionals, including opticians, dentists and hairdressers offer their services.

Crisis for Christmas runs for eight days in Crisis centres across the UK. In London, six teams of VCHP volunteers will visit the various Crisis at Christmas centres for homeless people across London daily.

To find out more and to volunteer, email amanda.hall@crisis.org.uk

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