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Helping others

Optometrist donates his time to testing the sight of homeless people

Ben Richardson

A Reading-based optometrist is donating his time to help those in need, volunteering at Vision Care for Homeless People (VCHP).

Ben Richardson, who works in Vision Express’ Reading store, recently spent time at London's Crisis Centre where the charity provides a free sight test clinic for homeless people.

Having volunteered before, Mr Richardson is keen to do so again. “The patients are of all ages and from different backgrounds, but everyone is so appreciative – it was very fulfilling,” he said. 

“For me it's important to offer my skills, not just donate money. If I can give up my time to give homeless people access to eye care services that could stop them losing their sight, it makes all the hard work getting my degree truly worthwhile.”

Government statistics show that homelessness is on the rise, with 4134 people sleeping rough for at least one night in England, in 2016. That is double the number reported in 2010, demonstrating the need for charities such as VCHP to offer this healthcare service.

VCHP runs a constant recruitment drive for volunteers to help within the six clinics that it runs across the UK.

For more information, visit the charity’s website