A charity that offers free eye care to homeless people will open a clinic in Leeds at the end of the month. It will be Vision Care for Homeless People’s (VCHP) eighth clinic in the UK, with facilities already established in London, Brighton, Manchester and Birmingham.
The clinic, based in the city centre’s St George’s Crypt, will be officially opened on 31 July.
Optometrist Paul Appleson has been a driving force behind the establishment of the clinic, fundraising to make it possible. Earlier this year Mr Appleson completed the Leeds half marathon in the charity’s name.
Speaking about his support for the clinic, the optometrist explained: “A group of us wanted to do something to help the local homeless community, and when the opportunity came up to use our professional skills through VCHP, it certainly solved the dilemma of how to help – it feels like a very positive thing to be involved with.”
Industry firms such as Specsavers, Rawdon Optical, Optoplast and Three Sixty have all donated supplies, from spectacles and cases to eye medication and glazing. The clinic is also supported with funding from the Charles and Elaine Sykes Foundation.
Chair of the Leeds VCHP team, Caroline Clarke, confirmed that the clinic would be open Mondays from 10.30am–3pm. “After a year of careful planning and fundraising, the clinic will be open. We aim to make a real difference to the lives of people who need it the most,” she said.