Leeds Rhinos rugby player Anthony Mullally has officially opened Vision Care for Homeless People’s (VCHP) clinic in the city that will offer free eye care and spectacles to homeless people.
Speaking as he cut the ribbon at the St George’s Crypt-based facility, Mr Mullally said: “I believe that people in a fortunate position like myself have a responsibility to give more than we take. I don’t understand why, in this day and age, people are living on the street – it is something that has always bothered me. Leeds Rhinos has a policy of going out to the community – giving people an option in life is great.”
The Leeds clinic is VCHP’s eight facility to open across the UK. It already has clinics in London, Brighton, Birmingham and Manchester.
The clinic has been funded by and will be staffed by the optical profession. Rawdon Optical has pledged to glaze the spectacles that the clinic prescribes free of charge.
Highlighting the importance of the work of the charity, VCHP’s chair, optometrist Elaine Styles, explained: “Homeless people do not prioritise eye care and often do not feel comfortable about going into a High Street opticians. The sad reality is that 35% of people we see have a functional vision impairment without glasses, and we have seen power ranges from +17 to -20 dioptres. There is so much that we can do to help people get their life back on track.”
The Leeds service is being run by local optometrists and is led by Caroline Clarke.