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The gift of sight

Charity encourages practices to reach out locally to provide sight tests for the homeless at Christmas

Man trying on spectacles at VCHP
Vision Care for Homeless People (VCHP) is encouraging optical practices across the UK to reach out to homeless centres in their local areas and provide free sight tests and spectacles to homeless people over the Christmas period.

Established in 2003, the charity provides eye care to the homeless and today operates clinics in London, Leeds, Manchester, Exeter, Birmingham and Brighton.

At Christmas, VCHP and a team of optical volunteers provide sight tests and spectacles to those who require them through London initiative, Crisis at Christmas.

This year the charity is calling on practices across the UK to do the same.

Optometrist and chair of VCHP, Elaine Styles said: “We know from our weekly regional clinics that London is not the only place in the UK that needs optometry services at Christmas for the dispossessed. We are urging practices to reach out to their local homeless centres and discuss providing a service in their community. This may be within the practice or as a domiciliary service within the refugee centre.”

Last year more than 80 volunteers helped run VCHP Christmas clinics in conjunction with Crisis across London, with 327 homeless people attending.

Overall, in 2018 VCHP provided sight tests, and spectacles when required, to 2000 patients.