New VCHP clinic opens in Gloucester

The clinic has recruited 13 volunteers for its Monday sessions, and is looking for more


Vision Care for Homeless People has opened a new clinic in Gloucester.

The clinic, which has been in planning for six months, runs out of Gloucester City Mission and opened its doors on 24 April.

It provides eye tests, eye care and glasses to homeless people in the area on Mondays.

The clinic is run by optometrist, Karen Gennard, who spoke about the process of setting up a clinic with the support of VCHP and the area’s Local Optical Committee at 100% Optical

The opening of the Gloucester clinic was originally planned for autumn 2021, but the previous location became unsuitable at the last minute and a new venue had to be sought out. 

The new clinic will be run by volunteers, and the chair is optometrist Peter Greedy.

Announcing the new clinic on LinkedIn, Greedy said: “The clinic provides for the most vulnerable in our society - the homeless, people in shelter from abuse, and refugees. These people fall through the cracks of the system.” 

Greedy encouraged potential volunteers who can spare time once a month to get involved with the new clinic, adding that an optometrist and dispensing optician or optical assistant, as well as a chaperone, is needed for each clinic.

Chaperones don’t need qualifications but require “a willing and compassionate disposition,” Greedy said.

13 volunteers have so far signed up to assist the clinic, VCHP trustee, Janice English, told OT, and the clinic will have the capacity to see eight people per Monday session.

Gloucester City Mission is a newly opened building, which also includes a shelter and an education and training centre.

Support has been given by Gloucestershire Eye Therapy Trust, which purchased an iCare tonometer for the clinic, and Alvaro Borges of the Local Optical Committee Support Unit, who initiated the project with Gloucestershire Care Commissioning Group.

The new VCHP Gloucester clinic runs on Mondays between 10am and 5pm at Gloucester City Mission, 72 Eastgate Street, Gloucester, GL1 1QN.

Those who want to volunteer should get in touch with the charity’s new volunteer operations manager, Helen Harms, via email.

Lead image: Karen Gennard, who runs the Gloucester VCHP clinic