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Boots tackles literacy challenge in the UK

Boots Opticians backs pledge to raise literacy levels in the UK

Ben Fletcher

Boots Opticians has signed a pledge highlighting its commitment to help raise literacy levels across the UK.

The commitment, which sees the multiple take lead signatory on a Literacy Business Pledge 2016 by the National Literacy Forum, focuses on three specific areas, including literacy in the workplace, in the local area and at a national level.

Raising literacy levels is supported by National Literacy Forum Partner, professional services provider KPMG, which estimates that a failure to master basic literacy skills costs the taxpayer up to £2.5bn annually.

Managing director of Boots Opticians, Ben Fletcher (pictured), said: "We strongly believe that the optical profession has a big role to play in supporting young people in the UK with their education and literacy, especially those in deprived areas. 80% of a child's learning occurs through sight and an undiagnosed vision problem can affect a child's ability to concentrate for long periods of time and delay reading development."

As part of the initiative, Boots Opticians employees will be volunteering in schools, supporting community programmes and fundraising. In order to support staff, the multiple has been giving two volunteering days to perform this work. This equates to 90,000 hours to support the National Literacy Trust.

Mr Fletcher added: "Signing the Vision for Literacy Business Pledge made perfect sense, and our missions are closely aligned. We look forward to taking a collaborative approach with National Literacy Trust and other like-minded businesses to support the enjoyment of children's education and literacy."

For more information, visit the Literacy Trust website.