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Brighter future for homeless people as eye clinic network expands

Brighter future for homeless people as eye clinic network expands

THOUSANDS more people experiencing homelessness will see a brighter future thanks to a network of eye health clinics tripling in size.

 

The Vision Care for Homeless People (VCHP) charity has plans to grow its seven clinics to 24 over the next five years – expanding from England into Scotland and Wales – with help from Specsavers.

With many homeless people unable to easily access eye care, these clinics provide a free comprehensive, high quality optical service.

The collaboration between VCHP and Specsavers is already bearing fruit with the next clinic set to open in Bristol in October – news marked by a special launch in the city attended by about 50 people, including Specsavers founder Dame Mary Perkins, the Shadow Leader of the House of Commons, and the chair of the charity.

Elaine Styles
‘We are thrilled by this growth in our service, which will enable thousands more people experiencing homelessness to see a brighter future,’ said VCHP chair Elaine Styles. ‘The VCHP team is working hard to make sure more people experiencing homelessness receive the essential eye care they desperately need.’

Shadow Leader of the Commons Thangam Debbonaire, who is MP for Bristol West, said: ‘In order to break down these barriers, providing a quality health service is the first step. And being able to help someone see better, there cannot be a more transformative change to someone’s life.

‘We are proud you have chosen Bristol. By addressing inequalities, we can unlock the potential of so many people.’


Specsavers founder Dame Mary Perkins said: ‘As part of our long-term commitment to improving eyecare accessibility for all, we have pledged to help people experiencing homelessness in particular as they are frequently disadvantaged when it comes to healthcare.

‘Our mission statement is to change lives through better sight and hearing. We will not solve every problem, but we can do our part. This is a bold step forward, opening doors to new opportunities to improve access to eye care for all,’ she said.

Specsavers has a long-running relationship with VCHP with Dame Mary becoming a patron of the charity in 2014. As well as donating free frames and optical equipment, Specsavers has also helped fund the charity’s expansion.

The new clinic is due to open in Bristol’s Compass Centre in October and to support its delivery, Specsavers and VCHP have formed a user group to better understand the needs of people experiencing homelessness. Insight from this group will also inform how accessibility for other disadvantaged communities can be improved.

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