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Crisis and Specsavers partner to expand eye care services

Crisis and Specsavers partner to expand eye care services for people experiencing homelessness 

Crisis, the national homelessness charity, has partnered with Specsavers, the opticians and audiologists, to work to remove the barriers that people experiencing homelessness can face accessing essential healthcare services.

Specsavers has become the first ever corporate sponsor of the Crisis at Christmas campaign and will support the charity as it provides its Christmas services. As is now traditional, Crisis will be providing accommodation, companionship and support, and help with housing, employment and benefits to people facing homelessness.

In addition, Specsavers will help Crisis expand the range of health and wellbeing services it already provides in its Skylight centres across Great Britain. Specsavers will run eye care clinics in five of Crisis’ centres this Christmas, offering free eye tests and providing free glasses to people in need. Over the next year, Crisis and Specsavers will work together to further expand eye care services for people experiencing homelessness across the country.

Research by Vision Care for Homeless People has revealed that more than half of people experiencing homelessness have unaddressed issues with their vision, which can have a huge impact on their quality of life1. This is one of the driving factors behind why Crisis and Specsavers decided to begin their partnership.

Matt Downie, Crisis Chief Executive, said: “Experiencing homelessness has an extremely negative impact on people’s health. But sadly, we regularly see many people suffering and finding it difficult to access health services because they fear stigma or are not easily able to register due to not having permanent addresses. So, we’re delighted to partner with Specsavers, which will allow people we help to receive quality eye care in our Christmas centres.

“With rising costs continuing to impact people’s ability to pay bills and rent, we fear that the numbers of people facing homelessness will grow over the difficult months ahead. This is why the need for our Christmas and year-round services has never been more important and why we need as many people as possible to stand with us. The valued support from Specsavers and its staff will help us continue to help people who desperately need it this Christmas and beyond.”

Peter Bainbridge, UK Managing Director of Specsavers’ optical business said: “Our purpose is to change lives through better sight, as well as hearing, as we know all too well the impact that uncorrected vision or undetected sight conditions can have on people’s quality of life. The fact that so many people experiencing homelessness needs glasses but struggle to access eyecare is just something we can’t ignore.”

Specsavers will also use its wide range of stores to raise awareness and vital funds to support Crisis’ much needed work to end homelessness, through donations and staff volunteering.

Mr Bainbridge added: ‘We are very proud to have partnered with Crisis to help support it’s tremendous and much needed work, in particular the strides the charity is making to improve access to healthcare for people experiencing homelessness. I know many of our colleagues will embrace the opportunity to volunteer and use their skills to help progress this.’

Crisis works with thousands of people experiencing homelessness, providing education, training and support with housing, employment and health. Through its frontline services across Britain, the charity helps people find a path out of homelessness for good.

More than 227,000 people across Britain are currently experiencing the worst forms of homelessness, including sleeping on the streets and on public transport or in insecure and temporary accommodation like hostels and B&Bs. The cost-of-living crisis will see this alarming figure increase further, with many more put at real risk of homelessness as financial pressures intensify.

Specsavers is also supporting the Big Issue Group as part of a broader campaign to break down the barriers that people experiencing poverty and homelessness face in receiving eyecare, as for many, a lack of permanent address prevents them from accessing NHS services. 

1Source: Homeless Voices Research, October 2021

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