A helping hand for homeless
PEOPLE experiencing homelessness have been given a helping hand by Specsavers.
More than two dozen volunteers from Specsavers, including clinicians and optical assistants, spent time at eyecare clinics that were performing eye tests. They were set up and run by Specsavers in regional Crisis at Christmas centres as well as supporting the Vision Care for Homeless People clinics in London. Collectively, nearly 200 people received vital eye care.
‘Changing lives is at the heart of Specsavers’ purpose, and it was wonderful to work with our charity partners to give people experiencing homelessness a helping hand in terms of eye care,’ says Bryony Allen, who volunteered at a London clinic. She is an optometrist and part of the Specsavers Clinical New Talent programme.
‘Other Specsavers colleagues also found it hugely rewarding volunteering at clinics in London, Oxford, Swansea, Birmingham and Newcastle. A number of Specsavers practices ran their own eye care clinics for the homeless during the festive period as well, which highlight how we aim to change lives.’
Colleagues from the Bicester, Kidlington and Ipswich practices, and the Derby 1 Home Visits domiciliary service were among those to provide their own clinics.
The support for the clinics follows the launch of Specsavers’ partnership with Big Issue Group and Crisis last year. Big Issue vendors throughout the country have also been issued with gift cards which they can redeem in any Specsavers store to access an eye test and glasses if they need.
They can also access OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography) scans. Specsavers has supported Vision Care for Homeless People for years and is helping the charity set up additional clinics throughout the UK as well.
Specsavers has also made an ongoing commitment to supporting the homeless with a specific focus on removing barriers they might face getting eye care, as in many cases a lack of permanent address stops them from accessing NHS services.
Specsavers will be calling on the government to change that in the long term. In the meantime, Specsavers is aiming to support as many people experiencing homelessness as possible with free eye care.