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Opchat Magazine Charity PageCharity News, July to September 2016

 

 


VISION 2020 UK announce Astbury Award winner.

VISION 2020 UK holds round table event on Certificate of Visual Impairment.

Irvine Aitchison Memorial Fund Celebrates Golden Anniversary As Applications Open for Student Travel Bursaries.

Teachers urged to look at vision.

A new poster has been developed for the OWB Fund.

Essilor UK sponsors charity cycling event.

VISION 2020 UK announce WESC Foundation as a new member organisation.

ADASS updates position statement on vision rehabilitation in collaboration with VISION 2020 UK and RNIB.

Vision Direct and Fight for Sight launch #ThinkUV Campaign.

SeeAbility’s free easy read resources support eye care services compliance with new NHS Accessible Information Standard.

VISION 2020 UK hosts Dementia and Sight Loss Day in collaboration with NHS England.

Actor Ben Miles, Patron, VCHP speaks out about the charity.

Boots Opticians climb African mountain for charity.

VISION 2020 UK call for nominations for the Astbury Award 2016.

Sight campaigners demand urgent overhaul of services for people with learning disabilities


VISION 2020 UK announce Astbury Award winner.

September 2016

The winner of the 2016 Astbury Award has been announced this week at a ceremony at The Federation of (Ophthalmic and Dispensing) Opticians in London.

Astbury AwardNow in their third year, the awards, named for former VISION 2020 UK Chair and inaugural recipient Nick Astbury, were set up to recognise work that fosters excellence in collaboration within the eye health and sight loss sectors. Nominations were taken from VISION 2020 UK member organisations.

This year’s winner is the London Employment Programme Pilot, ‘Works For Me’, from Thomas Pocklington Trust (TPT). The pilot programme supports people with sight loss to gain and retain paid employment. Collaboration with businesses, charities and individual professionals gave the programme access to resources far beyond its own capacity including event space, expertise, volunteering hours, professional networks and peer support all of which contributed to some staggering employment outcomes.

TPT is working with Visionary, the membership organisation linking local sight loss charities, to use the learnings from the report to support others in the sector to implement lessons learned about collaborative working.

Highly Commended certificates were awarded to The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) for the See, Plan and Provide campaign; The UK Practice and Development Team (UKPDT); and Mark Godfrey, Project Lead, for the booklet ‘Sight Loss – what we needed to know’.

Alexa Sage, who managed the Employment Programme Pilot, said: “We are delighted to win the Astbury Award. It is a wonderful recognition of this project, which supported people with sight loss to gain and retain paid employment. Going forward, Pocklington's partner, Visionary, will be sharing the learning from an independent evaluation of the pilot by NCVO's Charities Evaluation Services, to support local organisations across the UK in delivering employment services to blind and partially sighted people.”

VISION 2020 UK CEO, Mercy Jeyasingham, commented, “We are very aware of how often collaboration goes unnoticed. Important collaborative work goes on behind the scenes in the various VISION 2020 UK Standing Committees and elsewhere which produces excellent outcomes but receive little acknowledgement. The Astbury Award was created to celebrate this work and to allow us to show how effective and powerful collaboration can be.”

Including the winners there were 12 shortlisted entries for the Astbury Award 2016. Details of all the shortlisted projects can be found at http://www.vision2020uk.org.uk/58863-2/

VISION 2020 UK would like to thank the Optical Confederation for sponsoring the venue for this event.

VISION 2020 UK holds round table event on Certificate of Visual Impairment.

September 2016

VISION 2020 UK, the umbrella organisation which leads collaboration between organisations in the eye health and sight loss sector, has brought together senior representatives from health, social care and the voluntary sector at an event at The Royal College of Ophthalmologists in London.

The round table event, chaired by Professor Carrie MacEwen, President, The Royal College of Ophthalmologists, and with a welcome from John Thompson, VISION 2020 UK Trustee, was an important step in using the Certificate of Vision Impairment (CVI) to improve access to services and data collection.

Delegates heard from a wide range of senior representatives involved in CVI covering a variety of topics, such as the system of data collection and use of data, CVI for children and a Northern Ireland and Scotland perspective. A panel discussion helped to identify and improve understanding of the diverse issues relating to CVI.

Professor Carrie MacEwen, commented, “It was hugely encouraging to see so many partner organisations from both the statutory and voluntary sectors contributing to the event. This diverse group stimulated an excellent discussion and highlighted the benefit to patients and importance of CVI to all those working in eye care”.

Mercy Jeyasingham, CEO, VISION 2020 UK, said, “We were delighted to bring senior representatives from the sector together for this event. This was an important first step in understanding if the current system of certification leads to the support needed for blind and partially sighted people”.

Irvine Aitchison Memorial Fund Celebrates Golden Anniversary As Applications Open for Student Travel Bursaries.

August 2016

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Irvine Aitchison Memorial Fund.

Ahead of the milestone, the Irvine Aitchison Memorial Fund (IAMF) and Vision Aid Overseas (VAO) are inviting optical students to apply for the 2017 bursary.

Janaka SasitharanEach year, the Irvine Aitchison Memorial Fund (IAMF) and Vision Aid Overseas (VAO) offer two bursaries for 2nd year optical students to experience work in Africa through a grant made available by the Federation of (Ophthalmic and Dispensing) Opticians (FODO).

The award, originally supported by FODO forerunner the Society of Opticians in 1966, has so far enabled over 40 students to experience working conditions and eye problems very different from those found in the UK.
This has been invaluable to previous recipients in their future careers, including senior lecturer at Aston University, Hannah Bartlett.

"I was very fortunate to travel to Swaziland as an Irvine Aitchison Memorial Fund bursary recipient”, recalls Hannah. “I had a fantastic experience and learnt so much about eye care in developing countries.

“The trip also provided the opportunity for me to develop my team-working, organisational and communication skills, especially as there was a language barrier to contend with.

“I met and worked with people from such a range of different backgrounds; it provided invaluable life experience.”

The fund commemorates its first chairman, Irvine Aitchison, co-founder of Dollond&Aitchison, who played a prominent role in promoting the Opticians Act (1958) and was a founder member of the General Optical Council.

Irvine Aitchison’s sense of adventure, combined with an unfailing demand for high standards in education, led The Trustees of the Irvine Aitchison Memorial Fund to work with Vision Aid Overseas to give optical students a chance to work on an overseas project and expand their skills and horizons.

David Cartwright Chair of the IAMF said: “The Irvine Aitchison Memorial Fund was originally set up to hold annual educational lectures, but more recently has sponsored optometry students to embark on overseas projects.

“We are extremely proud to reach such a significant milestone and celebrate the incredible opportunities that have been created over the past fifty years through education and travel.

“We invite optical students from the UK and Ireland to apply for the 2017 bursary and we look forward to creating more opportunities for young volunteers and hopefully setting them on a path to become the optical leaders of tomorrow.”
Image: IAMF Bursary student Janaka Sasitharan dispensing glasses to patient in Zambia

Teachers urged to look at vision.

August 2016

Jane Partridge at VCHP

Teachers who are thinking about the term ahead are encouraged to make use of an on-line lesson plan which focuses on vision care for homeless people.

The plan, prepared by a London teacher, has the breadth to be tailored for a wide age range of children, by using inspiring resource material. This includes the Phil Collins track “Another Day in Paradise”, and an Andrew Motion poem about a prosperous barrister who ends up on the streets in “What is Given”.

As part of the PHSE element of the curriculum it encourages children to think about homelessness and raising funds for the charity Vision Care for Homeless People which has centres in London, Manchester, Brighton and Birmingham.

Now in its 12th year, it helps hundreds of dispossessed people to better vision each year.

You can download the VCHP Lesson Plan Here

 

 

A new poster has been developed for the OWB Fund.

August 2016

New Poster

 

In an effort to raise their profile a new poster for the Optical Workers’ Benevolent Fund has been designed recently.

 

The fund is too often forgotten and yet is existance is a lifeline to those that have worked in the industry often for a lifetime and fallen on hard times.

 

 

Ill health, issues of aging and genuine problems faced by those who work within manufacturing optics may be eased by a grant from the Optical Workers’ Benevolent Fund, which evolved from the Wiseman Trust fifteen years ago.

 

Since then the charity has helped those who have suffered from heart attacks, needed help with mobility aids and assistance with home decoration. Much needed respite breaks for long term carers are also a source of support offered by the OWBF.

Essilor UK sponsors charity cycling event

August 2016

Essilor Charity cycleEssilor have once again agreed to sponsor this year’s Cycling for Sight event which is now hosted by the charity Vision Aid Overseas (Incorporating Optometry Giving Sight UK).

Essilor will be sponsoring the event for a generous £5,000 which is enough to help Vision Aid Overseas provide 1,000 children and adults living in Africa access to eye tests and spectacles which can completely change their lives.

Children like 11 year old Adams from Zambia who, until he was prescribed spectacles, could not see the blackboard properly and was falling behind at school and adults like tailor Philippe from Burkina

Faso whose brand new spectacles meant he could once again see properly to do his work and support his family.

Director of Corporate Social Responsibility at Essilor Nigel Corbett said “Essilor’ s Mission is Improving Lives by Improving Sight and we are committed to our partnership with Vision Aid Overseas to help bring eye care solutions and services to the children and adults who need our support around the world”

In addition to sponsoring the event, Essilor will also be supporting five of their employees to attend the annual cycling event organised by CET provider Eyecare on Sunday 28th August 2016 in the Lake District to get involved and cycle for sight.

Essilor cyclist, Elliot Millard said 'by participating in the Cycling for Sight Challenge it makes you think of how something as necessary as an eye examination and spectacles are not available to so many people.

Cycling for Sight will help raise money and potentially have a very significant impact on the work done by Vision Aid Overseas, it’s a no brainer.'

If you would like to sponsor a Vision Aid Overseas event or any of your employees to attend a Vision Aid Overseas event like Essilor, please email andy.holliday@visionaidoverseas.org or call 01293 535 016

VISION 2020 UK announce WESC Foundation as a new member organisation.

August 2016

VISION 2020 UK, the umbrella organisation which leads collaboration and co-operation between organisations across the eye health and sight loss sectors, has announced WESC Foundation - Specialist Centre for Visual Impairment, as a new member organisation.

WESC Foundation, formerly the West of England School and College for young people with little or no sight, is a specialist day and residential centre for young people and adults with visual impairment including complex needs in Exeter, Devon. The centre offers a unique experience for young people and adults with visual impairment, and their commitment is to excellence and innovation at a national and international level.

They provide high-quality education and care that increases learners’ opportunities and raises their expectations.

The addition of the WESC Foundation marks an exciting step for VISION 2020 UK as it expands its portfolio of membership organisations which currently includes 50 professional and public sector organisations and charities, including major eye health professions and sight loss charities.

VISION 2020 UK CEO Mercy Jeyasingham, commented, “We are delighted to confirm the WESC Foundation as the newest VISION 2020 UK member. This membership shows a great commitment to collaborative working, and we anticipate a strong, fulfilling working relationship in the coming years.”

Tracy de Bernhardt Dunkin, WESC Foundation’s CEO, said: “Our membership of VISION 2020 UK will allow us to work collaboratively with other members, and with VISION 2020 UK itself, to improve the future for the young people we work with.”

WESC Foundation is a member of VISION 2020 UK effective immediately.

ADASS updates position statement on vision rehabilitation in collaboration with VISION 2020 UK and RNIB

August 2016

The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, a charity that promotes high standards of social care services and influences social care legislation and policy, has updated its position statement on vision rehabilitation.

The statement, produced in collaboration with VISION 2020 UK and RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People), was first issued in 2011 and reissued in December 2014. The updated statement reflects new evidence and changes in legislation.

The statement puts blind and partially sighted people at the centre to ensure that they receive the outcomes they need to lead independent lives.

The statement sets out how the Care Act relates to vision rehabilitation and draws from the ‘Seeing it my way’ framework, and the Adult UK eye health and sight loss pathway, which are both central to VISION 2020 UK. It also addresses RNIB concerns that not enough blind and partially sighted people are referred for vision rehabilitation support.

Pete Fahy, ADASS Policy lead for Physical and Sensory Impairment, commented, “The ADASS position statement still has vital role to play in setting out key components of service and what local authorities should be providing. However, the policy context had moved on since the last version and needed to reflect current legislation and practice guidance.”

Tara Chattaway, RNIB’s Policy and Campaigns Officer Social Care and member of the VISION 2020 UK Rehabilitation and Low Vision Committee, said “The current statement has been really valuable, and has helped to ensure that the key principles are reflected in Care Act regulations and guidance. I was delighted be involved in updating this vital statement.”

This updated statement by ADASS Physical and Sensory Impairment and HIV/AIDS network has been developed by ADASS, VISION 2020 UK and the RNIB. Please find full statement here:

http://bit.ly/2b8G6iV

Vision Direct and Fight for Sight launch #ThinkUV Campaign.

August 2016

Vision Direct and Fight for Sight are urging the nation to protect their eyes and think about the dangers of ultra-violet (UV) rays this summer.

Take a selfieEurope’s largest online contact lens retailer and the UK’s main eye research charity have joined forces to start #ThinkUV. As part of their new campaign, they’ll be encouraging everyone to take a sunglasses selfie and help raise funds for pioneering research into sight loss prevention.

The campaign is designed to highlight the importance of looking after your eyes in the sunshine and to protect them from harmful UV rays. Many people are proactive in protecting their skin with sun block, but often forget that too much sun can be just as damaging to your eyes. Over exposure can even lead to conditions such as cataracts or macular degeneration.

A good quality pair of sunglasses can block up to 95% of UV radiation, and can even help reduce the amount of glare that reaches your eyes.

To help spread the word, Vision Direct is asking everyone to post a selfie-style photo of themselves wearing their sunglasses to Instagram,Twitter and Facebook using the hashtag #ThinkUV. Participants have the chance to win a £300 Amazon voucher and a free pair of sunglasses from Vision Direct.

Vision Direct has pledged to donate £3 to Fight for Sight for every customer that takes part in the #ThinkUV challenge from Monday 1st August until 16th September 2016. For the duration of the campaign £3 from every pair of sunglasses Vision Direct sells will also be donated to the charity.

To help Fight for Sight fund vital eye research, you can also donate via text:
Just text THUV16 £3 to 70070. (You can give up to £10 at a time by altering the donation amount).

Director of Marketing at Vision Direct, Ashley Mealor, added: “We are proud to support Fight for Sight and the important work they do in pioneering eye research across the UK. Sight is the sense people are most afraid of losing and through supporting charities like Fight for Sight we can help to fund new treatments to restore vision.”

Fight for Sight’s Chief Executive, Michele Acton, said: “We are delighted to be working with Vision Direct to highlight this important issue that people need to take care of their eyes in the sun. We are urging the nation to support the fight for sight and take a #ThinkUV selfie and raise vital funds for eye research at the same time.”

Get involved and show your support by donating today and sharing your #ThinkUV selfie

SeeAbility’s free easy read resources support eye care services compliance with new NHS Accessible Information Standard.

August2016

AIS seeabilityBy 31 July 2016 all providers of NHS and publicly funded adult social care services must have fully implemented NHS England’s Accessible Information Standard. Its aim is to make sure that disabled people have access to information that they understand and communication support they need.

This includes making information available in easy read, which is helpful for many people with learning disabilities and affects opticians and hospital eye clinics across the country.

SeeAbility has a wealth of easy read resources which are free to view and download and can help eye care services to be compliant with the Accessible Information Standard. Factsheets like ‘feedback from my optometrist’ give easy read information about common situations faced by people with learning disabilities.

The resources are available on SeeAbility’s website and Gordon Ilett, optometrist, has endorsed their value: “The well designed resources available from SeeAbility are very helpful in allowing those in the optical sector to meet the Accessible Information Standard.”

“Patient information in easy read format is essential in enabling patients with learning disabilities to participate in decisions about their own eye care.”

For more information read on.

VISION 2020 UK hosts Dementia and Sight Loss Day in collaboration with NHS England.

July 2016

Vision 2020 on DementiaOver 200 delegates from the vision impaired and dementia sectors came together at an event in Birmingham this week. The event, created to increase understanding of the prevalence and issues with vision among people with dementia, featured experts from the eye health sector tasked with enabling better care and improving the quality of life for this growing group within the UK.

VISION 2020 UK, the umbrella organisation which leads collaboration and co-operation between organisations with an interest in eye health and sight loss, hosted the one day forum at Sight Village Birmingham to help increase understanding of the problems faced by those affected by vision or visual perception conditions and dementia.

There are 850,000 people with dementia in the UK, 7 out of 10 of those are living with another medical condition or disability. The awareness of the particular difficulties faced by those affected by vision and visual perception conditions and dementia is very low and the day was designed to allow delegates to understand the issues and ideas.

The event was CPD accredited by the Royal College of Ophthalmologists and attracted over 200 delegates from across different sectors including Rehabilitation Officers, Dementia Coordinators, Eye Clinic Liaison Officers, Sensory Loss Social Workers and Orthoptists.

Paul Ursell, Consultant Ophthalmologist at The Royal College of Ophthalmologists, Consultant at Epsom & St Helier University NHS Trust and Chair VISION 2020 UK Dementia and Sight Loss Committee, commented, “This multi-disciplinary day was created to help raise awareness of treating patients with sight loss and dementia with dignity, while understanding the clinical standards required. We have emphasised the need for professionals to recognise their own role in supporting those with dementia and sight loss and how to facilitate better care and improvements in the quality of their lives.”

VISION 2020 UK Operations Manager Matt Broom, commented, “The issues of dementia and sight loss are not well understood in either the dementia or the vision impaired communities. This day was set up by our Dementia and Sight Loss Committee to address the gaps in knowledge and to enable people to engage and learn from the work being done by experts in the field.”

This event was hosted by the VISION 2020 UK Dementia and Sight Loss Committee in collaboration with Health Education England in the West Midlands, NHS England West Midlands Local Eye Health Network and Sight Village.

Actor Ben Miles, Patron, VCHP speaks out about the charity.

July 2016

Ben Miles

 

"Vision Care for Homeless People is an organization that I am very, very proud to be associated with," said Ben Miles. "For many years now, VCHP has been quietly, constantly, providing a life changing experience for countless people who would otherwise have no opportunity to improve their sight.

" Sight is arguably the most empowering of all the senses – particularly for those in perilous circumstances such as homelessness, danger and isolation. Seeing well gives us scope; it enables us to communicate with others; it can keep us safe from harm. Seeing is not only believing, as the saying goes, but surviving also."

" One of the many impressive things I have noticed about VCHP is its dynamism and logistical excellence. Their ability to work together as a team and in tandem with volunteers and the many optical companies who donate so much is superb. This is particularly the case during the Christmas season."

" As part of their Crisis At Christmas service, VCHP have always been able to harness both goodwill and practical support from people in the most efficient manner. Over 12 years, VCHP have carried out more than 3,000 eye examinations, which has made a profound difference to the lives of so many. The spirit of Christmas - of reaching out to those we do not know with a helping hand and a charitable heart – is very much alive and at work with this remarkable organization."

 

Boots Opticians climb African mountain for charity.

July 2016

Boots on the mountainOn Thursday 16th June 2016, twelve employees from Boots Opticians embarked on a once in a life time experience to Tanzania to climb the great Mount Kilimanjaro to raise funds for the 1 in 10 people in Africa who can’t see properly because they need spectacles.

The event was pioneered by Boots Opticians Senior Development Manager, Oliver Warner in 2015 to raise funds for Vision Aid Overseas’ 30th Anniversary.

Oliver said “It feels like it has been a long time in the making, but it most definitely felt worth-while arriving at the summit with the sun coming up and the whole team reaching the peak together”.

Another climber, added “The whole experience was absolutely incredible; I loved every single minute of it and didn’t want to come home. Tanzania is so beautiful and the people were so friendly and welcoming.
Knowing we’ve raised so much money is really rewarding too – I know the money will make a huge difference to so many people living with vision problems in Africa.”

So far the team have raised an incredible £39,000 with the total still rising as sponsorship money continues to be sent in.

The funds raised by Boots Opticians will help Vision Aid Overseas to continue to help more children like Adams from Zambia who, until he was prescribed spectacles, could not see the blackboard properly and was falling behind at school and adults like tailor Philippe from Burkina Faso whose brand new spectacles meant he could once again see properly to do his work and support his family.'

VISION 2020 UK call for nominations for the Astbury Award 2016.

July 2016

VISION 2020 UK, the umbrella organisation which leads collaboration and co-operation between organisations with an interest in eye health and sight loss, are calling for nominations for the Astbury Award, named for former VISION 2020 UK Chair and inaugural recipient Nick Astbury.

Vision 2020The VISION 2020 UK Astbury Award is given in recognition of work that fosters excellence in collaboration within the eye health and sight loss sectors.

Last year’s winner, Rachel Pilling, was awarded for excellence in collaboration, working with The Bradford Learning Disability Eye Service. The service has brought together community health, hospital eye services, education, voluntary sector, patients and carers to improve access to eye health for adults and children with learning disabilities. Due to an exceptional entry the judging panel also recognised Andy Cassels -Brown with an award for lifetime achievement.

Nominations are taken from VISION 2020 UK member organisations. However nominees do not necessarily have to work in, or be trustees or volunteers of, the organisation. Nominations are assessed according to impact/outcome by an independent and impartial panel of judges.

VISION 2020 UK CEO, Mercy Jeyasingham, commented, “We are delighted to announce we will once again be recognising the hard work, commitment and dedication of those working in the eye health and sight loss sector. The Astbury Award 2016 will build on the excellent foundation of effective and collaborative working fostered by Nick and last year’s award. We invite representatives from all of our member organisations to join us in celebrating and recognising the benefits of partnership working across the whole sector.”

To submit your nomination, please visit the VISION 2020 UK website: here

The closing date for nominations is Friday August 12th. The winner will be notified in August and the award is due to be presented at an event at The Federation of (Ophthalmic and Dispensing) Opticians in London, on Monday 19th September.

Sight campaigners demand urgent overhaul of services for people with learning disabilities

July 2016

Eye health experts have called for a national scheme of longer, tailored sight tests for people with learning disabilities who are more likely to suffer problems or need glasses.

Campaigners used a parliamentary reception last week to launch a national petition demanding a better deal for the one million adults with learning disabilities.

Launching the petition calling on the NHS to act, David Scott-Ralphs, Chief Executive of SeeAbility, said: “One-in-ten adults with learning disabilities will be blind or partially sighted and around half; (six out of ten) – won’t have had a sight test in the recommended period.

At the event, hosted by Lord Holmes of Richmond MBE and sponsored by SeeAbility and the Optical Confederation, MPs and peers heard personal testimonies from people with learning disabilities explaining the life-changing effects regular, tailored sight tests can have.

Lending his support to the campaign, the Minister for Disabled People, Justin Tomlinson MP, recognised that uncorrected visual problems were an often overlooked barrier to people with learning disabilities meaning they could miss out on meaningful employment.

Following the reception David Scott-Ralphs said: “It was a fantastic event and Rt Hon Alistair Burt MP, the Minister for Community and Social Care, spoke again about his experience visiting Perseid School – a special school where SeeAbility runs a sight testing programme - an ‘amazing’ service he said he will never forget.”

Henrietta Alderman, from the Optical Confederation, said: “Investing in community eye care is a cost effective way of helping people with learning disabilities stay independent and prevents unnecessary sight loss.”

SeeabilityMore than 20 MPs and peers, including Alistair Burt, were among the delegates at the reception on July 5 where the petition was launched.

For more information and to sign the petition, visit https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/133239.

The photo includes, from left to right: David Scott-Ralphs – Chief Executive, SeeAbility, Katrina Venerus – Managing Director, Local Optical Committee Support Unit and Lord Holmes of Richmond MBE

SeeAbility is a UK charity supporting people with sight loss and multiple disabilities. As well as providing specialist support (housing and care), we have a wealth of information including easy read factsheets about eye care and eye health; details of optometrists who can support people with learning disabilities to have an eye test and access good eye care. They also offer training in eye care and vision and they run a project delivering sight tests and eye care in special schools.

There are an estimated 1,068,000 people with learning disabilities in England. (Read here)

SeeAbility’s new report ‘Delivering an equal right to sight’ and a link to the petition is available at www.seeability.org/equalrighttosight

It finds studies have shown that up to half of adults with learning disabilities have not had their eyes tested in the recommended period, and that four in 10 children in special schools have never had a sight test. This is despite the high risks of sight problems they face:

 

 
 
 
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