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Opchat Magazine Charity PageCharity News, April to June 2018

 

 


Vision Express sets sights on macular disease with latest Vision Van tour.
The WCSM Education Trust launches 3rd an-nual bursary.
A new training pack designed to help adults with learning disabilities, understand the importance of eye health.
New Director for RNIB Scotland.
The WCSM announce grant to boost "VI" sport in London
5 Ophthalmologist travel awards made by WCSM
Vision Express reveals the line-up for its 30th anniversary Ride4Sight cycle team.
Edinburgh City Council to ban advertising boards from the streets of the capital applauded by sight loss charity RNIB Scotland.
Essilor supports two schools.
RNIB Scotland and Diabetes Scotland to receive award.
Welcome to the start of the THE BIG BLIND WALK 2018!
Julian Jackson (BBW) to feature in BBC Countryfile
Read the archived Charity News for 1st Quarter 2018

Vision Express sets sights on macular disease with latest Vision Van tour.

June 2018

VE Vision Van supports Macular Week
National optical retailer teams up with charity partner, the Macular Society, for Macular Week (25th June – 1st July)

As the UK welcomes Macular Week (25th June – 1st July), Vision Express is taking its new Vision Van on the road to raise awareness of the importance of regular eye tests – as new research reveals one in three people know someone with macular disease.

Macular disease affects more people in the UK than Alzheimer’s, yet many people remain unaware of what it is and who is affected. A new survey, conducted by leading sight loss charity, the Macular Society – a charity partner of Vision Express – has shown only 63% of people know of the condition, despite there being 600,000 people living with it in Britain, and another 200 people diagnosed every day. By 2050 the number of people with macular disease is expected to double to more than 1.3m.

This Macular Week, Vision Express is working closely with the Macular Society, taking its Vision Van to eye health hotspots, and highlighting the vital role regular sight tests play in detecting conditions like macular disease early.

The Vision Express Vision Van was launched in March 2018 and has since journeyed the length and breadth of the UK offering free eye tests to the public. This week, it will be stopping at: Cardiff (Tuesday 26th-Wednesday 27th June) and Gloucester (Thursday 28th June), before heading to Truckfest West Midlands and Wales in Malvern (30th June-1st July), to educate commercial drivers on the potential dangers of driving without roadworthy vision.

Jonathan Lawson, CEO at Vision Express, said: “We are delighted to be working with the Macular Society again this year and applaud the important work they are doing to raise awareness of this sight stealing condition.

“Although a cure for most macular disease is yet to be found, some macular conditions can be treated if detected early enough. Having regular eye tests is vitally important to help prolong healthy eyes, and for those already diagnosed with the disease, advice from our expert optometrists can make a real difference to a customer’s quality of life.”

Macular disease reduces your ability to see colours or make out fine detail. People affected are often unable to drive, read, watch TV or recognise the faces of their closest friends and family.

To highlight the devastating impact losing your sight can have, the Macular Society has produced a short film to raise the profile of the debilitating condition. The film, launched during Macular Week, follows the journey of a mother who is losing her sight to macular disease and is struggling to see her son grow up, and can be viewed here:

The WCSM Education Trust launches 3rd annual bursary.

June 2018

WCSM Bursary 3rd Year
The Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers (WCSM) Education Trust is pleased to announce the launch of its 3rd annual Bursary Award Scheme offering new students starting optical training courses in the UK in Au-tumn 2018 the opportunity to apply for a bursary of up to £1,000. towards the costs of qualification.

The bursaries are designed provide additional financial support at the start of a programme of study, with the aim of attracting and keeping talented individuals in optics. Full details of the application process are available on the WCSM website

Applicants will be asked to explain what had inspired their interest in their particular branch of the optical profession and how the bursary would make a difference to their studies.


Over the past 2 years of the scheme the interest and competition for the awards has been high. Recipients have come from over 10 different train-ing institutions representing all branches of the professions. Each year 1 or 2 of the winning recipients are invited to a Court Lunch of the WCSM where they are able to meet and network with leaders of the optical pro-fessions.

Professor Chris Hull, Chairman of the WCSM Education Trust, said “We are delighted at the success of the scheme. It is really important that we keep working to attract talented individuals into all branches of optics for the future of the professions. We have seen inspiring applications and we are excited to see what the 2018 applications will hold”

Image: Past winners from City, University of London celebrate their achievement

A new training pack designed to help adults with learning disabilities, understand the importance of eye health.

June 2018

RNIB Healthy Eyes Pack 
‘Healthy Eyes’ will help users to recognise possible signs of sight loss in themselves, and also in family and friends. It explains what to do if they think their sight is getting worse or have a problem with their eyes.

The pack has been developed by sight loss charity RNIB, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Glasgow Caledonian University and the Good Life Group, and supported by the Scottish Government.

Linzi Sansum, UK Training and Development Officer with RNIB, said: “The Healthy Eyes pack aims to help increase the individual’s confidence when attending an eye examination and be aware of what is good and bad for eye health.”

The pack can be used within a group setting for adults with learning disabilities and requires a facilitator to lead the session. It will be available on a USB, which includes a guide for the trainer and video clips of scenes acted by The Good Life Group of adults with learning disabilities.

“We look forward to the Healthy Eyes pack being distributed and used within group settings,” said Linzi. “We hope this will be something new and exciting for adults with learning disabilities to learn more about sight loss themselves and to raise awareness of ‘hidden’ sight loss.”

“The videos include clips of a woman with sight loss, Jenna, showing short scenes of her day, followed by discussion around what was happening, the possible signs of sight loss, and the impact this is having. In one scene in a café, for instance, Jenna just orders the same as her friend. We want participants to question, could it be that she is having difficulty reading the menu if her sight is getting worse?

“We hope that the training pack will increase awareness of signs of sight loss.”

* If you facilitate a group and would like more information about the ‘Healthy Eyes’ training pack, please contact RNIB UK Adult Social Care Practice and Development Team by emailing UKPDT.Training@rnib.org.uk or phone 0141 772 5588.

New Director for RNIB Scotland.

June 2018

James Adams has been appointed as the new director of the Royal National Institute of Blind People Scotland. A native of Stirling, he was previously the Edinburgh-based charity’s deputy director.

James Adamd RNIB

Mr Adams (41) takes over from Campbell Chalmers, who has been promoted to operations manager with additional responsibilities covering Northern Ireland and the north of England.

Speaking after his appointment was confirmed yesterday [May 31st], Mr Adams said: “I am very privileged to take up this post at an exciting time for RNIB Scotland. We are a stepping-up our approach to empowering blind and partially sighted people, and looking forward to celebrating RNIB's 150th anniversary later this year.

“Our ‘Connect’ community is going from strength to strength, bringing together people with sight loss from across Scotland and allowing them to act as agents for change.

“Since the inception of the Scottish Parliament, RNIB Scotland has been at the forefront of influencing the devolved policy agenda. We have campaigned across a wide area, including the introduction of free eye examinations for everyone living in Scotland, the provision of sight-saving treatments on the NHS, accessible public transport and, most recently, ensuring that the new Scottish Social Security system is accessible to people with sight loss.

Looking ahead, Mr Adams said: “Like most developed countries, we have an ageing population. So sight loss, inevitably, will become a more common feature of our society. It is vital, then, that we act to contain preventable sight loss and maximise the independence of those whose vision cannot be saved.

“RNIB Scotland has an absolutely key role to play in ensuring that blind and partially sighted people can lead fulfilling and inclusive lives. I am looking forward to working with our members and supporters to deliver more change and ensure Scotland is an even better place to live for all those with sight loss.”

The WCSM announce grant to boost "VI" sport in London

June 2018


The Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers’ Charity has awarded its first three year grant to Goalball UK, the only sport specifically designed for the visually impaired, to help the National Governing Body develop the sport in London.

Goalball UK has been awarded the first three-year grant, which attracted a strong pool of applications, exceeding the expectations of the Trustees.

Dr Natalie Briggs, Chair of the Charity said “We were delighted by the number of applicants for our new three-year grant and I am pleased to announce the grant has been awarded to Goalball UK. We will be supporting Goalball UK to increase both the awareness and availability of this exciting sport, played by mainly by blind and partially sighted people”.

Goalball was originally developed to rehabilitate soldiers after WWII and is the only Paralympic team sport invented specifically for the visually impaired. Played with raised markings on the floor, blindfolds are used to ensure an even playing field as players locate the ball through sound and ensuring that sighted people can enjoy the sport as well.

In the past four years alone, participation has increased 425%.

The first club in the capital, the London Elephants, launched two years ago. Within six months, it had 58 individual participants – remarkable when there are only 420 people in Greater London aged 5-49 registered blind or visually-impaired.

Commencing in July, the grant will enable Goalball UK to increase provision for the sport in the city, raise awareness and support talent development.

In the final stages of the project, sustainability will be established for each of the new clubs through partnerships and affiliation to Goalball UK, who will help them to secure their future funding.

Mark Winder, CEO of Goalball UK said “We are very aware that there is a shortage of Goalball clubs in London and we are delighted that this project, supported by funding from the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers, will help us to meet this need.

“All too often, visually impaired people struggle to find challenging and enjoyable activities. This can be especially upsetting for those who lose their sight later in life. For example, Laura Perry was a keen rugby and cricket player before becoming visually impaired aged 18. She now plays Goalball internationally with the Women’s GB Team.

“Unlike many disability sports, Goalball offers players the opportunity to progress from amateur to professional player in a remarkably short space of time. The speed with which talented players can be identified and progress through the ranks makes it entirely likely that a potential Tokyo 2020 team would include a player yet to even pick up a Goalball.

“Playing Goalball also helps to increase confidence and engage in vigorous activity to improve well-being and health.

“So whether you aspire to being a Paralympian, or simply want to enjoy yourself and join a friendly and supportive group, Goalball is an ideal choice.”

The Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers’ Charity has a 22-year record of making awards to improve the lives of people with sight loss and to reduce future sight loss.

The Master of the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers’, Felicity Harding, said “I am delighted our Charity has taken the step of extending its range of giving to include a three-year grant and I am look forward to following the success of this project”.

5 Ophthalmologist travel awards made by WCSM

May 2018

The WCSM Education Trust, a charity founded by The Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers to support education and training is pleased to announce the grant of five travel awards to ophthalmologists in training.

The competition was launched for the first time in March to encourage young ophthalmologists who have had a poster or paper accepted at a scientific conference in 2018.

After a careful selection process judged by an expert panel of Liverymen of the Worshipful Company of
Spectacle Makers, the five winners of the travel award are confirmed as;

Dr Tejal Magan from Kings College NHS Trust, London

Dr Derek Ho from Singleton Hospital, Swansea

Dr Ruth Chen from Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham University

Dr Yan Ning Neo from The Royal London Hospital

Dr Darren Ting from James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough

The travel awards are in line with the aims of the bursary scheme launched by the Trust in 2016 to support people starting their first optical training in the UK, from optical assistants and lab technicians to those embarking on degree programmes in orthoptics, optical nursing and optometry.

Professor Chris Hull, Chairman of the WCSM Education Trust, said “Our hope was that the awards will encourage ophthalmologists who are developing their research whilst training and support them to present it, no matter where the location, enabling them to do something which otherwise might not have been possible. The quality of the submitted work was excellent and we wish all winners the best of luck developing their future careers within optics”.

“Trainees are the future consultants and this generous support has allowed me to present and share my work and experience on trainee-led research network with an international audience" said Dr Ting.

"Ophthalmic research done in the UK has been vital in contributing to the understanding of diseases and improvement of therapies, and it is great to see organisations such as the WCSM supporting this." said Dr Ho.

Dr Neo added “I am so grateful. This award has given me the opportunity to share my research findings with a wide international audience and a chance to form potential research collaborations with other likeminded clinicians."

Details of the application process for the 2019 Travel Awards scheme will be released towards the end of 2018.

Vision Express reveals the line-up for its 30th anniversary Ride4Sight cycle team.

May 2018

VE in Rb week
National optician launches fourth charity challenge in aid of the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust

Aiming to smash its fundraising targets and make its 30th anniversary year the most charitable yet, Vision Express has unveiled the 30-strong team who will be riding in this year’s legendary ‘Ride4Sight’ challenge.

Announced during Retinoblastoma (Rb) Awareness Week (13-19 May 2018), the team of all-star riders, which include Vision Express CEO Jonathan Lawson and

Olympians Bryan Steel and Darren Harris, has begun its extensive training for the 2018 ‘Ride4Sight’ cycle challenge which will take place in September on behalf of charity partner, the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (CHECT).

Focusing on all things ‘30’, the fourth ‘Ride4Sight’ led by CEO Jonathan Lawson, incorporates a 300km route climbing altitudes of up to 3000m, in a bid to raise in excess of £30,000 for CHECT.

For the fourth time, Paralympian and CHECT patron Darren Harris will participate, riding on a tandem bike with Olympic cycling medallist Bryan Steel. CHECT Chair & General Manager PepsiCo UK Ian Ellington will also be part of the team.

Olympian Bryan Steel will ride tandem with paralympian and CHECT patron Darren Harris

On the two-day ‘Ride4Sight’, which is sponsored by CooperVision and the Road Haulage Association (RHA), the fundraisers will journey from Vision Express’ headquarters in Ruddington, Nottingham on 13th September to its stores in Hanley, Crewe and Macclesfield. At the stop offs along the way, the riders will be spurred on by local store team members and ambassadors and their families from the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust.

VE in Rb week
The following day, they will return to Nottingham, pausing at the Vision Express Matlock store and the new ‘Vision Express at Tesco’ store in Toton, before crossing the finish line in Ruddington.

Jonathan Lawson said: “Every year we have the ‘Ride4Sight’ it gets bigger and better, and it is really exciting this year to tie our 30th anniversary celebrations into the challenge. Over the past eight years of working with CHECT we’ve looked at new and innovative ways of fundraising and raising the charity’s profile and the ‘Ride4Sight’ is always a great event to do just that. Back in 2016 we raised £27,000 and we can’t wait to embark on our fourth cycle challenge and beat our fundraising target of £30,000 this year.

“Rb Week is the perfect launchpad for ‘Ride4Sight’, as we look to raise awareness of the symptoms of this aggressive eye cancer, and it’s a fantastic way to bring together teams from across our store network and our corporate partners to celebrate our 30 years of trading. The cycle is a real endurance challenge for all involved and it’s great to see so many riders coming back this year to recreate their success from 2016.”



Patrick Tonks, Chief Executive of the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust, said: “Vision Express continues to be a fantastic supporter of the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust, and the funds raised through its Ride4Sight cycle challenge will enable us to continue our vital work with those families affected by Rb.”

Vision Express has enjoyed an award-winning partnership with CHECT since 2010, using initiatives to raise awareness of Rb and drive donations for the charity, so they can help more families affected. It was also the first optician in the UK to roll out a protocol to ensure a quick and effective referral if Rb is suspected.

To keep updated with the Ride4Sight cyclists’ progress, follow #Ride4Sight on Twitter.

Donations can be made online at: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ride4sight2018

Edinburgh City Council to ban advertising boards from the streets of the capital applauded by sight loss charity RNIB Scotland.

May 2018

The move was passed today [Thursday, May 17th] by the council’s Transport and Environment Committee.

Sandra Wilson
Edinburgh-based RNIB Scotland says A-boards and other street clutter can deter blind and partially sighted people from walking outside. Bollards, bins, cars parked on pavements and 'shared space' schemes were among the other most common obstacles encountered.

The charity’s chair Sandra Wilson, who is blind herself, said: "We very much welcome this move to make the capital's streets safer and more inclusive for all residents and visitors with disabilities. It's something our RNIB Street Charter has been pressing for throughout the country. While we want businesses to prosper, our streets should not be an obstacle course to be negotiated.

"A third of blind and partially sighted people surveyed by RNIB said they had been injured by pavement clutter when walking outside. Some felt so intimidated they ended up staying isolated in their homes. This is surely unacceptable.

“I lived in Edinburgh for many years and found it an easy city to get around, despite having no sight. Today it’s a different story. I visit frequently but don’t walk around much because of street clutter.

“A-boards are a particular hazard. They appear without warning, there’s no consistency on where they’re placed, then you walk into them, either hurting or injuring yourself or ending up with a bill for the dry cleaner or the garment repairer. Not a very good recommendation for whatever’s being advertised.

"Personally, I have had frequent encounters with obstacles on the street and three years ago almost broke a couple of teeth on what appeared to be a jutting out railing."

Jimmy Milhench is a white-cane user who lives in Causewayside. “There are obstacles that I negotiate every day,” he says, “three big bins on a street next to a bike that is permanently chained to a lamppost are particularly difficult to get around.

“I think they should take all A-boards away. It's not just an issue for blind people. Prams, wheelchair users, parents holding their kids hands as they walk down the street - anyone who won't be walking single file has difficulty getting past, especially as Edinburgh's pavements are so narrow.

“I normally walk on the same bit of street. When someone puts something new in your way you're not ready for it. A-boards jump out at you.”

RNIB Scotland is also calling on the Scottish Government to strengthen and reinforce existing legislation. It points out that under the 1984 Roads Scotland Act it is an offence to wilfully obstruct free passage along the road and deposit anything which causes an obstruction. The Equality Act 2010 requires public authorities to take reasonable steps to enable disabled people to avoid substantial disadvantages caused by physical features.

Over 170,000 people in Scotland live with a significant level of sight loss.

Essilor supports two schools.

May 2018

Catherine from Livingstone
Essilor and independent opticians are supporting two schools in Africa by bringing vision care to 2,000 pupils.

As part of a programme by Our Children’s Vision, funds were raised to help provide eye care services to these schools for the first time.

During Essilor’s Innovation Conference on Friday 13th April in Birmingham, independent opticians were invited to pledge support for the initiative via a raffle, silent auction and by donating, with all proceeds matched by the lens manufacturer.



“We’re delighted to get behind such a worthy cause and to support these children,” said Essilor’s corporate social responsibility director, Nigel Corbett. “All of the children will have a vision test and will be equipped with spectacles if required. Pupils needing specific treatment will be referred to a medical centre for further investigation. Actions such as this are a fundamental component of our Group mission of improving lives by improving sight.”

A spokesperson from Vision Aid Overseas who are coordinating the Our Children’s Vision programme in the UK said; “Poor vision can derail the life of a child – but in many cases, it is completely avoidable.

Through this initiative, we are ensuring that each, and every child at a school will receive eye care services.  Our Children’s Vision has already reached 18 million children with eye care services, and through the support of programmes like this, we can reach out too many more.”

Visit www.ourchildrensvision.org to support the initiative.

RNIB Scotland and Diabetes Scotland to receive award.

May 2018


AMD effect on Glasgow Scene
The charities RNIB Scotland and Diabetes Scotland have been nominated for a major award for a campaign created to highlight the potential threat diabetes can pose to people’s eyesight.

But they warn that too many people living with the condition in Scotland are failing to attend vital eye-screening examinations that can pick up the first signs of problems.

Diabetic retinopathy, which affects the blood vessels in the eyes, is the leading cause of visual impairment among working age adults in Scotland.

Claire Fleming, communications manager for Diabetes Scotland, said: “According to the latest figures, almost 20 per cent of people in Lanarkshire alone eligible for diabetic retinopathy screening do not have any record of attending for the previous 15 months.

“However, eye check-ups are an essential part of their diabetes care. Screening can pick up early warning signs of damage to the eye so that people can get the treatment needed to prevent permanent damage.”

Across Scotland over 291,000 people are living with diabetes.

RNIB Scotland and Diabetes Scotland have been shortlisted for the Scottish Charity Awards and are urging their supporters to vote for them before May 18th. The award-winners will be announced in June.

Centre piece of the campaign was a 90-second film, ‘How Do You See Scotland’, narrated by Scottish actor and Hollywood star Brian Cox CBE, who is himself diabetic.

The film opens with spectacular aerial images of Scottish scenery that gradually become obscured by dark blotches, mimicking the effects of diabetic retinopathy. In his narration, Cox stresses that attending regular eye-screening appointments is vital in helping people with diabetes to prevent sight loss.

The film was shown in 76 Scottish cinemas during National Eye Health Week last September, widening the campaign’s demographic by 24,500. An estimated 2.4 million people saw the film on cinema screens, social media and the charities’ websites in total.

“We raised awareness of this serious, often symptomless, condition and how permanent sight loss can be prevented through screening,” said Ms Fleming. “Health messages can sometimes struggle to capture attention. Our film sought to subvert the familiar tourism advert, catching audience expectations off guard when the scenery becomes blotchy, before asking ‘How do you see Scotland?’. We were very lucky to have the wonderful Brian Cox as narrator, who is a long-time supporter of Diabetes Scotland.”

In concert with the film, the campaign also released a series of still photographs of iconic Scottish landmarks obscured by the effects of retinopathy, targeted at local newspapers and websites. The same distorted scenery theme was used on postcards sent to 960 health practices throughout Scotland. The campaign closed with a Members Debate in the Scottish Parliament at which Health Secretary Shona Robison spoke.

Ian Brown, senior communications officer with RNIB Scotland, said: “It’s always welcome when two charities can join forces to promote a common area of concern. And diabetic retinopathy is a major priority in saving people’s sight in Scotland. It’s wonderful to be shortlisted for a Scottish Charity Award. We had such amazing help and co-operation from others in making and showing our film.”

You can vote for RNIB Scotland and Diabetes Scotland’s campaign to win a Scottish Charity Award here

Welcome to the start of the THE BIG BLIND WALK 2018!

April 2018

Julian Jackson starts the BBW
Julian Jackson's BBW was featured last night (Sunday 29th April) on the BBC Countryfile programme. PHN/Opchat News are media partners of the 1000 mile walk to provide funds for eye research. Julina contacted us yesterday and encourages all to follow him on socail media.

"I have now set off on my epic walk. I aim to cover nearly 1,000 miles up through Great Britain, having started at 0930 on Sunday 29 April 2018 from Land’s End (Cornwall) and finishing at John O’Groats (Scotland) sometime around 22 June, taking approximately 7 weeks to complete this challenge. Click on the Route button and follow me all the way!



Accompanied and guided by friends and colleagues, , members of the public, voluntary sector representatives and patient support groups, researchers, eye health and health care professionals, I will be visiting eye clinics, eye hospitals and community centres along the route, sharing experiences with patients and practitioners and promoting the wonders of eye research.

Please follow my progress on social media, Blog, News and Route pages. I am wearing a tracker so try and keep pace with me!"

@bigblindwalk, #bigblindwalk, @bbccountryfile @visionbridge1 @primaryhealthnt

Julian Jackson (BBW) to feature in BBC Countryfile

April 2018

Julian JacksonAhead of Julian Jackson's Big Blind Walk (BBW) he has been filmed by the BBC for a shwoing on Countryfile on April 29th. The recording was made in Cornwall.

As reported earlier this year Julian, who became totally blind  in 2010 having been told as a young child that he had Retinitis Pigmentosa and would be blind one day.

To convey the message to others on how people with threatening vision loss could be so much better treated by professionals, optometrists, ophthalmologists and the social services has become his life passion. He will be starting the walk from Land's End to John O'Groats on the day of the BBC showing. April 29th and hopes to raise £350,000 towards  his charity, Vision Bridge and the National Eye Research Centre who will be receiving 70% of all money raised. 

You can follow his journey on his website and check on the timetable here

And join in the fun on Social Media at:

Twitter - @bigblindwalk (can also search as Julian Jackson)
Facebook - Big Blind Walk ‘page' and also 'Julian Jackson’ account
Instagram - @bigblindwalk

PHN through Opchat News and Mylocaloptician are proud media partners of the event. The BBW has its own page on our Charity Listing.


 
 
 
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