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Charity News, May - June 2015

World Sight Day Challenge announced

Essilor to match first 10K for OGS

OGS/World Sight publish adverts for display. Can you help?

Peoples Panel added to Vision UK 2015

Vision Care for Homeless call for volunteers as homeless struggle with sight

Vision UK 2015 poster entrants shortlist announced with competition judges

Full Vision UK 2015 Speaker Programme Confirmed

Lord Holmes of Richmond announced as Vision UK 2015 keynote speaker

Fight for Sight Chosen as 100% Optical Charity Partner

World Sight Day Challenge – raising funds for people in need of vision care

June 2015

“It’s bad, really bad. They are not having any eye care. Not at all.”

WSDC LOGOThat’s how Dr. Carl Dumas, an ophthalmology resident working at the Public Eye Hospital in Haiti described the state of eye health in his country, which has a population of 11 million people and only 3 optometrists.

Now in its 9th year, and coordinated by Optometry Giving Sight, the World Sight Day Challenge invites eye care professionals, their staff, patients, industry partners and students of Optometry to raise funds throughout September and October to help the 600 million people around the world who are needlessly vision impaired, including those in Haiti. This year, Optometry Giving Sight in the UK is joining forces with Vision Aid Overseas in their 30th Anniversary year to support them, and achieve more together.

“Participation in the Challenge is fun and easy to do,” said Clive Miller, CEO of Optometry Giving Sight. “Whether you choose to write a cheque, purchase a wristband, take part in Optics Cycling for Sight, become a monthly donor, run a promotion such as I Care & Share, or get involved in fundraising, this is the time when the global optometric profession and industry rallies together to ensure that all people can gain access to the vision care they need.”

World Sight ChallengeMr. Miller said that fundraising activities in the practice, office or school are always a highlight of the campaign. Last year saw practitioners shaving their heads; practice staff proudly wearing their t-shirts throughout October; companies finding creating ways to engage their staff and management (having the boss wash a staff member’s car is always worth paying for!); patients happily joining in the fun, and students trying to win the coveted Global Fundraising School of the Year Award!

“Our patients really appreciate us getting involved in the World Sight Day Challenge and this really does create a buzz amongst our patients, staff and community,” said Mr Jeremy Heynes, Director of Barraclough & Stiles Opticians East Sussex.

The World Sight Day Challenge has contributed to supporting the funding of 72 projects in 42 counties, offering millions of people access to the eye care they need. This year the challenge invites the UK optical profession to take part and help both charities achieve even more together.

“We have the opportunity to make a direct impact by having fun in our day to day activities whilst eliminating avoidable blindness due to the simple need of an eye examination and spectacles – a very empowering role that I invite everyone to join in with." said Nicholas Rumney, Optometry Giving Sight National Committee Chair & Trustee.

To register to take part and receive your free kit of materials, donate, or pledge your participation please visit email:

Essilor UK Limited to match first 10k raised by cyclist for Optics Cycling for Sight

June 2015

Essilor UK Limited has pledged once again to support those cycling for sight, and match the first £10,000 raised in donations. Last year’s activities achieved over 9,000 miles being cycled up and down the UK and funds raised which Essilor UK limited generously matched.


The goal this year is to collectively cycle 25,000 miles, the equivalent to around the world and raise £1.00 for each mile cycled by World Sight Day, Thursday 8th October. For those that wish to take the challenge can do as little or as much as they want. Previous participants have done anything from cycling 10 miles to 1,000. It all makes a difference and every mile counts. This can be done anywhere in the country, on your own, a static bike or as part of group.

In addition, for those that would like to join an organised cycle there is the opportunity to take part in a CET cycle event by organised by Eyecare on Sunday 30th August between Bridlington to Scarborough with different distance options. All millage counts towards the grand total.


“It’s a great pleasure to support this wonderful initiative once again, and we hope it only encourage more participants will join and reach the collective 25,000 mile goal.” Explains Mike Kirkley, Essilor UK Limited Managing Director “It’s very rewarding to be part of helping to develop sustainable eye care around the world, and it’s initiatives like this that allow people to take part in an enjoyable challenge whilst making a real difference.”

This support will help Optometry Giving Sight to fund sustainable eye care projects. Optometry Giving Sight is also joining forces with Vision Aid Overseas in their 30th and supporting them in their anniversary this year, with the mission to achieve more together.

Donna Power, Optometry Giving Sight Regional Manager, Europe, said, “On behalf of both charities we are incredibly thankful to Essilor UK Limited for their generous support, not only does this support those that need access to eye care, but also supports those taking part who know their efforts are being doubled.”

OGS provides Advertisement for placement till September following their recent launch of the campaign.


Following the media release launched last month for Optics Cycling for Sight, OGS have now provided the graphics for an advert (half and full page options) for any possible placement from now until September.

They will also have the general World Sight Day Challenge advert prepared and released shortly.

Any support you can give in sharing this would be greatly appreciated. To download Full page Ad click here, & Half page click here

People's Panel added to Vision UK 2015

May 2015

For the first time the conference will feature a ‘People's Panel’ which will be chaired by Vidar Hjardeng MBE, Diversity Consultant for ITV News. The panel will feature expert speakers who are blind or partially sighted and will share their reflections on the key actions for delegates to take away from the conference.

When discussing this year’s panel, Vidar Hjardeng said, “I am extremely pleased to chair the People’s Panel. Engaging individuals who are blind or partially sighted and listening to their opinions will provide an invaluable insight for all delegates. It’s critical that eye healthcare support and services are focused on meeting the needs of the individual.”

Offering their insight and expertise on the People's Panel will be:

• Stream 1: Making the case for improving eye health
Chris Sumner, Chair of Devon Insight

• Stream 2: Transforming patient care to ensure timely treatment and support
Liz Wick, Specialist Advisor, Care Quality Commission

• Stream 3: Empowering adults with sight loss to regain their independence
Ellie Southwood, Vice Chair of the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) Group

• Stream 4: A world without barriers for children and young people
Tuesday Berry and Matthew Clark, representatives from “Haggeye”, RNIB’s youth forum

• Stream 5: Social inclusion: transforming lives through digital technology
Chris Lewis, Telecoms Industry Analyst

As well as the People's Panel the conference features a poster competition, an interactive exhibition, and a networking reception where delegates can connect and reconnect with colleagues.

Vision UK hopes that you will join them for this year's exciting conference in its new format and venue of Central Hall, Westminster. Thursday, 18 June 2015

Vision Care for Homeless appeals for volunteers

May 2015

The UK’s homeless are struggling to function with prescriptions of up to -20.00 dioptres. This is just one of the shocking findings of volunteer optometrists at Vision Care for Homeless People. Optometrists and dispensing opticians are urgently required by the charity to work at the London, Birmingham, Manchester and Brighton centres.

Elaine Styles with patient“Some professionals are put off from volunteering because they don’t know who they’ll meet. The majority of those who come to us for help are marginalised people who live in hostels or are sleeping on a friend’s sofa: they just do not feel comfortable about going into a High Street opticians,” said charity chair, Elaine Styles.

The complete optician’s practices are kitted out with equipment donated by many UK companies. “Suppliers have been so generous: it was always my aim to provide a comprehensive optician’s practice, but within an approachable environment for homeless people. So far we have seen more than 9,000 patients,” added Elaine.

“Our volunteers normally come for a session just once a month and they find it tremendously rewarding. Other practitioners may volunteer occasionally to fit in with their busy work and family lives: this helps us to cover the holidays of our regular volunteers. The service is greatly valued and it is a shame when we are not able to open up the practice because of a lack of volunteers.”

Since opening eleven years ago, volunteers have picked up some serious pathologies and helped thousands to regain their self-respect with the aim of getting back to work.

“A lot of people need help to be able to read a job application form before they can get started, and even providing ready readers is a solution for many. Homeless people face barriers to accessing health care but are more in need of eye care than the general population. Receiving eye care within our centres from a caring team makes them feel safe. Our patients are so grateful for what we do.”

To find out more visit




Vision UK 2015 poster entrants shortlist announced with competition judges

May 2015

Organisers of the Vision UK 2015 have today announced the successful poster abstracts that will be showcased at the one day conference on Thursday 18 June in Westminster Central Hall.

This year, entrants were invited to produce posters that showcase a piece of work or a project that demonstrate effective collaborative working to deliver the UK Vision Strategy.

A panel of experts including Mary Bairstow, National Development Manager for VISION 2020 UK, Simon Labbett, Rehabilitation Workers Professional Network and Dr Kate Flynn, Evidence and Service Impact, RNIB judged the entries and selected 24 submissions to be presented at the event. Poster authors will be on hand to discuss content with delegates between 12.30 and 13.30 during the Vision UK conference.

Lesley-Anne Baxter, VISION 2020 UK Trustee and Cathy Yelf, Chief Executive of the Macular Society will be judging the posters at the Vision UK 2015 conference and will present poster awards for each of the three UK Vision Strategy outcome areas. New to this year’s conference is the People’s Choice Award, chosen by delegates. Winners will be announced by Vision UK 2015 Chair and NHS Alliance Director of Policy, Michael Sobanja during the afternoon plenary session at the Vision UK 2015 conference

Sally Chandler, UK Vision Strategy Planning and Performance Manager said “We have been delighted to receive such high quality entries for this year’s Vision UK 2015 poster competition. The successful abstracts showcase some of most innovative and exciting projects taking place across the eye health and sight loss sector to deliver the UK Vision Strategy. We hope delegates will find the posters inspiring and thought provoking”.

Abstracts are available for preview at:

Vision UK 2015 will be held at Westminster Central Hall on Thursday 18 June and remains open for delegate registration. Book now at:

Full Vision UK 2015 speaker programme confirmed

May 2015

Recently added Vision UK 2015 speakers include:

Stream 1: Making the case for improving eye health
• Darren Shickle, Professor of Public Health, University of Leeds
• Dr. Kenneth O’Neill, Clinical Director NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde

Stream 2: Transforming patient care to ensure timely treatment and support
• Richard Wormald, VISION 2020 UK Trustee, Consultant Ophthalmologist
• Paul Wood, Social Care Policy & Legislation, Department of Health

Stream 3: Empowering adults with sight loss to regain their independence
• Simmone Miller, Visual Impairment Lead Officer, London Borough of Lewisham
• Mhairi Thurston, Lecturer, University of Abertay

Stream 4: A world without barriers for children and young people
• Emily Davison, ‘Fashioneyesta’
• Tuesday Berry and Matthew Clark, Haggeye

Stream 5: Social inclusion: transforming lives through digital technology
• Kiran Kaja, Google
• Dr Stephen Hicks, Research Fellow in Neuroscience and Visual Prosthetics

Stay up-to-date with the latest Vision UK 2015 news by following us on Twitter @UK_Vision #VisionUK2015.

Lord Holmes of Richmond announced as Vision UK 2015 keynote speaker

May 2015

Lord Chris Holmes of Richmond MBE has been announced as keynote speaker for the Vision UK 2015 conference on Thursday 18 June 2015 at Central Hall Westminster in London.

Titled ‘Working together to deliver the UK Vision Strategy’, the seventh annual Vision UK event will feature a brand new format, with delegates able to choose from one of five conference streams, focused on delivering aspects of the UK Vision Strategy and tailored for different professional interests.

Lord Holmes is Britain’s most successful Paralympic swimmer, with a tally of 9 golds, 5 silvers and 1 bronze. Since going blind unexpectedly at the age of 14, he has been a lifelong campaigner for equality and inclusion. In the House of Lords, Chris takes a special interest in diversity, inclusion, education and the economy. Chris is a non-Executive Director at the Equality and Human Rights Commission, and currently divides his time between his parliamentary work and various speaking, consultancy and charitable commitments.

Lord Holmes said: “I am delighted to be the keynote speaker for this year’s Vision UK conference and look forward to sharing my personal experience as a campaigner. In my speech I will highlight what I see as some of the key issues the Government will seek to address over the next Parliamentary term to ensure inclusion for people with sight loss, and earlier detection of eye conditions”.

As well as being the event’s keynote speaker, Lord Holmes will also speak as part of the Vision UK stream 5 ‘Social inclusion: transforming lives through digital technology’, where he will discuss his work on the Parliamentary Committee for Digital Skills.

Vision UK is the only conference for the whole of the eye health and sight loss sector, bringing together health and social care professionals, leaders from health and eye care organisations, government decision makers, representatives from the voluntary sector and blind and partially sighted people.

Book your place at Vision UK 2015 now by visiting:

Fight For Sight chosen as charity partner for 100% Optical 2016

May 2015

Catherine Woodhead, Director of Fundraising at Fight for Sight said: "Following the success of 100% Optical we're delighted to be named charity partner for the 2016 show. We're determined to continue to raise awareness of Fight for Sight's mission to create a future that everyone can see through pioneering eye research and the show gives us that platform to do so. We're confident the 2016 show is going to be bigger and better."

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