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Opchat Magazine Charity PageCharity News, July-September 2015


SeeAbility develops National Plan for Eye Care for Children with learning disabilities

The Performance Finance team hot foot it to raise money for charity.

College and AOP are looking for an Administrative Secretary for Benevolent Fund

VISION 2020 UK announce Astbury Award winners 2015

UK Vision Strategy announces free webinar

Clinical priority for eye health its aims and objects for a greater understanding of Eye Health.


Half of people with learning disabilities suffer eye problems

Performance Finance Team will be walking across a bed of burning coals

Surprise retirement of Donna Power at OGS

VISION 2020 UK launches new website and resource hub, today (10th August)

Maui Jim announced as European Silver Sponsors of Optometry Giving Sight

Fight for Sight Chosen as 100% Optical Charity Partner

SeeAbility develops National Plan for Eye Care for Children with learning disabilities

September 2015

SeeabilitySeeAbility is calling for a national plan to meet the eye care needs of children with learning disabilities in England. As a start, they recommend the government and the NHS properly fund specialist sight tests and glasses dispensing in all special schools.

SeeAbility’s Children in Focus Campaign is providing sight tests and glasses in a number of special schools in the London area. SeeAbility found that 37% of children we sight tested had no history of eye care and that they were giving many children, some of whom were teenagers, their first ever sight test or pair of glasses.

If this is replicated across the country then thousands of children with learning disabilities are not accessing their right to a free NHS sight test4, despite the high risk of sight problems and eye disorders in this growing group of children.

Children with learning disabilities are 28 times more likely to have a serious sight problem than other children5, but are less likely to be able to communicate their concerns to parents/carers should any problems develop.

Read Full Report Here

The Performance Finance team hot foot it to raise money for charity.

September 2015

Performance Fire walk

It got hot under the foot for the Performance Finance team as they came together for a bare foot fire walk challenge. The hot coals measuring a staggering 450 degrees! The event was a huge success with the fourteen participants all triumphantly crossing the burning coals.

Supervised by Survivorbility Ltd, the fire walk took place at The Kettering Park Hotel to raise vital funds for Vision Care for Homeless People.

Stuart Burn, Managing Director said “Fantastic feeling to complete the challenge and at 450 degrees we didn’t hang around! I was so pleased the entire Performance Finance team made it unscathed and best of all nobody backed out. It was a true team effort and an amazing feeling to be a part of such an incredible group.

Best of all is the number of sponsors that have supported Vision Care for Homeless People and we hope to raise over £2,000 for a very worthy charity”

The total raised so far stands at £1,900 but generous donations are still coming in and can still be made at

Harinder Paul the charities founder added his thanks to Performance Finance for their longstanding and ongoing support for the charity.
‘Vision Care For Homeless People’ is a charity set-up to provide eye care services to homeless and other vulnerable people in an accessible and friendly environment in which they feel safe, welcome and comfortable.

College and AOP are looking for an Administrative Secretary for Benevolent Fund

September 2015

The College of Optometrists/AOP Benevolent Fund require a part time Administrative Secretary.

8 hours per week plus an availability to respond to enquiries during the rest of the normal working week.

The candidate should have a flexible working attitude, be a good communicator with people-handling skills, a working knowledge of IT and an ability to service meetings.

For Informal enquires or for more information, please contact David Lacey - telephone 01322 660388.

Applications with CV to Ruth Cuthbert, Chairman of Managing Trustees, by 30th September 2015.

VISION 2020 UK announce Astbury Award winners 2015

September 2015

Vision 2020 AwardsThe winners of the 2015 Astbury Awards have been announced this week at a ceremony in London.

Now in their second year, the awards, named for former VISION 2020 UK Chair and inaugural recipient Nick Astbury, were set up to recognise excellence in collaboration and co-operation within the eye health and sight loss sectors.

This year’s winner is Rachel Pilling, 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.

Since completing his MSc in Community Eye Health in 2000, Andy became the UK’s first NHS Consultant in Community Eye Health and has sustained great commitment to innovate, implement, evaluate and publish on a wide range of programmes on both a national and international level.

Highly Commended certificates were awarded to Guide Dogs and Microsoft for the Cities unlocked project ; Henshaws and Guide Dogs for Wheelchair and Guide Dogs training; RNIB Scotland Dementia in West Dunbartonshire and RNIB learning disabilities specialist training (VILD).

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 Special Interest 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 11 shortlisted entries for the Astbury awards 2015. Details of all the shortlisted projects can be found at

UK Vision Strategy announces free webinar aimed at GPs and Practice Staff which would provide good training for OAs.

September 2015

As part of the Clinical Priority for Eye Health Project (see below) in partnership with the Royal College of General Practitioners, UK Vision Strategy are hosting a free webinar for GPs and practice staff on common eye conditions at 6pm – 7.15pm on Wednesday 7 October.

This could also prove popular with optical practice staff and a good refresher and training aid.

The webinar will be chaired by Dr Waqaar Shah, RCGP Clinical Champion for Eye Health and will feature a presentation by Seema Verma, Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon at Moorfields Eye Hospital.

To register for your free place now by emailing and you will then be sent joining instructions nearer the time.

Clinical priority for eye health its aims and objects for a greater understanding of Eye Health.

September 2015

Eye health now accounts for 4.5m GP consultations and costs the UK economy £22bn each year.

However, evidence shows that 50 per cent of sight loss could be avoided through improved eye care and early detection of problems.

To tackle this growing need amongst elderly patients, the Royal College of General Practitioners has recently chosen eye health with a focus on ageing and sight loss as one of its clinical priorities for the next three years until March 2016.

Each year the RCGP chooses three clinical areas and supports efforts to raise the profile and awareness of these areas both within general practice and across primary care. Each priority programme runs for three years.

Project aims:

• Reduce preventable sight loss amongst the ageing population across the UK.
• Improve referral to eye care services of any patients with signs of “correctable” sight loss.
• Enable more patients with unpreventable sight loss (which will include those who are blind or partially sighted) to maintain their independence for longer.

Project deliverables:

• Increase clinical leadership amongst GPs to champion eye health by establishing the first professional network for GPs with an interest in eye health.
• Deliver more efficient eye care pathways by producing a quick-to-use prognostic toolkit and pathway for GPs.
• Increase GPs understanding of particular eye conditions and the needs of patients with sight loss. For example training GP and their teams how to ensure their practice is fully accessible.
• Increase awareness amongst GPs leading Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) in England of the UK Vision Strategy approach to commissioning.

OPTICAL WORKERS’ BENEVOLENT FUND could help someone you might know

August 2105

Wiseman Benevolent FundIll health, issues of aging and genuine problems faced by those who have worked within manufacturing optics may be eased by a grant from the Optical Workers’ Benevolent Fund.

For nearly 20 years the charity has helped those who have suffered from heart attacks, needed help with mobility aids, assisted with home decoration and the purchase of a bicycle to get to work. Much needed respite breaks for long term carers are also a source of support offered by the OWBF.

“At any one time we have around 10,000 people working in all branches of manufacturing optics. There are people facing issues who need support. We hear about some distressing cases of hardship faced by those who have worked within optical manufacturing but who do not qualify for other assistance. We aim to help those who have worked loyally to further our industry”, say the Trustees.

“This importance of this charity is greater than ever before, and we have already helped to fund a disabled-access shower for someone with motor neurone disease, and provided relief for optical workers, who are in need of help, across the country and from Newcastle to Sussex.”

For those who feel they would quality for help, or know of another who would benefit from some support, please contact the charity via The FMO Office 020 7298 5123

The charity is supported by The FMO from the proceeds of Optrafair, and by donations from UK optical companies. It is affiliated to the Wiseman Memorial Fund, after Max Wiseman who founded an optical manufacturing business in 1898.

Half of people with learning disabilities suffer eye problems

August 2015

Over half the people with learning disabilities seen in specialist sight tests suffered an eye health issue. And almost two thirds required spectacles, new results from a pilot in London have revealed.
52% of those seen had an eye health problem which could have led to sight loss says the report authors, national charity SeeAbility and the leading eye health organisation, Local Optical Committee Support Unit (LOCSU).

Experts claim it could lead to reduced independence, poorer quality of life and higher health and social care costs for these individuals.

And they are calling on Clinical Commissioning Group to introduce more eye care pathways. Currently, just four CCGs have commissioned the services which offer longer, specially adapted sight tests for people with learning disabilities.

“People with learning disabilities are 10 times more likely to have serious sight problems than other people,” said Katrina Venerus, Managing Director of LOCSU.
“The Tri-Borough pilot identified a high prevalence of treatable eye conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and keratoconus.”

The concern is that if left unidentified and untreated, these eye conditions will worsen and lead to higher health and social care costs. With so many people with learning disabilities not receiving regular eye care, the risks of sight loss for this group are greatly increased.

“SeeAbility is aware that the standard sight test is not always accessible for people who have learning disabilities. Many people need the optometrist to allow them more time in order to establish their needs, to explain testing procedures and to communicate results in a clear and accessible manner,” explained David Scott-Ralphs, Chief Executive of SeeAbility.

The SeeAbility-led pilot of the LOCSU eye care pathway carried out 104 sight tests in the London Tri-Borough areas of Kensington and Chelsea, Hammersmith and Fulham and Westminster. The pathway involves local optometrists providing specially-adapted sight tests, accessible for people with learning disabilities.

The key findings from the Tri-Borough pilot are –

• 30% of all people were referred on to their GP or Hospital Eye Service for an eye health or other health issue.
• Following their sight test, 63% of individuals are wearing prescribed glasses.
• For 50% of people the date of their previous sight test was more than 2 years ago or unknown.

The pilot took place between October 2013 and March 2015 in the Tri-Borough area of Kensington and Chelsea, Hammersmith and Fulham and Westminster in London.

The Tri-Borough report is available at

The LOCSU Pathway can be seen here -
SeeAbility eye care resources -

The pilot was funded with the support of the LOC Central Fund.

Performance Finance Team will be walking across a bed of burning coals at 1236 degrees Fahrenheit!

August 2015

Performance Finance walking on hot coalsOn Monday 14th September the Performance Finance team will walk across burning coals, to put this into perspective paper combusts at 451 degrees, aluminium melts at 1100 degrees!

Performance Finance hope to raise £5,000 for Visioncare for Homeless People and would like to encourage clients, introducers and lenders to please support this act of madness by donating to this worthy cause.

Costs to stage the event will be paid by Performance Finance to ensure that every penny of your donation goes to VCHP.

“Vision Care for Homeless People” is a charity set-up to provide eye care services to homeless and other vulnerable people in an accessible and friendly environment in which they feel safe, welcome and comfortable. Imagine if everything you saw was out of focus, how would your life be affected? Now imagine if you were homeless and couldn't see..

Stuart Burn, Managing Director says "I really hope our clients, introducers and lenders are able to make a small donation for this very worthy cause and would personally like to thank anyone who does as this will really help some of the most vulnerable people in our society today."

If you would like to donate please use the link below

News that Donna Power is to leave OGS to pastures new will come as a surprise to many

August 2015

Donna Power of OGS


Donna Power is to leave OGS after nearly 6 incredible years with Optometry Giving Sight. She will be moving on later this month. and has expressed a wish to thank everyone for all of their support to Optometry Giving Sight and to herself during that time.

OGS has appointed David Shannon to continue the development of the great work we are achieving, together with our Fundraising Officer Sarah Namusobya.



VISION 2020 UK launches new website and resource hub, today (10th August)

August 2015

VISION 2020 UK, the umbrella organisation which facilitates greater collaboration and co-operation between organisations across the eye health and sight loss sectors, has announced the launch of a new accessible website and resource hub.

Vision 2020 New websiteThe new website has been designed to provide the ultimate user-friendly experience with improved navigation and functionality throughout. The site features extensive news and events sections promoting the latest announcements, research developments and opinion pieces from members and experts.

In addition, helping to make VISION 2020 UK’s vast portfolio of services, standards and practices from across the sector easy to browse is the new resources section, which can be accessed via the homepage. This resources hub allows both members and external users to benefit from richer online content that is easier to navigate and share with others.

Created with the user experience firmly in mind, the website has been designed using the latest technology so the site is compatible with today's browsers, tablets and mobile devices. Furthermore, the new website allows users to access pages that interest them with others across Facebook, Twitter and other popular social networks.

VISION 2020 UK CEO, Mercy Jeyasingham, commented, “We are delighted to announce the launch of our new website, designed specifically with the eye health and sight loss community in mind. As the collaborative voice of the sector we recognised the need to create a central information and resource base to help unite organisations with an interest in eye health and sight loss”

To view the new VISION 2020 UK website

Maui Jim announced as European Silver Sponsors of Optometry Giving Sight at Media Tennis Clinic at Wimbledon

July 2015

On Sunday 5th July Maui Jim hosted an exclusive tennis experience at the Wimbledon Club for the third year running, and helped to raise money for their chosen eye care charity – Optometry Giving Sight. During the unique event, which was held throughout the Wimbledon Championships, members of sports and lifestyle media were able to take to the courts for a tennis clinic and friendly competition with former WTA No. 1 and Maui Jim Brand Ambassador Martina Hingis and All England Club head coach, Dan Bloxham.

Maui Jim at Wimbledon Charity eventAfter the players warmed up with some energetic rounds of tennis coached by Martina and Dan, a fun competition was set where players were measured on their serve using a serving machine that quantifies performance.

Maui Jim pledged a donation per serve, and after the final count there was an official prize and cheque handover ceremony, where £4,000 was presented to Optometry Giving Sight. From the ongoing support of Maui Jim across Europe they also announced they are now officially developing the partnership to Silver European Sponsors.

Mr Hans-Jürgen Penzek, Vice President Europe of Maui Jim, pictured with Donna Power, Regional Manager Europe of Optometry Giving Sight. Mr Penzek commented, “We are delighted to support such an important cause as Optometry Giving Sight, and develop this to European Sponsorship. As specialists within the field of providing optimum vision we understand the importance of sight and the profound effect that an eye examination and spectacles can have on someone’s life.”

Maui Jim announced Optometry Giving Sight as their International Charity Partner in 2013 and is supporting the charity through sports events and key initiatives across Europe, the Middle East, Australia and Mexico. Most recently they became Silver National Sponsors in Australia.

Donna Power commented “The Wimbledon coaching event has been such a great success in the past three years, and relates very closely to the importance of vision. The development of our partnership with Maui Jim into Silver European Sponsorship will enable Optometry Giving Sight to help fund eye care projects in the developing world that give many people this basic need.” Ms Power continued

“We are very thankful to Maui Jim for all of their ongoing support to Optometry Giving Sight, a company that shares our same mission to help people see, no matter where they are.”

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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