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Opchat Magazine Charity PageCharity News, January to March 2017



Tee-off for Team Tilda! Call for entries to Warwickshire’s charity Golf Day for Fight for Sight
Optom running London Marathon for Homeless Charity.
Video promotes work of Vision Care for Homeless people.
Dates for National Eye Health Week 2017 Announced..... Save the date!
VISION 2020 UK launches eye health and sight loss podcast
New report makes recommendations on the future of collaboration in the eye health and sight loss sectors.
Vision Aid Overseas announces new CEO.

Tee-off for Team Tilda! Call for entries to Warwickshire’s charity Golf Day for Fight for Sight

March 2017

Matlda FFS Golf
Golfing fans are urged to sign-up to this year’s Golf Day in aid of Fight for Sight in July and help raise funds on behalf of Matilda Henley, an 8-year old girl who has been battling sight problems since she was 18 months old. Money raised will help fund research into corneal dystrophies.

Matilda, from Kenilworth in Warwickshire, suffers from a corneal dystrophy, a condition that causes micro cysts to form and burst on the outer layer of her eye meaning she has to wear sunglasses to protect her eyes. The condition strikes if her eyes become dry, which leaves her in severe pain and forces her to close her eyes for days at a time.

Since Matilda’s diagnosis the family supports Fight for Sight, the UK’s leading eye research charity, to help raise funds for pioneering eye research. All profits raised at the Warwickshire Golf Day will go towards Fight for Sight, with 50 per cent of those profits going directly to ‘Team Tilda’ which funds research into corneal dystrophy.

Golfers of all abilities who want to help raise money for a great cause, while having a fun sporting day out, can now sign-up and take part as a team of four. Places cost £65 per person (£260 per team) and include a full-day on the 18-hole course plus a three-course dinner that evening at the Stoneleigh Deer Park Golf Club in Warwickshire.

FFS CommitteeThere is the Fight for Sight trophy and 6 team prizes to be won on the day, plus 18 hole prizes and plenty of opportunities to help boost donations with a tombola, raffle and auction offering fantastic prizes. There are also plenty of sponsorship options available. The event takes place on 5th July 2017.

Francesca Marchetti, from the Warwickshire Committee said, “We have all been touched by Matilda’s story – the challenges she has faced while still so young go to show that poor eye health can affect anyone, and their family, at any age. Therefore, we’re delighted that our charity Golf Day will be helping people like Matilda by raising money for corneal dystrophy as well as supporting all of the fantastic eye research that Fight for Sight funds.”

To sign-up for this year’s Warwickshire Golf Day or for more information contact Debbie White on 07866 510959 or email

Read more about Fight for Sight on our PHN Charity Listing here

Optom running London Marathon for Homeless Charity.

March 2017

Surbhi VCHP

London locum optometrist Surbhi Joshi, is striding out in the London Marathon for Vision Care for Homeless People and is keen to raise funds for the charity.

Her first full marathon, Surbhi, has run two half marathons before but is looking for a greater challenge and is now training three times a week.

“I actually find running long distances pretty difficult, but it will be a good mental and physical challenge to complete the London Marathon.  I chose to support VCHP because I recently volunteered for Crisis at Christmas, where I tested the eyes of the homeless.  It was very apparent that this is a need not just at Christmas but throughout the year, as VCHP knows. I am sure that the money people donate is put to good use at the various clinics around the country. 

“I am hoping to raise £500, although this is a very conservative figure; if more can be raised then even better!”

Anyone wishing to support the charity via Surbhi should visit the fundraising page: . Take a look at Surbhi's Sponsorship Page

Video promotes work of Vision Care for Homeless people.

March 2017

VCHP A new video has been produced by Bellyflop TV for Vision Care for Homeless People to promote the work of the charity.

The minute and a half footage brings to life the work of the charity and the great benefit it provides to a sector of society which sometimes finds accessing eyecare a challenge.

Vision Care for Homeless People is keen to highlight the fact that a third of homeless people have never had their eyes examined.

“Our Crisis at Christmas service and our regular clinics in Brighton, Birmingham, Manchester and London frequently reveal pathologies, and not just the need for reading specs and vision correction.

We believe that something like 20% of homeless people have a medical eye condition that needs treating, and with the growing number of homeless people the need for our work is greater than ever,” said the charity’s Chair, Elaine Styles.

Practices are being urged to share the youtube video with patients and friends and to add the link to websites.

To find out more about the charity watch our new promotional video here.

Dates for National Eye Health Week 2017 Announced..... Save the date!

February 2017

Eye Health UK today (21st February) announced that National Eye Health Week (NEHW) 2017 will take place 18 – 24 September.

Building on the success of the 2016 campaign, which saw thousands of healthcare professionals, organisations and charities join forces to transform people’s attitudes and behaviour towards looking after their eyes, this year’s awareness week will once again focus on promoting mass participation from national and regional stakeholders.

David Cartwright, Chair of Eye Health UK, the charity responsible for running the Week, said: “We hope to encourage everyone with an interest in vision and eye health to come together this September to promote engaging eye health messages.”

David continues: “Over recent years we have seen how NEHW can connect with people and promote positive action. Last year 39 per cent of UK Adults said they recalled reading, seeing or hearing NEHW media and 87 per cent of these (over 16 million people) said it had encouraged them to take better care of their eye health. We plan to harness the momentum we have created to make an even bigger impact in 2017.”

There are lots of ways individuals and organisations can get involved in the Week, from joining the NEHW mailing list and using the free resources to share advice about the importance of regular sight tests and how healthy lifestyle choices can benefit vision to sponsoring an activity or becoming an official partner of the Week.

To join the NEHW mailing list or for information about sponsorship opportunities email here.

VISION 2020 UK launches eye health and sight loss podcast

January 2017

VISION 2020 UK, the umbrella organisation which leads collaboration in eye health and sight loss, has today launched a podcast.

This new platform will look at the major topics of interest within the eye health and sight loss sector, with expert analysis, opinion and debate. The podcast is an educational forum for professionals, service users, carers as well as those with no knowledge of the topics.

Hosted by John Welsman, Guide Dogs Policy Business Partner, the podcasts will be released on a monthly basis and will focus on one topic or interview per episode, highlighting the work of the VISION 2020 UK Standing Committees, as well as discussions with leaders in the sector on topics such as rehabilitation, dementia, children and certification.

Lord Chris HolmesThe first two podcasts are now available through the VISION 2020 UK website, on audioboom, and will soon be found on iTunes (search ‘VISION 2020 UK’).

These episodes feature Mercy Jeyasingham, CEO, VISION 2020 UK and Lord Chris Holmes of Richmond MBE.

Mercy gives listeners an introduction to the work of VISION 2020 UK and the major topics of interest within eye health and sight loss.

Lord Holmes, a former Paralympian swimmer and life peer in the House of Lords, gives listeners an understanding of his background, his achievements to date and his areas of concern and interest around eye health and sight loss.

John Welsman, commented, “Podcasts are a great way of discussing complex topics as well as being entertaining and informative. The ability of people to listen to the podcast on their commute, in their car or at home is a great way of communicating these issues. I look forward to working with VISION 2020 UK to create an engaging and professional podcast”.

Podcast 1: Mercy Jeyasingham, CEO, VISION 2020 UK

Podcast 2: Lord Chris Holmes of Richmond MBE

New report makes recommendations on the future of collaboration in the eye health and sight loss sectors.

January 2017

Shaping the future by Vision StrategyThe UK Vision Strategy has published the ‘Shaping the Future Report’, following a six month evaluation and consultation project to inform future collaborative work in the eye health and sight loss sectors.

The report includes:

• Views on the progress made towards the UK Vision Strategy Outcomes 2013-2018.
• The country context: the key challenges and successes of the Strategy specific to England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
• Recommendations to shape future collaborative work, including both what future work could focus on and how it could be delivered.

Download the Shaping the Future Report

The research was commissioned by the Vision Strategy Leadership Group and carried out by independent evaluators from the NCVO Charities Evaluation Service. Over 750 individuals participated in the research through a mixed-methods approach including interviews, surveys, and engagement events in all four countries of the UK.

The report recommendations were co-produced at a workshop involving people who are blind or partially sighted and individuals representing a range of professions in the eye health and sight loss sectors.

Fazilet Hadi, Chair of the Vision Strategy Leadership Group and Director of Engagement at RNIB said:
“I am delighted by the engagement we received from organisations and individuals throughout the Shaping the Future Project, particularly that the views of so many people who are blind or partially sighted are represented in this research. Leaders across the eye health and sight loss sectors are strongly committed to ensuring that the UK Vision Strategy is fit for the future, and this report provides a foundation for us to build on the ambition, experience and lessons learnt from the Strategy since its launch”.

The learning and recommendations in the report will be taken forward by the Vision Strategy Transition Programme, which is working to seek a renewed agenda for change across the eye health and sight loss sectors.

Vision Aid Overseas announces new CEO.

January 2017

Vision Aid Overseas are delighted to announce that Nicola Chevis will become the charity’ s new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) taking over from outgoing CEO Nigel Wilson in March 2017.

Nicola is currently in a senior position with Save the Children and comes to Vision Aid Overseas with a wealth of knowledge and experience of the development sector and has also worked with Oxfam and VSO in the past.

Nicola told us:
‘I’m delighted to be joining Vision Aid Overseas as CEO. With an estimated 640 million people worldwide disabled simply because they don’t have access to eye tests and spectacles the challenge is enormous. I feel inspired by what has already been achieved by Vision Aid Overseas, our members and supporters and I’m looking forward to working with everyone to help ensure that no one lives in poverty because of poor eyesight and no one lives with poor eyesight because of poverty.’

Vision Aid Overseas works with Professional Volunteers to provide training to local eye care workers, to establish Vision Centres where patients can access eye care services and to support outreach services in rural communities. Our Professional Volunteers are integral to Vision Aid Overseas and help us to achieve our mission to fight poverty by transforming access to eye care and affordable glasses in Africa.

1 in 10 people in Africa can’t see properly to learn and earn simply because they need glasses. Vision Aid Overseas exists so that children in Africa who can’t see can learn and get an education, and adults who can’t see can earn to support their families and contribute to their communities.

If you are an Optometrist, Dispensing Optician or Optical Technician, find out how you can help change lives in Africa at


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