Primary Health Net
Visit our Public Information Site
Go to my LOC site
Newsletter eros sos

Opchat Magazine Charity PageCharity News, April to June 2017



WCSM Education Trust: Call for new Trustees.
Improving the lives of disadvantaged communities in rural Southern Ethiopia.
Keith Valentine appointed to lead new organisation for collaboration across the eye health and sight loss sectors.
Have you registered for the 2017 Vision UK event.
Homeless eye clinic opens in Exeter.
Saima Naroo shares her experiences running the Eye Heroes Stand at Optrafair 2017.
Leeds optometrist raising funds for new homeless clinic.
VISION 2020 UK launches Welsh Pathway for Children and Young People.

WCSM Education Trust: Call for new Trustees.

June 2017

SMC Education TrustThe WCSM Education Trust is a Charity established by the Company in 2010 with the aim of advancing study, knowledge and education in the field of optics for the public benefit.

Last year, the Trust successfully launched a new bursary programme designed to encourage new entrants to training in the UK which will lead directly to an optical profession.

As part of a planned programme of succession, the WCSM Education Trust is now seeking one or two people to join the Board of Trustees with effect from September 2017.

Full details of the role and how to apply are set out in this attachment. Please read this carefully before making any response.

Expressions of interest should be sent to the Clerk, as Company Secretary of the WCSM Education Trust, no later than 5pm on Friday 7 July.

Improving the lives of disadvantaged communities in rural Southern Ethiopia.

June 2017

Essilor and VAO signingEssilor Limited and Vision Aid Overseas (VAO) have announced a 3-year extension of their partnership programme which began in 2014 to improve access to vision care services for poor and disadvantaged communities in rural Southern Ethiopia.

VAO’s project is helping to deliver essential medical support through a partnership with two medical centres of Ethiopian charity Grarbet Tehadiso Mahber (GTM) located in the region.

The charity provides eye care services for ten districts with a catchment population of over 1.6 million people. The services are delivered at the medical centres and via outreach clinics which take vision care and screening into remote communities.

Over 80% of the vision screening to date has been carried out via the outreach programme bringing tangible benefits for individuals and their communities.

Spectacles are distributed free to any child needing correction and to the poorest adults with limited means. To date, over 340,000 screenings have taken place resulting in 22,000 people being equipped for the first time with life enhancing prescription spectacles. The charity also trains teachers in local schools to carry out basic vision screening helping to create legacy frameworks for future vision care services.

Essilor Group is supporting the project through its Vision for Life strategic giving programme which aims to accelerate initiatives targeting poor vision through awareness raising, capacity building and the creation of basic vision care infrastructures.

Announcing the continuation of the partnership, Nigel Corbett, Essilor’s Corporate Social Responsibility Director commented “we are delighted to strengthen our relationship with Vision Aid Overseas for this major initiative which is bringing huge benefits in a country now emerging from recent troubled times.

"By correcting refractive errors and detecting vision disorders, the programme is enhancing quality of life for children to improve their educational and future life prospects and helping the poorest adults to improve their productivity and earnings potential. Projects of this nature have significant socio-economic benefits for individuals and communities and help to alleviate poverty and create prosperity in developing countries”.

Andy Holliday, Vision Aid Overseas Director of Fundraising and Communication stated “Vision Aid Overseas is indebted to Essilor for their continuing support for this life changing partnership in Ethiopia. Visual Impairment is the world’s most common and most solvable disability. Children who cannot see properly cannot learn effectively and adults who cannot see properly are often unable to work effectively to support their families and contribute to their communities.

" Because of our partnership with GTM and Essilor Limited in Ethiopia, 78% of adults surveyed after receiving treatment in the form of minor surgery or the provision of glasses have reported an improvement in their quality of life and an increase in household income after treatment and 73% of children treated under the project showed improvements in their school performance since receiving the treatment. A staggering 2.5 billion people worldwide are disadvantaged simply because they do not have access to the vision correction they need and a vast majority of those affected live in the developing world.”

Over the next 3 years, the project is aiming to deliver vision screening to an additional 90,000 people and bring first time vision correction to approximately 20,000.

Keith Valentine appointed to lead new organisation for collaboration across the eye health and sight loss sectors.

June 2017

Keith ValentineKeith Valentine, Deputy CEO of Thomas Pocklington Trust and RNIB Trustee, has been appointed as the CEO of new organisation Vision UK.

Vision UK will support the delivery of a new collaborative ambition for change across the eye health and sight loss sectors. It will bring together the work of the UK Vision Strategy, VISION 2020 UK and the England Vision Strategy, and will work with partners from across the eye health and sight loss sectors to deliver an agreed set of UK-wide ambitions and priority areas.

Keith has a background in leading urban renewal programmes but, as his own vision deteriorated, turned his energies to the sight loss sector.

He has spent the last five years holding senior and board positions at Thomas Pocklington Trust, the Royal National Institute of Blind People, and RP Fighting Blindness. His personal and work experiences afford Keith a unique perspective of the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead as Vision UK is established.

On his appointment Keith commented: “I’m honoured to be leading Vision UK. I’m excited to build on the excellent work of the UK Vision Strategy, VISION 2020 UK, and the England Vision Strategy teams, working in partnership with the eye health and sight loss sectors to deliver transformational change”.

Keith has been appointed by the Vision Strategy Transition Programme Board, which was established to take forward the learning from the ‘Shaping the Future Report’, published following a six month evaluation and consultation of the 2013 - 2018 UK Vision Strategy.

Nigel Clarke, Chair of the Vision Strategy Transition Programme Board and of VISION 2020 UK said: “We hope that with a renewed agenda for change and one single, unified and collaborative body responsible for its delivery, we can really move forward with the next stage of the UK Vision Strategy; making the UK a place where everyone looks after their sight and where timely treatment and support is available to all who need it”.

Keith will be chairing the ninth annual Vision UK conference in London on the 15 June where delegates will hear from Vision Strategy Transition Programme Board Members about the future plans for Vision UK and the ‘UK Ambition Statement’ which is the successor to the 2013-2018 UK Vision Strategy. It is intended that Vision UK will launch in the autumn of 2017.

Have you registered for the 2017 Vision UK event?

May 2017

There are just three weeks to go until Vision UK 2017 on Thursday 15 June! Register today for only £100 + VAT.

Places are limited and stream choices are offered on a first come, first serve basis, so don't miss your place!

The Programme

Vision UK 2017: Shaping Futures will feature a series of talks and case studies that will inspire action, collaboration and creative thinking to deal with the changing social, economic and political environment the eye health and sight loss sectors operate in now, and in the future.

You can now view the full conference programme online here including an overview of the presentations and cases studies in each of the three morning streams:

Stream 1: Public health, individual responsibility and collective action
Stream 2: Working together towards integrated care and support services
Stream 3: Inclusion - being heard and changing attitudes!


Homeless eye clinic opens in Exeter.

May 2017

Kieran and JaneExeter’s new Vision Care for Homeless People clinic opened this week with an enthusiastic team of volunteers.

Made possible by support from the Local Optical Committee, a team of volunteer optometrists, Pret and equipment donations from Specsavers, glazing will be provided by local company Bills Opticians. It joins the group of other VCHP clinics in London, Manchester, Birmingham and Brighton.

Exeter ranks 9th in England’s listing of rough sleepers, with 0.77 per thousand, according to the latest figures available. Ben Bradshaw, MP for Exeter, praised the initiative in view of the problem -
“I commend this project that aims to ensure homeless people can access the care they need and will also make it easier for them to move off the streets and into permanent accommodation.”

Elaine Styles, Chair of the charity spoke at the opening about the need for the service –
“Vulnerable people often feel excluded from accessing healthcare and our approach of taking eyecare to centres where they feel at ease really can start to transform lives. In our other clinics we have seen prescriptions ranging from +17 to -20 dioptres. In fact 35% of the people we see would be registered blind under the WHO criteria if they did not have glasses. For others it is simply a case of providing reading specs, but for others we can be picking up serious pathology which needs treatment.”

Located at the Clock Tower Surgery in Wat Tyler House which brings together some 25 services for homeless and vulnerable people, the clinic will operate on Tuesday afternoons.

The Clock Tower surgery staff have played an instrumental role in setting up the clinic room and will continue to contribute by managing the appointment diary. The venture will receive funding for some of the patients through the NHS, but as with the charity’s other clinics, provides a service for all patients free of charge, regardless of NHS eligibility.

Additional running costs will be met through donations of money, and services in-kind plus help from volunteers. The clinic is looking for a volunteer clinic manager and administrative support, as well as opticians and optometrists.

Picture shows volunteer optometrists Kieran Loft and Jane Wadsworth

Saima Naroo shares her experiences running the Eye Heroes Stand at Optrafair 2017.

May 2017

Eye Heroes ChildrenAt the recent Optrafair in Birmingham, April 2017, Eye Heroes received phenomenal interest and it continues to receive support and engagement with industry experts offering their services and time to volunteer.

My name is Saima Begum Naroo and I work as a Dispensing Optician. My other professional roles, ABDO (Association of British Dispensing Optician) Midlands and East of England sub-regional lead, Local optical Committee member Sandwell and volunteer as the Local Lead for Eye Heroes in Birmingham.

Volunteering gave me a platform to make a difference to people's lives by raising awareness on avoidable blindness. It gives me the satisfaction of making a small contribution to a great cause and Eye Heroes approach and material is designed to make it very easy to make a difference. Along with giving back to the community it's enabled me to develop new skills that I would otherwise not have been able to develop.

My suggestion is everyone should do whatever they can to raise awareness, either by volunteering or informing others who may be interested to give up some of their valuable time to join us on this journey of educating as many people as possible.

So what is Eye Heroes?

Eye Heroes ChildrenEye Heroes is the UK’s first child-led campaign to fight avoidable blindness.

Children are trained through volunteer-led interactive workshops in schools and after school clubs to become eye health champions, and inform people in their communities about eye health and the benefits of regular eye tests.

The workshops are run for free by local volunteers, marrying the science of eye health with the pressing need to raise awareness in a fun and memorable way. Eye Heroes workshops are currently aimed at children aged 8-12 and include games, videos, role play and more.

Eye Heroes workshops are now running in schools across the UK

Volunteer now

• train children in eye health

• free user friendly workshop guide and resources

• no training needed

• fun and interactive sessions

Read more about Eye Heroes on our Charity Listing Page

Leeds optometrist raising funds for new homeless clinic.

May 2017

Paul ApplesonYorkshire optometrist, Paul Appleson, is raising funds and awareness for a new Vision Care for Homeless People clinic in Leeds. 

The new centre, which will be located in St George’s Crypt, has tremendous support from the LOC team and is due to open later this year.

Paul, a regular runner, has his own practice in Wetherby.  He has set himself an ambitious target of one hour 45 minutes for this, his fifth half marathon, which he wil run on Sunday 14 May. 

The route starts from the City centre and heads north and west, via Kirkstall Abbey to finish back in the city centre. He is delighted to be raising funds and to be an integral part of the new Leeds team –

“A group of us want to do something to help the local homeless community, and when the opportunity came up to use our professional skills it certainly solved the dilemma of how to help.  It feels like a very positive thing to be involved with.  Leeds is a great city, but it also has some of the problems of a great city too,” he said.

Anyone wishing to sponsor Paul should visit

VISION 2020 UK launches Welsh Pathway for Children and Young People.

April 2017

VISION 2020 UK, the umbrella organisation which leads collaboration in eye health and sight loss, has today begun hosting the All-Wales Integrated Pathway for Children and Young People (0 to 25 years) with Vision Impairment, and their Families.

The pathway, created in collaboration with the Children’s Vision Service Advisory Group for Wales, provides an agreed provision pathway from the point of diagnosis of a visual impairment to adulthood.

Building on the work of the VISION 2020 UK Children and Young People’s Committee, this pathway has been through an extensive consultation process with stakeholders in Wales and has been acknowledged in Wales as the key pathway integrating other pathway documents relating to the provision of services for children and young people with visual impairment.

The pathway is underpinned by two basic principles: timely support and emotional support for children, young people and their families. It is recommended that this pathway is used in Wales as a central ‘spine’ from which other pathways for areas of supporting activity may be developed.

Dr Heather Payne, Chair of the Children’s Vision Service Advisory Group for Wales, commented “I’m extremely grateful to the expertise and dedication of the Children’s Vision Advisory Group for working towards the successful production of this document. Its use across Wales by all agencies should help children with sight loss to have a clever route through to the services that will help them achieve their potential. The pathway represents the essence of prudent healthcare; it is co-produced, child and family focussed, and it aims to improve outcomes and reduce inequalities.”

Director of RNIB Cymru, Ceri Jackson, said: “We are delighted to support the publication of this landmark pathway, which signposts access to integrated support for children with sight loss and their families throughout their journey. We have been fully engaged in the development of the publication and will continue to work with Welsh Government to ensure that this pathway results in integrated support for children across Wales.”

This resource is now available on the VISION 2002 UK website and is available to download in both English and Welsh from here

Send news
Internet Inks
Primary Health Net