Community and corporate responsibility has always been important to the Specsavers Partnership. As a business, we recognise our obligation to those that we serve throughout the world by trading ethically, protecting our environment and giving back to the community.
The Specsavers Partnership is passionate about helping good causes realise their own vision and has donated more than £2.2m to a variety of causes in the last year alone.
Eyecare and hearing charities are close to our hearts. In the UK we have a longstanding relationship with Guide Dogs for the Blind and are currently raising funds to train 25 new Guide Dog puppies to help the blind and partially sighted.
Specsavers has a similar comittment to Hearing Dogs for Deaf People. Our Hearing Centres champion the annual Specsavers Sound Barrier Star Awards, which recognise the achievements of inspirational people who have triumphed over adversity, despite their severe hearing impairment. The campaign also helps raise vital funds for and awareness of Hearing Dogs.
We are also committed to supporting eyecare and hearing projects in developing countries. Most of our UK stores collect and recycle unwanted glasses to send to Vision Aid Overseas to help bring sight to people in the developing world. Through the amazing fundraising efforts of our stores and customers, we have built an eyecare teaching centre in the Zambian capital of Lusaka and established five outreach clinics throughout the country. This project is enabling the 12m Zambian population to have ready access to public eyecare provision for the first time. In 2012 Specsavers also gave Vision Aid Overseas access to its international supply chain to enable them to buy optical equipment, frames and lenses at significantly reduced cost.
Specsavers Hearing Centres are currently working with international charity Sound Seekers to raise funds for a new school for deaf children in Kenya.
Former charity partnerships have also included Diabetes UK, Deafness Research UK, Sightsavers and Fight for Sight, among many others.
Supporting local communities
At a local level Specsavers stores and support offices assist a huge variety of causes, charities and community activities. They include:
- Our stores raised £666,500 for hundreds of charities, including £43,500 for Guide Dogs for the Blind and Hearing Dogs for Deaf People and £16,000 for Blind Veterans UK.
- Our support offices raised £188,800 for various good causes, including the Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance, the Naomi House and Countess Mountbatten House hospices in Hampshire and the Guernsey Women’s Refuge.
- Our stores and support offices joined forces for Pink October, an action-packed month of fundraising activity resulting in a £25,000 donation to Breast Cancer UK.
- Dame Mary and Doug Perkins, the founders of Specsavers, donated £533,500 to a number of national and international charities, including Vision Aid Overseas, Vision Care for Homeless People, ActionAid, and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme.
- We donated more than 1,000 hearing aids to Sound Seekers, which is dedicated to improving the lives of deaf people, particularly children, in developing countries.
- Through our annual Spectacle Wearer of the Year competition, £45,000 was raised for anti-bullying programmes led by Kidscape.
- We promoted National Road Safety week by handing out 200,000 high-visibility vests to schoolchildren and sponsoring road-safety charity Brake.
- We opened a ninth vision centre in Zambia to improve the provision of quality eyecare services throughout the country. In partnership with Vision Aid Overseas, we are now committed to ensuring the clinics are sustainable by reinforcing the skills gained by local professionals and providing ongoing support.
- Our Irish stores raised more than €100,000 for good causes, including €75,000 to support the renovation of an ophthalmic unit at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin.
- More than 350 people in our support offices were involved in local community or charitable work under our ‘Giving back to our local communities’ policy, which encourages all staff to spend one working day per year helping out in the community. The work included conservation activities on behalf of the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, an educational gardening project for Claremont Primary School in Nottingham, constructing a roof for an outdoor classroom at a youth centre in the New Forest and supporting a reading programme at a local school in Guernsey.
Our position on tax
The Specsavers Partnership believes in giving back to the communities in which we serve by bearing our fair share of taxes as well as supporting good works and charities. We believe that it is our corporate responsibility to pay the amount of tax legally due in the country in which that liability arises and to comply with the applicable rules and regulations in each country in which we operate.
We recognise that tax payments make a vital contribution to sustaining social welfare and the government funding of policies that help people avoid economic and physical hardship.
The Specsavers Partnership was created to allow opticians and hearing aid dispensers to focus on what they do best – to give back to the community by looking after the optical and aural health of our patients, while making quality eyewear and hearing aids more affordable for everyone.
Our stores are operated as joint venture partnerships between Specsavers and store partners. Store partners are responsible for the day-to-day management of their staff and for delivering high standards of healthcare to patients. They keep the profits which arise from the provision of these services, and they live, work, and pay taxes in the UK
Each UK store pays corporation tax at the full main rate of 23%. In the last financial year UK taxes arising from the profitable operation of stores was more than £30m. In addition tax revenues, such as VAT and employment taxes, are generated and collected by Specsavers companies. The total tax contributed to the UK Treasury from Specsavers business operations in the last year was in excess of £180m.
Our stores provide employment for more than 26,000 local people, in whom our partners invest with regular training and development, enabling them to progress through Specsavers on their chosen career path. The same is true of our various support offices, manufacturing and distribution sites around the world.
How you can help
Please help us to help those who need it most by supporting your nearest in-store community initiatives.
For further information about Specsavers' corporate responsibility commitments, download our 2014-15 corporate responsibility report.