Specsavers in Blyth has been doing its bit for charity by donating unwanted pairs of glasses to help people in the developing world.
The town’s residents have donated more than 1,300 pairs of glasses in the first six months of this year and the donations are still rolling in.
The old or unwanted specs are recycled by Vision Aid Overseas, a charity which specialises in providing eyecare for those in poverty-stricken countries around the world. The money made from recycling the glasses is then used to fund the charity’s work.
Since its inception in 1987, the UK-based charity has helped more than one million people in the developing world. Specsavers stores in the Tyne Tees region have collected more than 10,000 unwanted specs in the first six months of 2014 and are urging people to continue donating.
Rob Adams, store manager of Specsavers in Blyth, says: ‘We would really like to thank the public for being so generous with their donations.
‘Vision Aid Overseas is a fantastic organisation and we would love to continue to support the charity with the help of the community. We would like to encourage anyone with old glasses to drop them off at our in-store collection points.’
A worthy cause
Vision Aid Overseas works in Africa to transform access to eyecare services and is part of the Vision 2020 initiative to eliminate avoidable blindness by 2020. Since 2003 Specsavers stores have collected and recycled more than a quarter of a million glasses for the charity, and have raised more than £550,000.
As part of its work with Vision Aid Overseas, Specsavers has made a significant commitment to improving eyecare provision in Zambia. Previously there had been very limited provision for the one in four Zambians who desperately require it, with just a handful of qualified optometrists serving the population of 12 million.
Last winter saw the official opening of the country’s first optometry training centre by Dame Mary Perkins, Vision Aid Overseas’ Ambassador for Zambia. The Chainama College in the capital city of Lusaka is a clinical facility where students gain valuable experience working with patients.
Some 24 are currently training to become fully qualified optometrists. Specsavers has funded the building of vision centres in each country’s nine provinces.