Jill Holmes, a dispensing optician with Specsavers in Ballymena, is preparing for a summer vacation with a difference and is asking local glasses wearers for their help.

Travelling to Kenya

In August this year Jill will be part of a group travelling to the village of Kisumu in Kenya. Her specific destination is the VisPa orphanage and school complex which was set up several years ago by a Christian charity emanating from Brookside Presbyterian Church in Ahoghill. Headed up by Colin and Gillian Hayburn, the Friends of VisPa charity travel each year to Kisumu to support the work of VisPa by giving financial, material and spiritual assistance.

Eye testing 600 children

Jill explains, ‘I heard about the work of VisPa through Gillian Hayburn when she brought her son in for an eye test. The group was looking for an optician as they were aware that the 600 children attending the school never had the opportunity to have their eyes tested let alone have access to glasses. It just sounded like a fantastic opportunity to do something really worthwhile and practical. After discussing it at home I signed up immediately and am delighted that my 15 year old daughter Zara is also coming to work with the children in arts and crafts.’

We need your unused glasses

Whilst Jill can help with the eye testing she is keen to do more and has set about collecting as many second hand single vision glasses as possible to bring with her. So if you have a pair of glasses you no longer use please bring them into the store for recycling.

Team support

Store director Valerie Penney, said, ‘We’re extremely proud of Jill’s support of VisPa and given that it is a self-funding trip the store directors will be donating £500 towards her expenses. In addition all the staff will be organising in-store fundraising activities to help provide further resources to the orphanage and school. We would urge anyone who has an unused pair of glasses to call into the store with them to support this unique venture.’

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