Blackburn's Specsavers teams are helping some of the world’s poorest communities to see clearly thanks to the ‘overwhelming’ charitable response and generosity of local Specsavers customers.
The two Specsavers stores in Blackburn are urging residents to donate their old and unwanted specs to the store, which it then donates to Vision Aid Overseas (VAO). The charity recycles the glasses and uses the money made from selling the reusable materials to fund its charity work in developing countries. This includes giving people badly-needed eye tests and treatment, and training up local optometrists.
Stunning community response
The stores have described the response from local people as ‘stunning’ with around 2,500 pairs of glasses dropped into the special collection bin every month. If stacked end to end that’s 350 metres of glasses, equal to six times the height of the town’s ‘new town hall’, donated every month.
Specsavers has channelled more than £800,000 into VAO’s work in Zambia. It has helped to open a vision centre in eight of the country’s provinces and supported the opening of the country's first optometry training centre. Specsavers partnership with VAO has allowed 85,000 people to receive eyecare in Zambia.
Making a difference
Blackburn Specsavers store director Stuart Ingleby commented: ‘The situation in these areas of Africa is alien to us in Britain where we can easily access professional eyecare on the high street. For this reason it is important we do what we can to improve eye health elsewhere.
‘We knew that there must be thousands of spare specs lying around in drawers across the area that are no longer of use to their owners, and we’ve been thrilled with the response from the Blackburn community.
It's easy to donate
‘When the collection bin is full, we put hundreds of glasses into a box for recycling and I’ve lost count of how many boxes we’ve sent out.
‘By simply bringing your old specs to us you can help improve the life of somebody in the developing world, so on behalf of the store I would like to say a huge thank you to everybody who has donated so far.’