LEEDS RHINOS ANTHONY MULLALLY TO OPEN NEW HOMELESS CLINIC
Homeless People in Leeds are about to benefit from a new eyecare service, dedicated to their needs, which is widely supported by the local community.
The City centre’s St George’s Crypt, in Great George Street, has provided space for the clinic, which will be officially opened on Monday 31st July at 2.30pm. Vision Care for Homeless People Leeds is the eighth clinic to be opened by the UK registered charity, and is designed to eradicate the totally disempowering problem of poor vision for the homeless in our community.
Yorkshire optometrist, Paul Appleson, is amongst the fundraisers who has made the new venture for the city happen. Paul, who has his own practice in Wetherby, recently ran the Leeds half marathon to raise funds for the clinic. As he explained -
“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.
A tremendous team of supporters includes volunteer optometrists and dispensing opticians to run the clinic – others are making donations: spectacles from Specsavers; glazing and lenses by Leeds lab Rawdon Optical; cases and cloths from Optoplast; eye medications from Three Sixty; and funding from the Charles and Elsie Sykes Foundation. The comprehensive suite of eye examination equipment has been provided by leading names in UK optics.
Caroline Clarke, Chair of the Leeds VCHP Team, added –
“The optical community has come together to provide an excellent service. After a year of careful planning and fundraising the clinic will be open from 10.30 to 3pm on Mondays and we aim to make a real difference to the lives of people who need it the most.”
Leeds is the eighth VCHP clinic to be established in English cities. Three are in London, with one located in Crisis Centre; others are in Brighton, Birmingham, Manchester and Exeter. Located in homeless day centres they are run by teams of volunteers and typically operate half a day a week.
This is a time of considerable expansion for Vision Care for Homeless People, which has established a need for at least 20,000 eye tests a year amongst homeless people in England. Currently the charity meets 9% of that need, but aim to be reaching 40% in five years’ time.
Registered charity: 1118076