Enthusiasm for helping the less fortunate is a message that the new generation of optometrists takes very seriously, believes Vision Care for Homeless People. Ambassadors for the UK charity have been appointed from all the professional schools. They reflect an eagerness to raise awareness and encourage active involvement through volunteering and fundraising.
Maria Akhtar from Plymouth University is in her final year of optometry, explained her support –
“Many people have misconceptions and so ignore homeless people. A friend who works for Crisis made me aware of what it is really like to be homeless and in need of help and moral support. Lonely individuals need to be looked after just as we are by friends and family. I think VCHP is a great opportunity for us to get involved and utilise our professional skill in a way that can benefit and help those that are less fortunate. Raising money for the charity and volunteering at the clinics is something I look forward to doing.”
Rosie Pattison, a second year student at Aston University, will be the Birmingham Ambassador and volunteering at the local VCHP clinic and “encouraging as many people as I can to do the same”.
Maria Tariq, a third year at City University, first became involved in the charity when she volunteered for ‘Crisis at Christmas’ and is “in awe of the fantastic service provided”.
Nadia Yeasmin, a final year Bradford University student says this is “an excellent opportunity for me to experience how vision care is provided to those who are more vulnerable and may not receive this via mainstream NHS services.”
Ross Aitchison, a fourth year at Glasgow Caledonian University, believes the charity “makes a difference to the lives of those who need it most. I plan to spread the word of the charity to optometry, orthoptics and dispensing students.”
Rebecca Leighton, in her second year at Ulster University says that working with the charity
“allows me to learn about different aspects of Optometry and how it can make a contribution to the lives of those who are vulnerable. I feel it is important to start promoting the charity and to build a foundation for future growth in this part of the UK “.
Dhruvi Shah, a third year Optometry student at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, has already organised and participated in fundraising events for other charities including Optometry giving Sight, and is delighted to be an ambassador.
Maariyah Khan from Manchester University urged us all to envisage life without vision – “people take their sight for granted and do not realise how much the loss of this sense would affect them”.
Ciara Hankins, in her third year at Cardiff University said she is keen to “use the skills I have to help others. VCHP is an amazing cause and a great way for those in optics to help vulnerable people within their own communities. I am honoured and proud to be able to represent the charity.”