Volunteer optometrists are need in London and Brighton, to run the Vision Care for Homeless People clinics.
While Manchester is well served by volunteers the Brighton centre is struggling to keep the weekly Thursday morning clinic open for the area’s homeless and dispossessed.
“We are in urgent need of volunteers in Brighton every Thursday throughout the year, plus we need optometrists to run the Crisis at Christmas clinics in London. We also seek dispensing opticians, optical assistants, receptionists and students to help with the clinic administration at the Crisis Christmas,” said VCHP Chair, Elaine Styles.
Being held every day during the Christmas period, from 23-30 December, the temporary London clinics are under the umbrella of healthcare services provided by national homelessness charity Crisis. They provide care, warmth, companionship and hot meals.
The opticians’ service at Crisis, now in its 11th year, provides eye examinations of the same standard as those completed on the High Street. Last year, 268 guests had their eyes tested, with 242 dispenses. Working alongside a senior ophthalmologist, the clinics are a rewarding experience for those who take part.
Homelessness has risen substantially in recent years, with government statistics showing a 37% rise in rough sleeping in England since 2010. Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, said:
“Being homeless can be a cold, miserable experience and never more so than at Christmas when most of us are sharing in the warmth of family and friends. By helping make Christmas happen for homeless people, volunteers can not only bring some much-needed cheer to our guests but also set them up with the chance to have a more positive year ahead through our life-changing services.”
Crisis centres are run by volunteers from all walks of life with registration now open at crisis.org.uk/volunteer