Struggling without glasses or contact lenses would challenge many but that is exactly what a high percentage of London’s homeless population endure. Vision Care for Homeless People, a charity set up and run by opticians, is endeavouring to ease the problem.
Andrew Slaughter, MP for Hammersmith, officially opened the charity’s new service at Shepherd’s Bush Market Broadway Centre this week, praising the dedication of the volunteers.
“This is an inspiring project and as a model can be rolled out across the country. Such a service is set to be in greater demand as our homeless population increases due to financial pressures,” he said.
The charity recently celebrated the 5,000th pair of glasses to be dispensed by one of its centres in London and Birmingham. Actively looking at other cities where there is a need for the service, the optometrist founder, Harinder Paul, explained:
“We provide a thorough eye examination and new glasses whenever they are needed, in an environment where homeless people feel comfortable. Sometimes we have picked up pathology which needs to be referred to hospital and have been able to make a dramatic difference in helping many people to engage more with society.”
Picture shows charity patron actor Ben Miles with Andrew Slaughter MP (right) cutting the ribbon to open the new Vision Care For Homeless People clinic. Photograph by Jeff Hubbard.