The Award of Charity, Company or Practice of the Year is for the organisation that has done the most to promote and expand optometry, or which has brought the benefits of optics to a wider audience.
I certainly think we bring the benefits of optics to a wider audience as we are helping to bring the benefits of optometry to some of the poorest people in our own community. Restoring somebody’s vision is one of the most rewarding experiences you could have, from supplying a myopic correction to a person who would effectively be considered blind without their correction to issuing a simple reading prescription so that somebody can read an application form. Getting people back on their feet and into accommodation and jobs is very important.
We are a UK charity which helps people here at home. Some practitioners may not have the opportunity or the money to give up two weeks to go abroad and work in foreign clinics but we encourage people to give a few hours to volunteer in one of our clinics.
Over a thousand hours a year of volunteering time is donated by optometrists and dispensing opticians to run our four current clinics.
It is a very rewarding experience helping your fellow human beings when they are at one of the lowest points of their life. The smile on their face when they see clearly again is priceless.