Giving Something Back
Topcon is committed to support UK's charities with their efforts to prevent vision loss and enhance life for visual impaired. Below are some further details of the type of projects and activities that Topcon gets involved in:
Speed of Sight is a charity that provide life changing driving experience to people with disabilities throughout the UK. The charity builds and runs purpose-built dual control track cars, which allow people with a broad range of disabilities the chance to get behind the wheel, sometimes for the very first time.
The charity is run by the multiple Guinness World Record holder Mike Newman. He holds simultaneous land and water speed records and is the only blind person ever to do so.
Eye care professionals will know that in instances where they have done all they can to make their patients comfortable, it is emotional support and encouragement that is needed. Having a chance to experience something that they never thought would be possible could be the answer to many.
Andrew Yorke, Managing Director of Medical at Topcon GB Ltd commented on the partnership: “We are honoured to be partnering with Speed of Sight. From a personal level, as a driver myself and a petrol head at heart I couldn’t imagine not being able to enjoy the thrill of driving any more. The whole Speed of Sight ethos is truly inspiring and we are very proud to be part of the amazing charitable work that they do.”
The money raised from the event will fund the development of sustainable eye and vision care projects in communities where these do not currently exist. These projects focus on local training and capacity building; infrastructure development and the delivery of accessible and affordable vision care services. In 2013 Optometry Giving Sight funded 46 projects in 28 countries including Mozambique, Haiti, Cambodia and The Philippines.
Manny (picture attached) is the new face for the 2014 World Sight Day Challenge. He was one of the tens of thousands of women, children and men who lost everything when tropical cyclone Yolanda smashed into the Philippines last November. Optometry Giving Sight was pleased to support the efforts of Third World Eye Care Society from Canada who mobilised volunteers and resources to visit the country in late January. More than 8,000 people received glasses as a result of their efforts.
From June 2014 Optometry Giving Sight UK is proud to support the funding of desperately needed eye care services at home and abroad. Our National Charity Partner in the UK is Vision Care for Homeless People.
Vision Aid Overseas (VAO) is a charity dedicated to fighting poverty by transforming access to eye care in developing countries. 670 million people around the world are unnecessarily visually impaired simply because they don’t have spectacles. VAO combats this problem by working with volunteer optical professionals to provide eye examinations and spectacles in poor communities.
VAO partners with NGOs and Governments in six African countries to ensure that its work creates an immediate and sustainable difference. Last year VAO directly helped 47,079 patients and provided training to 166 eye care workers. It also supports nineteen Vision Centres where eye care is provided to local communities on an on-going basis.
Topcon have been longstanding supporters of Vision Aid Overseas and have helped the charity through donations of money and equipment. Vision Aid Overseas’ Development Director, Jeremy Jalie, explained how proud the charity was to have Topcon’s support: “it is fantastic to have the support of Topcon and to work with such an important supplier to the international ophthalmic professions. Topcon have been Titanium Members of Vision Aid Overseas for over six years and they continue to extend their support through event sponsorship, equipment donations and staff events. Most recently they have agreed to sponsor our 30th Anniversary Launch Event in London and will be looking at other ways they can support us through this landmark year. To everyone at Topcon: thank you for your support!”
VCHP is a charity set-up to provide eyecare services to homeless and other vulnerable people in an accessible and friendly environment in which they feel safe, welcome and comfortable.
They run an annual Christmas appeal and they are in urgent need of volunteers. 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. Working alongside a senior ophthalmologist, the clinics are a rewarding experience for those who take part.
In 2014 they have carried out 297 eye examinations and 16 people required referral or follow up with one of the ophthalmologist who volunteered as well. One patient had to be sent urgently to an eye hospital. 98 pairs of ready readers were dispensed and a further 198 pairs of glasses have been ordered.
Elaine Styles, VCHP chair, has been volunteering for the Crisis Christmas since 1997:
"In stark comparison to the commercialisation of Christmas, this is such a genuine opportunity to give a gift that really makes a difference to someone's life. Selfishly, the reward I got from this was better than any Christmas present anybody could have given me. I have met some very interesting people and it has also made me realise how lucky I am to have my home and family."
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
Elaine Styles, VCHP chair commented: "Topcon gives us amazing invaluable support."