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Specsavers and Crisis Partnership

Changing lives, through better sight and hearing

Specsavers and Crisis are working together to remove healthcare barriers for people experiencing homelessness.

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Specsavers and Crisis’ partnership launched in October 2022 when Specsavers became the first corporate partner to sponsor the Crisis at Christmas campaign, supporting our life changing services  

Specsavers also enabled Crisis to expand our health care offer to regions across the country, by running eye care appointments, as well as kits and glasses. During the first year of our partnership, they delivered 30 eye care appointments across 4 regional Skylight. In 2023 Specsavers increased their support of our healthcare services by organising 11 eye care clinics for members across all of our Skylights, testing 104 pairs of eyes and dispensing 92 glasses.

In addition, for the first time in the history of Crisis at Christmas we were able to offer ear care checks to Christmas guests staying in our Christmas Hotels, which was a great addition to our normal services.

People affected by homelessness can go for years without having an eye test and half are likely to develop serious eye health conditions Specsavers  is committed to removing the barriers accessing eye and ear care. They support Crisis financially, with service delivery and by amplifying the voices of people with lived experience.

Specsavers recently funded the refurb of the new Vision Care for Homeless People (VCHP) optician's room in the London Skylight centre in Shoreditch as well as fitting the room and providing equipment for it. They also funded the development of a special wellbeing space for members in the Edinburgh Skylight centre. The space will be used by VCHP to provide eye appointments to people experiencing homelessness in Edinburgh as well as other homelessness organisations to build a hub of organisations working together to end homelessness in Scotland. Specsavers have also donated 600 eye care vouchers to members in Swansea, Birmingham, Newcastle and Merseyside to enable them to get their eyes tested and glasses at their local Specsavers store.

Specsavers are campaigning for a national eye health strategy in England to ensure that everyone can access quality eye care. As part of that campaign Specsavers are focusing on raising awareness for the barriers people experiencing and at risk of homelessness face when they try to access health care services including eye care.

Specsavers is funding the development of a new dedicated optician's room in the London Skylight centre alongside Vision Care for Homeless People and has created a dedicated members’ wellbeing space in the Edinburgh Skylight centre. In Swansea, South Wales they have provided vouchers for ear and eye care.

Specsavers is also campaigning for a national eye health strategy in England to ensure that everyone can access quality eye care.

Since the beginning of our partnership in 2022 employees have volunteered over 700 hours of their time in our Shops and Warehouse, in our Christmas Hotels and Centres as healthcare and general volunteers or as part of our Changing Lives Panel Advisory Board. 

Furthermore, employees up and down the country are taking part in fundraising events for Crisis such as the London Marathon or Crisis very own London to Edinburgh Bike Ride Challenge.

Employees and store staff are also encouraged to take special training developed by Crisis and partner organisations such as Vision Care for Homeless People and The Big Issue Group to feel prepared and educated to deliver high quality eye care to vulnerable people such as homeless people. The training will focus on topics such as:

  • Types of homelessness
  • Causes of homelessness
  • How to talk about homelessness
  • How to support people who are sleeping rough

About Specsavers' homelessness work

For nearly 40 years, Specsavers has been committed to changing lives through better sight and hearing - we're proud of what we've achieved so far and are committed to exploring what more we can do.  

Dame Mary Perkins, co-founder of Specsavers, says: "As part of our long-term commitment to improving eyecare accessibility for all, we have pledged to help people experiencing homelessness in particular as they are frequently disadvantaged when it comes to healthcare. Our mission is to change lives through better sight and hearing. We will not solve every problem, but we can play our part. By working directly with service users and the charities and organisations that support them, we hope to play our part in improving access to eye care for all."

As well as various fundraising initiatives, Specsavers is supporting Crisis at Christmas. This campaign helps to raise awareness, improves understanding of the issues that drive homelessness, and provides practical support in the form of eye care clinics in various locations around the UK that people experiencing homelessness can access. 

Specsavers is working with The Big Issue, providing free eyecare and wax removal for its vendors and frontline team. They are in turn helping raise awareness of how good eyesight can help people experiencing homelessness, as are the members of a group of people we are working with who have their own lived experience and can give us more insight into the barriers to healthcare that they have faced. 

Specsavers has also extended its support for Vision Care for Homeless People (VCHP), which Specsavers' co-founder Dame Mary Perkins has been a patron of for more than ten years. This includes funding the opening of new eye care clinics around the UK, helping VCHP expand its service beyond England, including clinics in Crisis' new Skylight centres in London and Edinburgh.

You can read more about Specsavers' commitment to helping people to access care here.

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