About Us – Charitable Support

At Rawlings Opticians we are committed to supporting local national and international causes. Over recent years we have supported Vision Aid Overseas, CHECT (Childhood Eye Cancer Trust) World Sight Day and Optometry Giving Sight amongst many others.

For 2020 our main two charities will be, Gift of Sight (based in Southampton) in our Hampshire branches and Moorfields Eye Charity for our Surrey branches. We will also continue to collect glasses for Vision Aid Overseas in all our branches. You can read more about these charities below.

Moorfields Eye Charity

Moorfields Eye Charity is the main fundraising and grant-making charity for Moorfields Eye Hospital and its academic partner the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology. Together, they treat around 750,000 patients a year and produce more research than any other eye hospital in the world.

They provide targeted funds, above and beyond the responsibility of the NHS, that allows Moorfields and the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology to:

  • research cures and find more effective treatments for blinding diseases
  • invest in state-of-the-art equipment
  • educate and train the researchers and clinicians of tomorrow
  • provide the best possible care for patients, often in new and innovative ways

As one of the leading charities for research into eye health, supporting the pioneering work of Moorfields Eye Hospital and its partner, the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, Moorfield Eye Charity are working towards finding new treatments for eye diseases that currently have no cures, improving current therapies for treatable eye diseases, and finding more effective ways to identify and diagnose eye diseases to avoid preventable sight loss. There are ambitious plans to create a cutting edge integrated treatment, research and education centre in the Kings Cross area, opening in 2026.

78% of people say sight is the sense they fear losing the most. With an aging population, by 2050 four million people in the UK will be living with sight loss. Eye diseases are one of the biggest causes of sight loss and many can be prevented with early detection and treatment. Over the last year, Moorfields Eye Charity supported breakthroughs across a wide range of conditions. The charity is also funding Artificial Intelligence projects which could have far-reaching impact in the future.

Gift of Sight

Professor Andrew Lotery was appointed to the University of Southampton in 2002 and set up Gift of Sight to help support his vision science research. Starting his team in the Faculty of Medicine with a laboratory technician and two PhD students the group now has five principal investigators (senior scientists) with research projects being undertaken across all specialities and studying diseases which affect every age and level of society from babies to the very elderly.

Clinicians, clinical scientists and basic scientists work together to evaluate conditions found in patients who attend clinics held in Southampton Eye Unit and hospitals throughout the Wessex Deanery region. This helps inform the choice of conditions to investigate in a ‘bench to bedside’ manner.

Working closely with colleagues in other Faculties of the University of Southampton, including bioinformatics, human genetics and optoelectronics to name a few, their expertise helps to develop new and exciting ways of diagnosing and understanding disease with the potential to develop new ways to treat patients. Scientists are also involved with support groups, acting as ambassadors to some as well as speaking at events. This can help people who have a specific disease to understand more about their condition and also gives them a chance to talk directly with someone who may be able to give comfort with news of potential breakthroughs in research.

Papers relating to studies are published and can be viewed through links to PI’s University staff pages through our Gift of Sight website www.giftofsight.org.uk/about-us “All our research has the overarching aim of improving the lives of people affected by eye disorders”

Other Charitable Support:

Warren Clark Golfing Dreams

Rawlings Opticians are extremely proud to support local EDGA golfer Warren Clark. Warren visited the Chandlers Ford practice recently and experienced our eye exam with OCT scan and spoke to us about his work and ambitions. Warren Clark Golfing Dreams is a not-for-profit community group set up to deliver S.N.A.G Golf (Starting New at Golf), Tri-golf and Street golf to disabled, and disadvantaged, individuals and groups for free. We were delighted to supply Warren with a pair of Maui Jim “Big Wave” sunglasses in December 2019, ideal for highlighting contours while on the course while also providing maximum protection for your eyes. Take a look at Warrens website and see for yourself the great work he is doing. https://www.warrenclarkgolfingdreams.org/

CHECT

The Children’s Eye Cancer Trust remains a charity close to Rawlings Opticians with Rachael Smith continuing to volunteer for their Professional Focus Group. This charity raises awareness of retinoblastoma and supports those with the disease and their families. The work of the professional focus group has led to the inclusion of signs and symptoms being included in the ‘red book’ healthcare record given to every newborn, the publication of an Optical Assistants Protocol for Suspected Childhood Eye Cancer and many articles in journals and magazines and on social media to raise awareness. https://Chect.org.uk

Opensight

Opensight are a Hampshire charity supporting those with sight loss. They offer an independent living service and help people to claim benefits, a family support service, and an equipment service among many other valuable community services such as social groups. Their website can be viewed at opensight.org and we are helping them reach their target for their petition for every child to have an eye examination before they start school. You can sign the petition here: https://www.opensight.org.uk/sign-the-petition

Khmer Sight Foundation

Rawlings allow a member of staff a week’s leave each year to use for charitable services. In November 2018 our optometrist Kate Malam travelled to Phnom Penh in Cambodia to do voluntary work for The Khmer Sight Foundation. You can read her blog all about her trip here.

Vision Aid Overseas

Rawlings is a long-standing supporter of Vision Aid Overseas, a charity dedicated to helping people in the developing world whose lives are blighted by poor eyesight and a lack of eye care services. Our support for Vision Aid Overseas goes beyond just fundraising, with our optometrist Helen Short visiting Sierra Leone for her fifth VAO assignment.

How you can help
You can help underprivileged people in Africa enjoy the same access to eye care that we take for granted by collecting and bringing in your old spectacles to your nearest Rawlings Opticians practice. These are recycled by VAO to extract any material that can be sold to raise funds. In 2013 £25K was raised from the extracted gold alone, so please don’t just throw you old spectacles in the bin.

Vision Aid Overseas

Vision Care for Homeless People

In 2017, Rawlings Opticians are raising funds for the UK charity Vision Care for Homeless People. www.visioncarecharity.org  It is a charity set up to provide eye care services to homeless and other vulnerable people in an accessible and friendly environment in which they feel safe, welcome, and comfortable. Vision Care for Homeless People run clinic s in London, including for Crisis at Christmas, Birmingham, Brighton, Manchester, Exeter and Leeds, which are staffed by volunteer optometrists and dispensing opticians.



Other good causes which we are proud to support are:

Croydon Vision who support those in the local area with sight loss. We raised £400 for Croydon Vision in our Croydon practice’s centenary year and continue to support through our staff volunteering at their drop-in centre. http://www.croydon vision.org.uk

In the community we are also proud to support various events, such as local music festivals, sponsoring local schools rugby teams and student trips to help build schools overseas.

We provide our staff with Dementia awareness training, and our Winchester practice was a finalist in the Dementia Friendly Winchester Business of the Year Award in Winchester Business Excellence Awards 2016.