With most of the leaves from the trees firmly on the ground in the northern hemisphere, World Sight Day seems well and truly gone. As the thoughts turn to Christmas and plans for the New Year, let us reflect back on what has been a truly transforming year for Optometry Giving Sight in the UK.
Vision Aid Overseas and Optometry Giving Sight
In April, we signed a Memorandum of Understanding, with Vision Aid Overseas joining forces with them by fundraising for their projects as support to their 30th Anniversary year.
The collaboration has proved to be an ideal partnership for both organisations that have very similar missions at the heart of their activities. Furthermore, the optical sector in the UK warmly welcomed the relationship and was pleased to hear that we were bringing added impact on the ground when delivering eye care to those in need.
In 2016, subject to a consensus by the board of trustees, we hope to be able to make our partnership more permanent. Options are being explored as to whether Vision Aid Overseas could act as an agent for Optometry Giving Sight in the UK. Whilst both organisations will look to protect their unique strengths and identities, there will be a simplified message for sponsors and supporters.
World Sight Day and Optics Cycling for Sight
The World Sight Day and Optics Cycling for Sight took off with a blast this year. With more than 350 practices registering to take part in the World Sight Day Challenge and 44 participants cycling for sight, 2015 is set to become our biggest year yet.
In August, activities kicked off with the first of many Optics Cycling for Sight challenges. Timothy Bowden, our National Committee member was one of the many to get on his bike and cycle for sight. He managed to cycle an incredible 120 miles along the route of Hadrian’s Wall and raised over £2,000. Following his cycle, 28 cyclists complete the Tour of Yorkshire on the bank holiday weekend by collectively cycling 2702 miles and raising nearly £7,000. Essilor UK, our global national sponsor generously matched the first £10,000 raised and we are well on our way to our £25,000 target and transforming many more lives.
Following the cycling theme Alcon kept the wheels spinning in most of their offices around the World on World Sight day including the UK. The photos showed them looking remarkably composed considering how competitive they are rumoured to be.
At the ABDO Conference and gala dinner in September, Essilor generously allowed us to put an exercise bike on their stand and cycle a few miles. The evening saw a raffle when one lucky person walked away with an Apple Watch Sport donated by Essilor which raised £2,500.
The wonderful students of Glasgow Caledonian Optics Society raised £1,000 at their Eyeball with some great raffle prizes. Proceeds were split between ourselves and Guide Dogs for the Blind.
Chapman Optician Cheltenham did a massive fundraising event at their practice on 7th November 2015 and raised an amazing £1,012. They were even joined by Alex Chalk, MP for Cheltenham, who cycled for twenty minutes and recognised them for their fundraising efforts on behalf of Optometry Giving Sight. This was a prime example of amazing fundraising.
Our creative friends at Optoinfo answered our request for engaging ideas on social media and came up with some fabulous suggestions for World Sight Day such as Eyeball Pong and Globey Glasses.
If you are a practice owner, you may be wondering how to differentiate yourself from others? Increasingly, when consumers shop they are looking for brands that support social or ethical causes. Perhaps 2016 should be the year when you make it easy for them. How about launching your own, ‘buy one, give one campaign’? Have a look at I Care and Share here for more information.
Remember, it only takes £3 to £5 to provide an eye examination and glasses for a person in need. Why not transform a life by giving the gift of vision today.