Hosting Crawley-based Vision Aid Overseas in Parliament

When going for an eye test it’s common for many opticians to have information about how to donate an old pair of glasses which while no longer of use to us, could help provide the gift of sight to someone less fortunate.

Indeed, after dropping off glasses in this way we might not think much about what happens next. Crawley-based Vision Aid Overseas receive glasses we have finished with and recycle them to generate funds to carry out a mission, to ‘enable people living in poverty to access affordable glasses and eye care.’

I was delighted to host Vision Aid Overseas recently in the House of Commons. I often welcome charities to Westminster but it was additionally special to host one which works to help people in the developing world from its base here in Crawley.

MPs, Commonwealth High Commissioners and charities came together to call for improved access to affordable eye care in developing countries, including eye exams and appropriate treatment such as spectacles, particularly for poorer communities and children.

When their warehouse in Manor Royal receives deliveries of glasses, they are sorted by hand, and either recycled for metal content such as gold frames, or sold on if buyers are interested in any retro or vintage products. Other glasses are taken to a recycling facility where metal is extracted. The income generated supports eye care programmes in the charity’s partner countries.

The Crawley-based charity delivers eye care services and low-cost new glasses to those in need; helping children in Africa who can’t see to learn and get an education, and supporting adults who can’t see to earn to support their families and contribute to their communities.

Glasses are sent to the Manor Royal warehouse including from drop-off points across the UK, including at Specsavers on The Martlets in Crawley town centre.

1.1 billion people worldwide can’t see properly simply because they need glasses and two thirds of those affected are women. We can be proud that the actions of a charity based here in Crawley, in taking the glasses we no longer need, are having a direct impact on the ground.

Henry Smith MP