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We have been collecting and sorting used spectacles for almost 35 years. Collecting spectacles for recycling was a club activity as far back as 1967, however it became a major project for the club in 1980 with a delivery of 700 sorted specs to the Missionary Optical Society in Devon for use in their clinics in Kenya and India.
Our collecting area soon grew and other Lions Clubs started feeding their collections to us. Over the next four years some 50,000 specs were sent to M.O.S. in Devon.
In 1985 we linked up with the Le Havre Lions and Medico France and over the following five years some 100,000 specs, 43,000 lenses, and 10,000 frames were sent to Medico France while still delivering to M.O.S. as many pairs of sorted specs as they needed.
In 1988, another outlet was established through Vision Aid Overseas, and in 1990 Boots the Chemist and Help The Aged joined us in a national campaign which produced 460,000 pairs of specs in six months. Once sorted they went to places such as Cameroon, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Sri Lanka, India, Zanzibar, Jamaica, Bolivia and Brazil. All that took more resources than the Club could sensibly provide.
Today we are receiving used spectacles from Lions clubs throughout the UK, as well as from opticians and supermarket sources within our own City. Spectacles are delivered to us in boxes and bags of all shapes and sizes and are processed by our club members and other volunteers in our workshop. We use our considerable experience to select the items that are suitable for recycling and to sort them in preparation for onward transmission to Medico France in Le Havre. Medico France have the necessary equipment to clean and grade the spectacles ready for use in eye camps in Africa, India and Eastern Europe.
We have also developed contacts with individuals and charities based in the UK who are carrying out eye-camp projects overseas, who are able to use spectacles that we are recycling and supplying to them. We support volunteers travelling on Unite For Sight projects, supplying them with the spectacles they require for their individual projects.
We are very grateful to the Apuldram Centre who have made land available for our workshop, the many Lions clubs who collect spectacles and send them to us, the shops, surgeries and organisations who provide facilities for collection bins, Parcel Force, without whose help the scheme could not function - and also to the members of the Chichester club who have committed their time and expertise to the project.
Every year we send over 300,000 pairs of spectacles to Medico France. Through Chichester, the UK lions clubs provide more than 50% of the spectacles processed by Medico France - more than any other national group including France itself… with your help.
Thank you for your help
Firstly a big thank you to all those Lions Clubs, opticians, and all the various organisations in the medical field and outside it who have helped collect and deliver to us the thousands of used specs we have processed during the last year.
Then a rather special thank you to Parcel Force for transporting so many specs from all parts of the country free of charge and to Fraser Freight of Portsmouth for transporting sorted spectacles free of charge to Medico France in Le Havre.
A final special thank you to The Apuldram Centre for providing us with the land and facilities for our workshop.
Click the video icon to watch our team sorting spectacles
For information on how you can help us by donating your unwanted spectacles, please visit our Donate Your Spectacles page found in the menu above.