The Press supported the Glasses for Gambia campaign, which was led by York-based Benenden Health, and supported by both of the city’s MPs.
The campaign began when Benenden Health and Benenden Hospital joined forces with a charity supporting villagers in rural Gambia to collect second hand glasses – which will be sent to people overseas who cannot afford to buy them.
The UK registered charity called BACE, Building and Assisting Communities with Education, runs a health clinic in The Gambia and a school, both in an impoverished village called Bonsa.
Tracy Barnett, chair of BACE, said: “Myself and all the trustees would like to say a massive thank you to Benenden for collecting so many glasses. The support has just been staggering from so many people. Without the support from Benenden this campaign would not have been possible for the charity.
“We will be presenting the glasses to the programme manager at the National Eye Health programme in The Gambia at the beginning of March, where they will be utilised to help to support so many people in the poorest rural communities in this country.
“The collection of glasses was a temporary one off campaign for the charity as their primary aim for the next 24 months is to focus on the sustainability of their newly built and opened primary health clinic, which will support in the region of 20,000 people living in one of the poorest areas of The Gambia.”
In York glasses were donated at The Press offices in Walmgate, Nuffield Health York Hospital, the information centre at Monks Cross, the Innovation Centre reception on the University of York campus, and at the York City home match on November 15.
Three opticians tested and labelled the glasses before they were handed over.
They are expected to reach The Gambia in March and will be given to people who might otherwise struggle to afford a pair of spectacles and would probably simply go without, making everyday tasks such as working, cooking, reading and earning a living, extremely difficult, if not impossible.
Jane Barlow, Benenden Hospital’s PR executive who co-ordinated the appeal said: “Thank you to everyone who donated their old spectacles – we didn’t expect to collect just so many! “]]>