Collect. Donate. Sort. Recycle.
The Spectacle Recycling Story
Chichester Lions Club began collecting spectacles for recycling back in 1967. The initiative really took off in 1980 with a delivery of 700 sorted specs to the Missionary Optical Society (MOS) in Devon for use in their clinics in Kenya and India.
Gradually other Lions Clubs started feeding their recycled spectacles through Chichester. So in 1985, a link was established with Le Havre Lions and Medico France. 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 MOS in Devon as many pairs of sorted specs as it needed.
In 1988, another outlet was established through Vision Aid Overseas, and in 1990, a national campaign with Boots the Chemist and Help The Aged 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.
Although the scale of this campaign stretched the Chichester operation to its limits, Lions clubs continue to collect hundreds of thousands of spectacles each year. They work with local shops, surgeries and other organisations that kindly host collection bins on their premises.
Spectacle donatioins arrive in Chichester in boxes and bags of all shapes and sizes. They are expertly sorted by Lions members and volunteers. Those sent onto Medico France are then cleaned and graded for use in eye camps in Africa, India and Eastern Europe.
Through contacts with individuals and charities based in the UK, Chichester Lions make spectacles available for eye-camp projects overseas. Support is also provided for volunteers travelling on Unite For Sight projects who re-use spectacles for their individual projects.
Every year over 300,000 pairs of spectacles are sent to Medico France. Indeed, donations by UK Lions Clubs, recycled through Chichester, account for more than half of the total number of the spectacles processed by Medico France.
Lions are grateful to Parcel Force for transporting spectacles 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.
Special thanks is given to The Apuldram Centre for providing Chichester Lions Club land and facilities for its workshop.
Visits to the Chichester workshop can be arranged with prior notice.