Boots Opticians highlight the link between eye health and literacy

The company is taking action on literacy levels as part of our Vision for Literacy Business Pledge.

Boots Opticians is one of the 44 leading UK businesses that signed the Vision for Literacy Business Pledge in 2016. Signatories have committed to helping raise literacy levels in the UK by taking clear action in three areas: within their workforce, in their local communities and at a national level.

To fulfil the Pledge and help break the cycle of low literacy levels among disadvantaged children, Boots Opticians has mobilised its colleagues in over 600 community locations across the UK. 6,000 employees across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have each been given two volunteering days as part of Boots Opticians’ partnership with the National Literacy Trust, which highlights the links between eye health and literacy. A total of 90,000 hours have been committed to volunteering over the course of the year.

Colleagues have been taking part in the Boots Opticians Schools Challenge, which involves visiting primary schools in their local area to lead an assembly or a classroom event for pupils about reading for enjoyment and the importance of having regular eye checks.

During the school visits, volunteers spend time talking to children about the importance of healthy eyes. With the launch of Boots Opticians’ Schools Vision Screening programme alongside the Schools Challenge, volunteers discuss the importance of regular eye checks to find and treat any problems as soon as possible to prevent related eyesight problems that could affect a child’s literacy and learning. They also encourage pupils to read more by helping them to choose books they will enjoy. Lots of Schools Challenge events have already taken place across the UK and will continue until the end of the academic year.


Several teams have also extended their schools activity to make their work even more impactful. In Liverpool, Boots Opticians volunteers have led whole-school literacy days at a number of local schools, where pupils have completed a series of fun activities in ‘literacy zones’.

Colleagues based at the Boots Opticians Head Office have been working with the L.E.A.D. Academy Trust in Nottingham. Teams of volunteers have been lined up to provide reading support at four of the academies in the Trust (Edna G Olds, St Ann’s Well, Jubilee and Radford) where many of the pupils speak English as a second language. This support is being provided every week on an on-going basis.

Volunteers have also led whole-school assemblies at both Edna G Olds and Radford and taken the Boots Opticians Schools Challenge vehicle to entertain and inform parents and pupils on the importance of eye health and reading for enjoyment. They’ve also launched the Vision Screening application, which has led to teachers sitting pupils in different places in the classroom to support their learning.

Literacy-focused activities have also been taking place within Boots Opticians practices. For example, in Peterborough and Leeds, colleagues have created reading corners to encourage families to read together while they are waiting to have their eyes checked. The team in Bradford has also put together a library in their practice for children to use when they visit and staff have been helping children to choose books they will enjoy and discussing the importance of reading more for enjoyment with parents.

As the Schools Challenge continues and more practices kick off activity to support the Vision for Literacy Business Pledge, the commitment and passion from Boots Opticians colleagues will help to make a real impact to the lives of disadvantaged children.

Find out more about the Vision for Literacy Business Pledge and follow the conversation on Twitter with #LiteracyPledge.

Read more about Boots Opticians’ partnership with the National Literacy Trust.


Originally published at www.literacytrust.org.uk.