Elaine Styles started volunteering for the Opticians service at the Crisis at Christmas charity back in 1998. As a result of this in 2003 she went on to start a new charity called Vision Care for Homeless People, which provides eye care services to homeless and other vulnerable people in an accessible and friendly environment in which they feel safe, welcome and comfortable.
Since then the charity has carried out over 11,000 eye examinations and dispensed as many spectacles to some of the most vulnerable people in the UK. She is currently chair of the charity, which runs three clinics in London, one in Birmingham, Brighton, Manchester, Exeter and Leeds. They are aiming to expand their services throughout the UK.
Imagine if everything you saw was out of focus, how would your life be affected? Now imagine if you were homeless and couldn’t see… Click here to watch a short video to find out about the work Vision Care for Homeless People carries out and its impact on many vulnerable lives.
As well as being Chair of the charity, Elaine has undertaken some big cycling challenges to raise money for Vision Care for Homeless People. In 2012 Elaine cycled from Land‘s End to John O‘Groats, 1480 km in 10 days, during which she raised over £5,000. In 2013 she undertook an even bigger physical challenge – cycling over the Pyrenees from Biarritz on the Atlantic Ocean to Perpignan on the Mediterranean over some of the most famous Cols in the Tour de France. It was a very tough and rewarding week cycling 742 km with 14,353 m of climbing and raising a further £1,500.
Since then Elaine has cycled the tough first stage route of the 2014 Tour de France’s challenging first leg from Leeds, riding across the Yorkshire Dales, to a stunning finish in the historic spa town of Harrogate. This was a hilly 190 Km and the longest distance she had ever cycled in a day. Every penny she has raised goes to delivering eye care services as she has paid her own expenses during the challenges.
If you are inspired to help with a small donation to provide eye care and spectacles to some of the most vulnerable people in the UK, you can check out the VCHP Website: http://www.visioncarecharity.org/donations/
I have many good things to say about Specs of Kensington; after all I have been going to see them for 25 years. When I sat in the shop as a young teenager with my parents and brother, who would have thought that my daughters would be receiving the same love, care and attention from Daska and her team. The service we receive at Specs of Kensington goes beyond the basic eye care. They are exceptional. They make us feel special, they have done so for three generations and we always highly recommend their skills to anyone.
I can't thank you enough for the time, care and good advice you have given me over the years.
For Twenty years I tried unsuccessfully to wear contact lenses and I decided to give it one last go and booked an appointment at Specs of Kensington. Daska was fantastic. She very patiently took me through numerous types of lenses and unbelievably she found one that suited my prescription when I had been told by so many opticians that I wasn't a suitable candidate for contact lenses. That was nine years ago and since then Daska has been constantly updating my prescription and providing me with new and up to date solutions for my eyes.
Specs of Kensington - a friendly, highly professional, all-female Optometrist team - fitted my lenses and made the whole process easy and painless. They explained exactly how the lenses work illustrating the treatment with hi-tech images and information which I found fascinating. I can't recommend them highly enough.
I am 11 years old and have needed to wear glasses since I was 7. When I was 8, Chloe suggested that I could wear contact lenses because I needed to wear glasses all the time. I did lots of sports so I kept on taking my glasses off. The people who work at ‘Specs‘ were very kind. I would go in every day for 5 days to learn how to put the contact lenses in. There were days when I thought I could not do it, but Chloe believed I could. Because of their kindness I can now pop my contact lenses in each morning without difficulty and anybody who finds out that I wear contact are amazed. Specs have helped me ever since I was seven years old and I know they still will for a long time.
Your care for the individual rather just the pair of eyes shines out and is utterly exemplary; and your concern and attention to detail, and also the way that you explain things in a human way, is just in a totally different league to any optician, ophthalmologist or optometrist I've seen in a generation. It's obvious that your standards and passion apply across the whole staff too. That's one part of my welfare that I know forever is in as good hands as it can be.
It was so lovely to see you when I came in for my appointment and catch up on news. Thank you for the glasses spray cleaner and cloth which are coming in very handy. Congratulations on running your superb eye business in your 30th year. I have you and your wonderful team to thank for my healthy eye and continued comfortable contact lens wear - started 25 years ago for sharpened sight on my wedding day.
I have to Daska, you honestly have the best practice with the finest team and I am pleased to be a Specs patient.
The new lenses are stunning. They were instantly comfortable. The transistion from near to far focus is seamless - the best yet. Most importantly there are no issues with peripheral vision, the coverage is better than any of my previous lenses.
I want to thank you so very much for seeing me on Friday. You are always so patient, unhurried and kind. I was so anxious about my eyes but came away feeling very much reassured. I look forward to seeing you again in six months time.
As a patient I am confident in receiving carefully considered advice at each visit, with the issues and options explained clearly. I have no doubt that my best interests are being served, to the extent that on some occasions it has taken Daska several years of patient chiding before I have taken heed of her sound advice. I have been a patient of the practice for over 20 years, travelling each time from Gerrards Cross to be treated by the excellent team at Specs of Kensington. I intend to continue to do so for many years to come.
I am 11 years old and have needed to wear glasses since I was 7. The people who work at 'Specs' were very kind. I would go in every day for 5 days to learn how to put the contact lenses in. There were days when I thought I could not do it, but Chloe believed I could. Because of their kindness I can now pop my contact lenses in each morning without difficulty and anybody who finds out that I wear contact are amazed. Specs have helped me ever since I was seven years old and I know they still will for a long time.
Daska was AMAZING. I'm so used to Specsavers/ Vision Express type outfits and was so bowled over by the level of service, information received and the overall treat.ment throughout. Many, many thanks. It was an overall brilliant experience
Thank you so very much for all your kind support & for being so understanding. You are the only professional who has ever listened to me from the beginning and treated me like a person. It is only thanks to you that I wear a contact lens at all. I am grateful for your continuing care, interested and support.
I was so grateful to you for dealing with my delinquent eyelids and I am glad to say they have been much better since I started the treatment. I greatly appreciate all your care during my visit. I felt a lot better coming away with your reassurance about eyesight and eyelids.