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Community Involvement

Examples of Observatory's and Wardale Williams' community involvement

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Employability skills pilot

We are excited to be sponsoring a pilot at Thomas Gainsborough School which is preparing 19 students in Sixth Form to build “human skills” for the work place. Examples are resilience, perseverance, motivation, ambition, teamwork, problem solving, tolerance and respect. Owner of Observatory Wardale Williams, Jonathan Foreman, was previously a student at TGS. The pilot will run until April 2024 in partnership with business consultancy Advantage4U. It is hoped it can be rolled out so more young people can benefit.

Group of students with teachers and other people involved

High Visibility Jackets

We have donated thousands of high visibility jackets to local primary schools, pre-schools and community groups, to protect children and adults when they are out walking on school excursions or in any situation where they need to be more visible, and raise awareness of safety on the roads.

Football Sponsorship

We’ve sponsored the Haverhill Under 12 whites for many years.

Blind Walks

We conduct blindfolded walks on World Sight Day alongside the local Mayor and the Lions, to raise awareness of some of the issues and obstacles that blind and visually impaired people face. It is important that our community involvement also represents the visually-impaired community.

Eye Smart Campaign

Observatory and Wardale Williams launched Kiera’s Campaign, an eye test awareness and fundraising campaign in 2015 after diagnosing a brain tumour in one of our young patients named Keira. This became the Eye Smart Campaign to incorporate one of our older patients, Ralph McMurray, who was diagnosed with ocular melanoma following his first ever eye exam. Sadly, Keira passed away in November 2018 but we continue to raise money in her memory. 

We undertook a cycling fundraiser called The Big Haverhill Bike Ride in 2019 after her friend Tim Nash cycled from Hillsborough to Hedingham to raise funds for St Helena Hospice in her memory. We were proud to raise £740, whilst Tim raised over £13,000!

To date, Observatory and Wardale Williams have raised over £4,000 for Eye Smart with proceeds split between CLIC Sargent and Ocumel UK.

You can read more about our Eye Smart Campaign on the Eye Smart Campaign page.

Chernobyl Children's Lifeline

From 2013 to 2019, Observatory Beccles has given free eye tests and glasses to groups of children visiting from an area affected by the Chernobyl disaster. Sadly, due to COVID and then the Ukraine war, these visits are no longer happening.

Food Banks

We make donations to local food banks and act as a drop off in some locations.


We support Dr Thanujer Panicker of Eyelight Optometrists in Botswana, though the charity VisionSpring. We donated a sum of money to Dr Panicker to subsidise the purchase of spectacles and distribute these to the target population in Botswana. It is hoped that Dr Panicker can build a sustainable, revenue-generating model of distribution.

Community Involvement Award Winner

We were thrilled to win the EADT Business Award for Community Involvement.

EADT Business Awards winner logo for Community Involvement

Eco-friendly Opticians

We are also eco-friendly. 

We use refillable cleaning solution as a way to stop using so much plastic – simply bring your cleaning solution bottle in and we refill it for you for free. 

We introduced a contact lens & packaging recycling box in conjunction with Terracycle in 2019 which has been extremely popular. We will accept any brand of contact lens and all packaging.

We do a trade-in offer every year in conjunction with the Lions Club and collect used glasses for distribution to some of the poorest countries in the world.

We went paperless in 2019. 

On our latest cleaning cloths, we specifically instructed the manufacturer not to put each cloth in a plastic bag to cut down on plastic waste. 

We use energy saving bulbs, non-toxic cleaners, paper bags, recycle bins and shut down our computers and equipment every night.