Optical charity Vision Care for Homeless People is on a drive to roll out its much-needed services across the country.

The charity provides free eye tests and spectacles to homeless people throughout the UK, and is now seeking support from individual practitioners and organisations to help it expand from its London base.

Last week, the charity held afternoon tea at the House of Lords, which was attended by representatives of several prominent companies. The event was hosted by the charity's patron, Lord Filkin, who praised the founding members of the Vision Care for Homeless People.

'These are people who identified a problem, then rather than just talking about it, they actually went and did something about it,' he said.

Founding member Harinder Paul outlined the need for the service. 'Only 30 per cent of homeless people are eligible for an NHS eye examination. And of these people, our research has indicated that the vast majority - around 90 per cent - would not feel comfortable walking into a high street practice,' Paul said. 'They are only entitled to one pair of spectacles each year, but around 67 per cent of homeless people have been mugged at some point, and they are 13 times more likely to be attacked - meaning they are very likely to lose or break their spectacles. We give them spectacles whenever they need them.'

? Readers wanting to work with Vision Care for Homeless People should call 020 7490 8933 (Monday and Thursday) or email viscare@hotmail.com