What is the partnership?
Boots Opticians and the National Literacy Trust worked together on Zoe's Community Challenge, a bespoke programme to find and support children whose literacy skills are being held back by eyesight issues. About 1.5 million children in the UK have undiagnosed eye conditions, making it difficult for them to read and write.
What did the company do?
Staff visited local primary schools to encourage children to read for enjoyment and to promote regular eye checks. Schools were offered a free vision screening kit developed by Boots Opticians, and volunteers engaged with local groups and events, including Beavers and Brownies, libraries and local literature festivals.
Because the partnership was Boots Opticians’ first formal volunteering programme, the National Literacy Trust created resources to build staff confidence. A toolkit for volunteers included template letters, an assembly plan and literacy-based resources linked to the national curriculum. A monthly partnership newsletter is produced to showcase great work and inspire more colleagues to support the partnership.
Boots Opticians also created an innovative storybook, Zookeeper Zoe, containing visual acuity tests. The 350,000 books were distributed free through Boots Opticians and Boots UK stores.
Why did it win?
The initiative reached more than 19,000 children, with 4,700 taking part in the vision screening programme. The partnership has created a cultural shift within Boots Opticians, motivating staff to unite in supporting a cause relevant to their work. Their support has extended beyond Zoe's Community Challenge, with staff creating book corners to bring reading into their practices.
What did the judges say?
"An extremely rounded partnership with long-term benefits for the corporate partner, charity and beneficiaries, reaching an impressive amount of children," said Laura Barnett, head of communications and development at Rays of Sunshine Children's Charity.
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