Business partner: Vision Express and the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust

The optician chain links up with the medical research charity

Everest trek: a partnership fundraiser
Everest trek: a partnership fundraiser

Some companies insist that their charity partnerships reflect their field of expertise, which can give an opportunity to the sector's less well-known names. In 2010, the optician chain Vision Express ended its fundraising for Vision Aid Overseas and chose the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust as its UK replacement.

"Vision Express prides itself on the expertise of its team, so the synergies are clear," says Jennifer Wye, the company's public relations manager.

Formed in 1987, the charity has remained small by virtue of its mission - to research and raise awareness of retinoblastoma, a rare form of cancer that attacks the developing retina in children under six. The charity's annual income, a mixture of fundraising by supporters and trust grants, is £350,000. The Vision Express partnership, which began in October 2010, has so far raised £160,000.

It has raised funds through sponsorship and public donations. There are Chect collecting boxes in all 350 Vision Express stores; a Nottingham employee has trekked to Mount Everest base camp; fifty Vision Express head office workers took part in the Robin Hood half-marathon in 2012, raising £25,000; and the company's Liverpool store raised £650 as part of its 10th anniversary.

The charity's 1,700 members are its main source of funds, but the partnership has provided a boost. "The members are passionate about raising awareness because they might have had a tough experience in getting their child diagnosed," says Joy Felgate, the charity's chief executive. "They bring in most of the money, but what Vision Express does is significant."

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