Published on 16/05/2022
Villa vision bus

 

  • Villa Vision programmes provide access to eye health care for children from deprived areas of Birmingham. 5,500 children have been reached so far.
  • The Wesleyan Foundation and Aston University’s five-year partnership is valued at over £250K
  • The findings of the evaluation will be shared with the Villa Vision team and all partners including participating schools, parents and children.

Villa Vision, a project that delivers eye health care to children from deprived areas of Birmingham, has received £20,000 from the Wesleyan Foundation. The money will help evaluate the impact of the project to date which has reached approximately 5,500 children across the West Midlands.

Villa Vision programmes are designed to increase access to eye health education, eye screening, eye examinations and to dispense glasses to children who need them with the aim of providing them with the visual foundation to succeed. The Villa Vision project is a collaboration between the Aston Villa Foundation, Aston University and optical lens supplier Essilor Vision For Life.

The money donated by Birmingham based Wesleyan, alongside the Aston University funding of almost £15,000, will pay for research assistants to evaluate the first three years of the project.
The objectives of the impact evaluation are to:

•    Review how many children have been screened, detail the coverage of the programme and its reach within the city
•    Analyse Villa Vision’s data recording children’s eye screening tests and eye examinations
•    Examine the potential impact on student’s performance on tasks that require attention to detail after being given glasses
•    Work with children to explore their experience of the Villa Vision programme to help develop the educational part of the programme 
•    Work with teachers to examine the potential impact of corrected vision on children’s classroom behaviour (their integration into class, their reading at distance and close-up, their English and maths)
•    Work with parents to understand the impact of Villa Vision on their eye health knowledge and the quality of life of the children involved in the programme and the family more generally.
The findings of the evaluation will be shared with the Villa Vision team and all collaborating partners as well as participating schools, teachers, parents and children. The findings will also be published in peer-reviewed journals, online and in newsletters to reach interested audiences. 

Dr Rachel Shaw, a health psychologist in Aston Institute for Health & Neurodevelopment, and project lead, said: 

“Villa Vision is an inspirational project offering children eye care in their schools. Not only that, Nik Sonpal and Zak El Khalifi from the Villa Vision team, have created an educational, entertaining, and imaginative workshop helping children to understand the importance of eye health, bringing it to life with the help of Aston Villa and a footballing theme.” 

Leon Davies, professor of optometry and physiological optics in the School of Optometry at Aston University and Vice President of the College of Optometrists said: 

“The team led by Dr Rachel Shaw with support from Dr Laura Shapiro, Esra Yeter, Sidratul Kazi and myself will provide robust evidence to demonstrate the impact and value of Villa Vision on children’s eye health and education in Birmingham, which we believe will help secure Villa Vision’s long-term future.”

Nathan Wallis, Chief of Staff at Wesleyan said: “We are proud to be supporting Villa Vision and its research, they are making a huge difference to the lives of so many primary school children across the West Midlands. It is vital for all children to be given access to good eye care, not just to improve engagement in the classroom but for their overall quality of life and self-confidence.

“As a financial service mutual for teachers and doctors it is important to us that we support the things that matter most to our customers and supporting Villa Vision is a great example of this.”

Nikhil Sonpal, Villa Vision Project Manager and optometrist at Aston Villa Foundation, said: 

“Villa Vision and the Aston Villa Foundation are incredibly excited to have the support of both the Wesleyan Foundation and Aston University in helping to establish a deeper understanding of our eye health project.

"Not only will this evaluation help unearth the level of impact our intervention is having within the community, but it will also allow us to discover ways to develop our provision further and strengthen our reach when trying to address local inequalities in eye care.” 

Notes to editors

The Wesleyan Foundation and Aston University’s five-year partnership began in 2018 and is valued at over £250,000. The aim is to support students and projects aligned with the foundation’s own areas of focus which include health, education, social development, and innovation. To date, the partnership has funded numerous projects including:

•    Medical student scholarships
•    Research in the Aston University Eye Clinic for children with special educational needs and disabilities
•    Funding for a ‘Pathways’ cohort
•    Funded a PhD student to look at the social impact of the Wesleyan Foundation 
•    Five Wesleyan colleagues on the Executive MBA course
•    Donated funds towards the Medical Hardship Fund.

About Aston University

Founded in 1895 and a University since 1966, Aston is a long established university led by its three main beneficiaries – students, business and the professions, and our region and society. Aston University is located in Birmingham and at the heart of a vibrant city and the campus houses all the university’s academic, social and accommodation facilities for our students. Saskia Hansen is the interim Vice-Chancellor & Chief Executive.

Aston University was named University of the Year 2020 by The Guardian and the University’s full time MBA programme has been ranked in the top 100 in the world in the Economist MBA 2021 ranking. The Aston MBA has been ranked 12th in the UK and 85th in the world. 

For media inquiries in relation to this release, contact Rebecca Hume, Press and Communications Manager, on (+44)7557 745416 or email: r.hume@aston.ac.uk

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Sue Smith, Head of Press and Communications
    0121 204 3521
    s.p.smith@aston.ac.uk

Sam Cook, Press and Communications Manager
    0121 204 5065
    s.cook2@aston.ac.uk

Rebecca Hume, Press and Communications Manager
    0121 204 5159
    r.hume@aston.ac.uk

Nicola Jones, Press and Communications Manager
    n.jones6@aston.ac.uk

Alternatively, email pr@aston.ac.uk

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