LOOKING TO HELP: Tracey Parish is tending to the needs of the disadvantaged in the Clarence Valley by providing free eyewear to those who need it the most.
LOOKING TO HELP: Tracey Parish is tending to the needs of the disadvantaged in the Clarence Valley by providing free eyewear to those who need it the most. Matthew Elkerton

Can't afford new glasses? You may be eligible for free pair

TRACEY Parish is looking to break down the barriers that block welfare recipients from obtaining their basic eye care necessities.

Ms Parish volunteers alongside Vision Australia as an optical dispenser to provide free glasses to those who need it most.

"These people are living fortnight to fortnight on the most basic of welfare benefits, so there is no way they can afford a $600 pair of glasses," Ms Parish said.

The NSW Spectacles Program allows those people who are eligible to have access to one free pair of single vision or bifocal spectacles.

Ms Parish has been providing for the Northern Rivers region for about three years now, being based in Lismore, but only realised the need for a person in the Clarence Valley recently.

"I have been coming down here for about two months now," she said. "I had not looked into the Clarence Valley before but I found out that the closest optical dispenser was in Coffs Harbour; over 45 minutes away.

"There were a lot of people passing up on the free spectacle because it was too far away, and to me that was not good enough."

All possible recipients are means tested as to ascertain their need for the program and will also require having their eyes checked prior to applying for the program.

It was because of an elderly woman who could not afford to buy her much needed spectacles that Ms Parish became involved in the program.

"She called me crying about not being able to afford her glasses. It was heartbreaking, and I had to do something to help her out.

Ms Parish is in the Clarence Valley to host consultations on every second Tuesday at the Grafton Community Centre.



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