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All Eyes on Literacy as Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall Visits Boots Opticians

05 February 2016
Feature CSR

On Wednesday 3 February, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall, Patron of the National Literacy Trust, joined Boots Opticians colleagues to celebrate the work of the National Literacy Trust Hub in Peterborough. 

Ben Fletcher, Managing Director, Boots Opticians said, “It is an honour to welcome HRH The Duchess of Cornwall to our Boots Opticians store in Peterborough today. We are delighted to be part of the valuable work taking place in the community to raise literacy skills and inspire the next generation.”

Last year Boots Opticians launched a pioneering new partnership with the National Literacy Trust which aims to improve the literacy of the UK’s most disadvantaged children and highlight the links between eye health and literacy. It is estimated one million children in the UK1 have an undiagnosed eye condition which could be an enormous barrier preventing them from enjoying reading. Low levels of literacy are most common in the poorest communities and it is in these areas that people are often more likely to delay eye tests.

Ben Fletcher continued, “Good vision is key to learning and a crucial part of literacy development. Our partnership with the National Literacy Trust is vital to tackling undiagnosed eye conditions and giving young children across the UK the care and support they need to have the best possible start in life.”

Through the partnership, Boots Opticians will help to break the cycle of illiteracy for disadvantaged children by volunteering 90,000 hours in schools to help with literacy programmes which encourage children to read more for enjoyment and emphasise the importance of having regular eye checks. Research shows 80 percent2 of a child’s learning occurs through sight and an undiagnosed vision problem can affect a child’s ability to concentrate for long periods of time. To tackle this issue, Boots Opticians has launched a new free Vision Screening Programme across hundreds of schools in the UK to help correct any eye conditions at an early age.

The quick online assessment system and accompanying toolkit allows teaching staff to check a child’s visual acuity in school. If a referral is recommended, the Optometrist will then assess a child’s vision and identify any defects. The system has been developed with the aim of supporting every child and can be used for any level of literacy, making it suitable for children of all ages.

The National Literacy Hub in Peterborough is one of three National Literacy Trust Hubs in the UK piloting area-based innovative approaches to breaking the cycle of intergenerational low literacy.




Notes to editors

1 Eye Care Trust



For further information, please contact the Boots Opticians Press Office on 0115 959 5995.


About the Boots Opticians and the National Literacy Trust Partnership

In May 2015 Boots Opticians and the National Literacy Trust launched a pioneering new partnership to boost children’s literacy in the UK. The partnership, which highlights the links between eye health and literacy, is aimed at improving the literacy levels of the UK’s most disadvantaged children.

It is estimated that around one million1 children in the UK have an undiagnosed vision problem, with research showing that people from areas of deprivation are likely to delay having an eye test due to concerns about the cost of glasses. With low levels of literacy also most prevalent in the poorest communities, this new partnership aims to understand a potential correlation between a child’s vision and literacy.

Together Boots Opticians and the National Literacy Trust are striving to break the cycle of illiteracy for disadvantaged children and champion regular eye checks for all UK school children through a ground breaking school vision screening programme, volunteering in schools, community programmes and fundraising.

About the National Literacy Trust

We are a national charity dedicated to raising literacy levels in the UK. Our research and analysis make us the leading authority on literacy. We run projects in the poorest communities, campaign to make literacy a priority for politicians and parents, and support schools.

Visit to find out more, donate or sign up for a free email newsletter. You can also find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
Phone us on 020 7587 1842 or email

The National Literacy Trust is a registered charity no. 1116260 and a company limited by guarantee no. 5836486 registered in England and Wales and a registered charity in Scotland no. SC042944. Registered address: 68 South Lambeth Road, London SW8 1RL.


About Boots Opticians

Boots Opticians is one of the leading opticians in the UK with 637* practices, of which 177* operate on a franchise basis. Around 30% of practices are located in Boots stores with the balance being standalone optical practices.

In August 2013, Boots Opticians became the first multiple optician in the UK to include digital retinal photography as a standard element of its eye test for customers of all ages.

De Rigo, a world leader in the design, production and distribution of high-end eyewear and sunwear, owns a 42% minority interest in Boots Opticians which it obtained in 2009 after Boots Opticians merged with Dollond & Aitchison to create the second largest optical chain in the UK.

* As at 31 August 2015 excluding equity method investments.


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Boots is the UK’s leading health and beauty retailer with over 52,000 team members and 2,100 stores, ranging from local community pharmacies to large destination health and beauty stores.*

Boots serves its customers and patients for life as the leading provider of healthcare on the high street and the UK’s number one beauty destination. It offers an unrivalled depth and breadth of products, which incorporates its extensive own brand range and innovative portfolio of brands, including No7, the UK’s No1 skincare brand, Soap & Glory, Liz Earle Beauty and Sleek MakeUP.

2024 marks Boots’ 175th anniversary year. Founder John Boot opened a herbalist store in Nottingham in 1849 to offer an affordable alternative to traditional medicines. His son Jesse expanded the business to become a modern retailer and the biggest chemist in Britain. Throughout its history, Boots has listened, learned and innovated, and it continues to challenge itself to improve its products and services every day.

Boots is part of Walgreens Boots Alliance, which is a global leader in pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing retail.  More company information is available on

*Figures accurate as of 30 November 2023