A NEW Specsavers optician in Colne is planning to transform the opticians into a hub of community support.

Dispensing optician Julia has already worked with the company for over ten years but is new to the branch and alongside her clinical role will be working as Colne's community officer, helping the store reach out to the local area and assist with charities and other organisations.

This comes after the pandemic has hugely increased the need for such services, with the Trussell Trust finding that more than 850 additional food parcels were handed out across East Lancashire between April and September last year compared to the same period during the previous year.

Julia said: "The pandemic has hit our community harder than we ever could have expected, and we see these devastating effects on the likes of our local food banks and charities.

"Although I’m extremely new to this role at Colne, I want to get the ball rolling with our charity work.

"Staff at Specsavers have and always will be passionate about their community work, and it’s more important now than ever."

The store, which opened in March 2019, is situated inside Colne Sainsbury’s, which staff believes makes it the ideal location to act as a community hub for the area.

Julia, who has worked with the opticians since landing a summer job aged 24, said: "The staff at Specsavers Colne have all been so inspired and in awe of the fantastic community stories that have surfaced throughout the pandemic.

"These acts of kindness are truly so important in a time when many people feel lonely.

"In my new role as community officer, I am calling out to organisations who are close to home who think our team could support them in some way.

"From fundraisers to donation drives, we’re keen to make a difference."

Meanwhile Specsavers branch all across England have been able to stay open for eye and hearing needs despite the national lockdown.

To find out more, to to: https://www.specsavers.co.uk/.

Local organisations that wish to work with the Colne branch meanwhile, can email customer.colne.UK@specsavers.com.