The Central Optical Fund supports projects promoting, protecting, developing and supporting optometry. The Fund is an investor in optometry. Like a ‘Dragon’s Den’ for the profession, it invites and considers applications for funding optometry related projects in England and Wales.
The Central Optical Fund is a not for profit organisation and an investor in optometry. Like a “Dragon’s Den” for the profession, the Fund invites and considers applications for funding optometry related projects in England and Wales. It is through these projects the Fund seeks to protect and maintain the sight and ocular health of the public by promoting the profession.
Since inception in 1972, the Fund has supported a variety of projects of various size, scope and setting. These projects have been political, GOS related, research based, legal, educational (both public and practitioner), strategic and data based too. The Fund also serves as a defensive aid in times of need. For example in the 1980s, the Fund supported the AOP’s efforts in defending the profession against additional VAT liability from the Government. Historically, the Fund has provided ongoing funding to the AOP for regular primary care and political work.
Projects supported by the Fund have been delivered by the AOP, Optical Confederation, LOCSU, Optical Consumer Complaints Service (OCCS), College of Optometrists, Eyecare Trust, universities and charities.
The Fund is primarily maintained by the voluntary levy – individual practices and contractors giving a voluntary donation to the Fund. We also receive donations from LOCs and individuals. Over the years, there has been a steady decline in the Fund’s income, and therefore the Fund is taking steps to improve communication and publicity of its work. Projects are now supported on a one-off basis, or for a short time, to provide initial support, rather than for ongoing funding.
The Fund’s members are individual LOCs, and is managed by five elected Directors, each representing five broad geographical areas of England and Wales. Meeting about four times a year, the Fund aims to maintain a low cost base.