Australian charity Essilor Vision Foundation (EVF) is a beneficiary of funding under the Aurizon Community Giving Fund. One of the nation’s largest rail freight operators Aurizon has announced the grant to help fund school vision screening in a large part of South West Queensland, starting from Tuesday 7 August.

The initiative, named the Aurizon School Vision Screening Program, will mainly target primary schools in Ashwell, Brigalow, Chinchilla, Dalby, Grandchester, Helidon, Jondaryan, Murphy’s Creek, Oakey and Wilsonton in Toowoomba. EVF Chief Executive Greg Johnson notes that every day Aurizon trains pass these communities carrying freight destined for domestic and international markets. “The foundation is over the moon about the success of its giving fund application,” says Greg. “We have been screening schools across Australia for almost three years, predominately in major cities and the Aurizon funding gives us the opportunity to take our screening to places we have not previously thought of visiting.”

Greg says that screening will be undertaken by final year students of QUT’s School of Optometry and Vision Science under the supervision of volunteer local optometrists. If children do not meet the screening criteria they will be referred for a comprehensive examination to optometry practices, which have agreed to forego the usual fee and bulk-bill. When prescription spectacles are required they will be provided at no cost.

Aurizon’s Regional Operations Manager Kev Taske, who is based in Toowoomba, says his company is “delighted” to be funding the Aurizon School Vision Screening Program through its Community Giving Fund. “At Aurizon, we value health and well being and understand that screening programs like this are important in identifying potential issues early on,” Kev says. “With the program providing young people, who have poor vision with a pair of spectacles enabling them to read with confidence or to see a whiteboard more clearly, will really make a difference.”

Readers also enjoyed this story about Nexus Together.