33 young footballers in Cumberland have benefitted from Cumberland FA’s partnership with Specsavers this season – an agreement which provides a 50% reimbursement on protective eyewear to players aged 18 and under who wear or need glasses to participate in grassroots football.
The partnership, brand-new for season 2018-19, has not only highlighted the importance of safe eyewear across the grassroots game in Cumberland, but also the opportunity to purchase sports-specific protective eyewear and lenses at a local Specsavers store.
Daniel Wood, Store Manager for Workington Specsavers, who worked with Cumberland FA in providing the deal, said: “The partnership between our local Specsavers stores and Cumberland FA has been a rewarding experience for all of our staff. It’s great to know that we can help children participate in football safely with the use of protective eyewear.”
Ben Snowdon, Cumberland FA Chief Executive Officer, added: “The FA recommends protective eyewear but recognises that this may be an issue for children playing in grassroots football.
“As a County FA, we wanted to try and reduce this uncertainly, ensuring the safety of both the wearer and other players, but most importantly encouraging and supporting new and existing players in playing the game. We are therefore delighted that we’ve been able to partner with Specsavers – and we thank them for their support of the local game.”
The feedback received since the scheme launched has been fantastic. Oliver Jopson, who plays for Gillford Park JFC Under-7 Gillies, is one beneficiary of the partnership.
His father, Ste Jopson, said: “Oliver needs to wear glasses all the time. The Specsavers scheme has meant that, now he has his sports goggles, he wants to wear them more regularly and doesn’t need to be reminded so much. He really enjoys playing football and his confidence has grown because of his special football glasses. Thank you for the scheme, it really has made a difference.”
Cumberland FA has placed more than £1,600 into the grassroots game through the scheme, but the Carlisle Glass Longhorn Youth Football League and the West Cumbria Youth League are also on board. They are providing a further 50% off the cost to registered players, meaning players within these leagues can receive the sports-specific protective eyewear at no cost to themselves.
Sharron Willis, Secretary of the Carlisle Glass Longhorn Youth Football League, said: “The League are fully in support of the campaign. We have been contributing £50 towards the cost of sports glasses from all opticians for numerous years and will continue to do so, meaning children playing in the CGLYFL who purchase sports glasses from Specsavers will get them for free.”
Richard Lewthwaite, West Cumbria Youth League Chairman, added: “The West Cumbria Youth League would like to thank Cumberland FA for their hard work securing funding along with Specsavers to help with the provision of sports goggles for our players. We have no doubt that this has brought about improved on-field safety for all our players and ensured continued participation for those who require eyewear on the pitch.”
Rachael Cumming, mother of Meagan, who plays for Gillford Park JFC, said: “We saw the scheme advertised and spoke to Jackie at the Carlisle Glass Longhorn Youth Football League. When we went along to Specsavers to get the sports glasses for Meagan, they were really good and helpful. Our daughter can’t see without glasses so the sports glasses have allowed her to continue playing safely. It’s a fantastic scheme!”
Through Cumberland FA’s partnership with Specsavers, specified sports-protective eyewear and lenses have been priced at £99, regardless of the size and prescription. Once the glasses have been purchased from one of the selected stores (Carlisle, Penrith, Whitehaven or Workington), customers can complete an application form and submit it to Cumberland FA for approval. If approved, the County FA will reimburse 50% of the cost (£49.50).
In addition, all adults who play for or are involved with Cumberland FA-affiliated clubs and wish to purchase protective sportswear from one of the four suppliers will be eligible for a Premium Club Package, which will include a free eye test and a £20 discount on all glasses priced over £99.00 (including 2-for-1). Registered referees can also access this offer.
To download the application form, please visit www.cumberlandfa.com
As part of the agreement, Specsavers have also become a Youth County Cup partner. Find out more about Cumberland FA’s County Cups by visiting www.cumberlandfa.com/cups-and-competitions