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Iceni Magazine | March 3, 2021

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Norwich Optician is a finalist in the National Optician Awards 2019

Norwich Optician is a finalist in the National Optician Awards 2019

The award for Family Optician of the Year 2019 is in sight for local opticians Coleman Vision and Hearing centre on St Augustine’s Street, Norwich.

Coleman Opticians has been in this location since 1930 practising as a chemist, specialising as an opticians since 1945.

This family focussed company continues to embed the core values of its history through the next generation of its owners. These values extend through to the whole team with their friendly approach to all their customers. 

Their ethos starts with how the business is run, employing a flexible approach to managing staff time to fit in with school hours and not opening on Bank Holidays and Sundays and thus encouraging family time.

Coleman’s prides itself on being a family friendly practice and many of the families who come along to Coleman’s are multi-generational through having been recommended by their families.  ‘Coleman’s has always been my parents’ opticians, they came highly recommended.’

The practice has a seating area specifically for children with toys, games and a selection of engaging spectacle frames including popular trends.  It is bright and friendly to help children feel comfortable whilst at the practice. There is also a separate waiting area with tea and coffee facilities, video screen, books and magazines that is accessible and roomy for the adults.

Dave Tuthill & Patient. Credit: Nick Butcher

Coleman Opticians has a good interaction on social media with the local community, supporting projects and networking with the business sector too.  The practice encourages interaction, informing patients of the services they offer and the importance of family eye health.  They have run family reading activities and events in line with their charity involvement and are always looking for exciting ways to communicate with outreach activities within local schools and groups.

The team at Coleman Opticians become part of your family too. Extended families and generations both recommend and return to the practice.  This was summed up by a customer new to the area by saying; ‘We were given lots of tips about the city of Norwich from the staff and indeed help with starting somewhere new. A huge friendly welcome was most appreciated and still is.’

The culture from the team at Coleman Opticians extends into the local community too with a wide range of activities, charity support and sponsorship. 

Each year the team support a local charity and last year Norfolk children’s charity Break was chosen.  Their support involved sponsoring a sculpture on a charity GoGoHares trail that ran throughout the county, encouraging families to find all the hare sculptures using a map or app on a large-scale treasure hunt.  This sculpture now resides in the shop in Norwich after it was bought back at the charity auction where over £400,000 was raised.

The practice like to encourage people to feel happy and to talk whilst in the practice and are very aware of loneliness in the community, this is endorsed by some of the practice fundraising initiatives including book swaps as well as tea and coffee making facilities.

The opticians are part of the Recycle for Sight Programme for the local Lions club, supporting sight for families in developing countries as well as being a location for Refill Norwich, where people can come in off the streets to refill their water bottles or have a drink of water.  They also found out in January 2019 that they had been chosen as a centre for recycling contact lenses being part of a global campaign to reduce plastic waste.

The Coleman principle of supporting the local community and charities is encouraged in their staff. The company pay for every member of staff to have one day a year to volunteer for a charity of their choice.  This initiative gives staff the opportunity to learn new skills, have fun and help others as well as having great mental health benefits.

Coleman Opticians play a key role in education in the local area and go out to schools to teach children about eye health as well as going along to High Schools to provide opportunities for learning about a career as an optometrist or audiologist as the practice extends its healthcare to hearing also.

Katie Fenn, Director ‘To be shortlisted as a finalist in a National Award is such a brilliant result for the whole team at Coleman’s and we would like to thank all our customers for their great feedback that helped us get to this position. It has certainly given us a spring in our step to be recognised for such an appropriate award for this practice, where family is at the heart of what we do’.

The team will find out at the NEC, Birmingham on Saturday 30th March and whatever the result they are thrilled to be in the final, against competition from opticians around the country.

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