The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association is launching a major awareness campaign, culminating with a “Shades for a Day” event.
The charity will ask people to support it by wearing sunglasses on July 18, to highlight the need for protection against ultraviolet rays and raise money for the charity.
Director of communications Robin Hutchinson says that the public views the charity as “Victorian”.
“We are only known for our work with guide dogs. People do not realise we are one of the leading funders of ophthalmic research,” he says.
Celebrities such as Sir Richard Branson, Sir Cliff Richard and Ronan Keating have donated sunglasses to be auctioned on the day of the event.
An e-mail campaign targeting companies has just begun, and incumbent agency McCann-Erickson will handle advertising support.
As well as the charity day the association is to hold an awareness week, “One Vision”, from June 23 to highlight the importance of sunglasses, and to remind people to take regular breaks from their computer screens and to have regular eye tests.
The charity has designed a screensaver with a link to its website, available on CD-ROM, which flashes up after 90 minutes of computer use reminding people to take a break.