Cheshire’s most established retailer of nature watching equipment is blazing a trail for other businesses in the battle to preserve the environment. 

Focalpoint Optics has looked after birdwatchers and nature lovers all over the UK for more than 40 years, and like many of its customers, has always had a finger on the pulse when it comes to environmental issues. 

The Antrobus-based family firm saw a change of leadership in November 2022, when  founder Paul Longley's son, Paul ‘Titch’ Longley Jr, a passionate outdoorsman and nature watcher, took over the running as marketing director when his mum, Yvonne Longley, retired.

The 28-year-old has a background in both photography and ophthalmology so knows a thing or two about lenses, and he now wants to make his mark on the business by minimising its environmental impact.

Northwich Guardian: Focalpoint Optic's marketing director trying out the goods Focalpoint Optic's marketing director trying out the goods (Image: Paul Longley)

Titch said: “As a business, we’ve definitely seen an increased interest in nature watching the last few years.

“Post-pandemic, a lot of people reassessed what was important to them, and it was one of the few things people were allowed to do.  

“People started to realise how beneficial engaging with nature can be.

“What we sell isn’t just a product - it’s an opportunity to connect with nature. That means we have a duty to give something back to nature.

“But it’s ironic. The more people take an interest, the more optics we sell. That means more energy used that we’re accountable for, and sadly that equates to environmental damage. 

“We've now decided to start setting up strategic partnerships with charities and organisations. The more conservation work we get involved in, the more nature there’ll be for people to enjoy.”

Northwich Guardian: Paul said the business has noticed more people getting interested in nature in recent years Paul said the business has noticed more people getting interested in nature in recent years (Image: Paul Longley)

To move his ambition forward, Titch has teamed Focalpoint with Raptor Aid, a Cheshire-based charity dedicated to conserving birds of prey.

Not only have they donated equipment for the their volunteers to use when conducting surveys and observe birds of prey nest sites, but Titch himself has agreed to help, in a very hands-on capacity.

Titch added: “Jimmi Hill, who founded Raptor Aid, is super-passionate about birds of prey and the conservation work around them.

“His passion for it is infectious, to the point where it actually made me want to get involved with Raptor Aid on a personal level, and I’ll be doing surveys of potential nest sites with them in the near future.

“We’ve got a couple of ideas around ospreys, peregrines, tawny owls, and barn owls, and I can’t wait to get the ball rolling."