The Manager of our Centre of Wellbeing in Ovingdean has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Honours.

Lesley Garven MBE, who has been Manager of the Blind Veterans UK Centre since 2012, received the honour for ‘Services to Veterans’. The award was given particularly for her work leading the centre, which has 30 permanent residents, throughout the pandemic.

Chief Executive of Blind Veterans UK, Major General (Rtd) Nick Caplin CB said: "Lesley’s award is wholly deserved and all of us at Blind Veterans UK are delighted for her.

"As Covid-19 struck, she focused on creating a safe environment for our elderly vision-impaired residents."

Lesley Garven MBE With Blind Veteran Alan Walker
Lesley with blind veteran Alan
"She used social media to secure PPE support when supplies were stretched and set up Covid-19 testing arrangements for her staff and residents with a leading university, to provide assurance before the national testing systems were established."
Nick Caplin, CEO, Blind Veterans UK

Nick added: “Lesley continues to lead on the planning around our move to our new Sussex home in Rustington and always puts the needs of blind veterans first.”

On hearing of her award, Lesley said: “I am absolutely overwhelmed and want to take this opportunity to thank all the staff at our Centre who have worked so tirelessly, particularly throughout the pandemic.

“We will soon be moving to our new home in Rustington, but I know that all of our staff will be just as committed to providing the very best care and support to blind veterans.”

Blind veteran Tony, who lives in nearby Saltdean, supported Lesley’s nomination and said: "Lesley is a constant source of sunshine and inspiration to all us blind veterans. She lifts our spirits, makes us laugh and gives us hope."

“Although my vision is seriously impaired I can easily see the impact she has on the staff and the ease with which they follow her clear and natural lead. Through her personal example and devotion, she leads a very happy team of staff and volunteers who help us to enjoy life beyond sight loss.”
Blind veteran Tony

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