Brighton art and craft workshop redevelopment

8 August 2013 16:35

Blind Veterans UK's Brighton art & craft workshop is being redeveloped to create a more accessible, safer, more comfortable workshop space.

The Brighton centre provides a lifeline to blind veterans each year and for many the art and craft workshop forms an important part of their visit. Members may come and complete a week's training in the workshop, come for an art and craft holiday or use the facilities whilst they are on a respite break. Those that live locally also visit on a daily basis to use the workshop and work on ongoing projects.

Currently an average of 24 members uses the workshop per day. We have a team of five dedicated instructors to enable the workshop to be open every day and we also have regular volunteers who come in and support participation. The range of activities on offer varies enormously and we aim to adapt meet peoples' interests and personal goals. Activities undertaken by blind veterans at the Brighton centre include photography, painting, chair caning, mosaic, soap stone carving, papier-mâché sculpting, wood carving, textiles and this list is always expanding.

Since its last update 20 years ago, the art and craft workshop has developed organically beyond its original design and is going to be having a much needed redevelopment which includes creating more accessible space; creating a more flexible space; improving workshop conditions, such as upgrading the furniture, improving the ventilation system and increasing storage.

The project is part of the milestone of the 75th anniversary of Blind Veterans UK Brighton centre. The project is planned to take place in August 2013 when the workshop is traditionally less busy. We hope for the development to be completed within one month.

Staff and members of the art and craft department at Brighton are extremely excited about the redevelopment which hopes to create a more accessible, safer, more comfortable workshop space which will allow more blind veterans to engage with creative activities.

We hope that the changes will enable room for more bespoke projects with external groups, such as; schools and disability organisations, exploring vision impairment and expertise.

Visiting the art and craft workshop for some people is a vital lifeline, getting them out of their home enabling them to socialise and engage with an activity in an environment that accommodates their vision impairment. This reduces isolation and helps our members discover a life beyond sight loss. Helping more of our members to take part in this creative activity will have a positive impact on their overall welfare.