When Blind Veterans UK started in 1915 as St Dunstan’s, our Founder Sir Arthur Pearson coined the phrase
‘Victory Over Blindness’
It described his ongoing commitment to the care of war-blinded ex-servicemen and women and over a century later, our passion remains unchanged in rebuilding the lives of those who served us in their time in the Armed Forces.
Helping our veterans through their sight loss journey takes many forms. We have two Centres at Brighton and Llandudno that offer a wide variety of support to those who need it. Remember, when many of our veterans arrive they are sometimes unable to do something as simple as making a cup of tea, or telling the time.
The rehabilitation we offer – whether physical or emotional - guides them every step of the way, while also introducing them to other veterans in activities such as dances, arts and crafts classes and social events. When they leave, they are prepared to face life in their communities again and continue their battle against sight loss.
Brighton and Llandudno Centres
Our Centres also run specialised activity days and weeks that cater for all interests. One of our veterans, Lincoln-based Walter Smith a former Royal Engineer, loved fishing, but because of his sight loss hadn’t been able to enjoy his hobby for 15 years. As part of his rehabilitation we enrolled him on a Fishing Week run by our Llandudno Centre, and he loved every minute.
“It brought back one or two memories,” he said, “and I can’t wait for the next activity week. I’ve realised you can still do these things even though you have lost your sight. I can’t thank you enough for what you’ve done.”Walter Smith
Our busy Member Support Hub (MESH) in Sheffield supplies technological aids to those we support, including reading magnifiers, USB players and watches.
We’ve always given our veterans a watch – the very first used a raised dial that was readable using fingers alone, although now we use talking watches at the cutting edge of technology.
The team also offers a free nationwide installation service, which delivers and sets up any equipment, and provides training in how to use it. It also runs a daily telephone helpline which is accessible to everyone and supports most queries.
Outside in the wider community, rehabilitation continues – led by our skilled teams supported by our dedicated volunteers. They not only offer emotional support to our veterans – often in the form of home visits – but help them engage in social activities with fellow veterans, such as lunch clubs, sporting events and our ever-popular Reunions which take place across the country. Our focus on our veterans in their communities is vital, as it is there they feel most the isolation that so often comes with visual impairment.