Johnny Ball proud to open Blind Veterans UK’s refurbished Brighton centre
20 November 2014 16:30
Television presenter and Royal Air Force veteran, Johnny Ball, was in Brighton today to officially open the newly refurbished Blind Veterans UK Brighton centre.
The long-standing supporter of Blind Veterans UK was joined at the opening ceremony by the charity's Chief Executive, Major General (Rtd) Nick Caplin, and its President, Ray Hazan, as well as many ex-Service men and women who will benefit from the rehabilitation, training and care services provided by the refurbished centre.
This £2m refurbishment of Blind Veterans UK's Brighton centre, originally opened in 1938, was part-funded by a £1m award from the Armed Forces Covenant (Libor) Fund.
Johnny Ball, ex-RAF man and a supporter of Blind Veterans UK, said:"I am extremely proud to officially open the refurbished Blind Veterans UK Brighton centre. As a Royal Air Force veteran, the work of Blind Veterans UK is close to my heart and it is wonderful to tour the refurbished Brighton centre and see the life-changing difference the centre makes to my fellow ex-Service men and women.
"Blind Veterans UK's Brighton centre has been providing first-class care, support and training to vision impaired ex-Service men and women for more than 75 years. The Brighton centre's refurbishment will now enable it to continue to transform the lives of blind veterans for many years to come."
Chief Executive of Blind Veterans UK, Major General (Rtd) Nick Caplin, said: "This major refurbishment of Blind Veterans UK's Brighton Centre was needed to ensure that it could continue to provide blind and vision-impaired ex-Service men and women with high-quality rehabilitation, training and care services into the future.
"Blind Veterans UK is enormously grateful for the £1m Libor Fund award which has partly funded the £2m refurbishment of our Brighton centre. The investment of this Libor Fund contribution in our Brighton centre will make a huge difference to the lives of blind and vision-impaired ex-Service men and women."
Anna Soubry, Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans, said: "I enjoyed my recent visit to Blind Veterans UK and the opportunity to talk to the veterans there. And I am delighted with the completion of this major project, which was boosted by a thoroughly deserved award of £1m from the Armed Forces Covenant Libor fund. The newly refurbished Brighton centre will hugely benefit the lives of blind and vision-impaired former Service men and women for years to come."
Mark Threadgold, a blind veteran who has been helped by the Brighton centre for the last 15 years, added: "The support of Blind Veterans UK has been life changing. I have met some amazing people and the community here has helped me immensely. I'm very grateful to have been introduced to the charity.
"Blind Veterans UK has assisted me in so many ways but most of all the charity has built up my confidence to allow me to continue living independently. I know that this refurbishment of the Brighton centre will allow Blind Veterans UK to continue to provide ex-Service men and women with the vital care and support they need to discover life after sight loss."
As well as providing a safe and secure home for a number of older blind veterans, Blind Veterans UK's Brighton centre provides hundreds of vision impaired ex-Service men and women with rehabilitation, recreation and training support each year. The Centre, a well-established Brighton landmark, is renowned for providing life changing services that help blind veterans enjoy life beyond sight loss, and face the implications of their vision impairment.