Launching our volunteering appeal with Jeremy Paxman

2 November 2018 11:00

We are proud to launch our volunteer recruitment appeal featuring Jeremy Paxman and volunteer Lynette.

We are on the hunt for a team of volunteers across the country to help with home visits, activities and companionship that make such a difference to blind veterans’ lives.

Our appeal will play out on BBC Radio Oxford for two weeks from October 27 to November 9 and on BBC iPlayer for 4 weeks from October 27 to November 23, before being rolled out across the country.

It features Jeremy Paxman in full University Challenge character and volunteer Lynette in the hot seat. As the appeal unveils it reveals how many blind veterans there are across the UK at over 50,000 and how many volunteers are required to provide crucial services to these blind veterans at 1,176.

We want to hear from anyone who is interested in sparing some of their time for a very worthy cause. Our mission is to rebuild lives after sight loss and volunteers play a huge part in making that happen. From helping run activities that combat social isolation to just opening post or having a cup of tea, there are volunteering opportunities available to suit all schedules.

"It’s been a pleasure to learn more about the work of Blind Veterans UK and it’s clear that the charity’s dedicated volunteers make a vital contribution to communities in across the country. From what I’ve heard, it’s a cause they rightfully feel very dedicated to supporting. I hope everyone who listens to the appeal and has an hour or two to spare will be encouraged to think about volunteering."
Jeremy Paxman

Ken, 94 and from Watlington, is a blind veteran who has been getting weekly home visits from volunteer Sue for the past two years. He says:

"Through Blind Veterans UK I was introduced to Sue, who visits me once a week and it has become, without doubt, the highlight of my week. She helps me with various bits and bobs and it’s great just to have a cup of tea and a chat."
Ken and volunteer Sue at the BBC Radio Oxford studios to talk about volunteering.
Ken and volunteer Sue at the BBC Radio Oxford studios to talk about volunteering.

Sue started volunteering after she saw the life-changing impact the charity had on her father. She says: “Blind Veterans UK brought my father out of depression and completely transformed his life. I wanted to give something back so I started volunteering. It’s truly a wonderful thing and so rewarding to do something not only for Ken but also for the community.”

She continues:

"I think the more you give to others the happier you become in yourself. Seeing the difference I’ve made to Ken’s life fills me with joy. After his wife passed away he was low and lonely so we just sit down for two hours on a Tuesday and have a chat. I sit in awe as he regales stories from his time with the Royal Navy during World War II."

If you want to become a volunteer head over to the volunteering section to search for opportunities in your area.