Military charity to open centenary garden created by 2,000 volunteer hours

1 June 2015 13:20

This Tuesday (02/06), Blind Veterans UK will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of its foundation in 1915. Blind Veterans UK will also be marking the vital contribution that volunteers make to the running of the charity by opening a special woodland garden that has only been made possible through the work of volunteers.

The first week in June is Volunteers' Week and Blind Veterans UK are opening a special garden designed and built almost entirely by volunteers.

The garden was designed by Andrew Fisher-Tomlin of Fisher-Tomlin & Bowyer who volunteered his services for free and was built through almost 2,000 hours of work by more than 200 volunteers.

The Centenary Woodland Garden is due to be officially opened with a celebratory summer tea party on Tuesday. All the volunteers who have contributed to the project will be invited back in recognition of their contribution to what is hoped will become an integral part of both the Blind Veterans UK Llandudno centre and the lives of its veterans.

The garden is a relaxing and therapeutic environment for the blind veterans supported by the charity designed to help them discover that there is life beyond sight loss.  The woodland walk has a roped guiding handrail that veteran can safely access to enjoy the outdoor environment.

The woodland supports abundant wildlife and birdlife and lends itself to providing areas where veterans can engage in wood work, willow craft, bush craft and other outdoor activity as part of their training and rehabilitation programmes.

The garden will be officially opened by Wendy Jones, Chief Officer of Community and Voluntary Support Conwy (CVSC) and a time capsule will be buried by two Blind Veterans UK volunteers.

Joanna Tann, Volunteering Development Officer for Blind Veterans UK says: "The time, effort and tremendous enthusiasm of volunteers to get stuck in and help us achieve our wonderful Centenary Woodland Garden was a privilege to receive.

"We chose Volunteers' Week to open the garden as we are so keen to celebrate the spirit of volunteering in all its forms and to recognise and thank all our volunteers including the 200 individuals without whom we simply would not have a blooming lovely woodland garden."

Wendy Jones, CO of CVSC says: "Projects like this wonderful garden remind us of the power of volunteering; the enormous capacity of a group of people to pull together to achieve a goal, and the camaraderie that develops within teams and between people who've never met before.

"I'm so pleased to have been invited to celebrate the amazing work of volunteers as well as recognising 100 years of such a marvellous organisation in Blind Veterans UK."

Amongst the volunteers who made the garden possible were groups from HSBC, Nationwide, Lloyds Bank, Augusta Westland, Scottish Power, St David's College, Coleg Cambria, CAIS, Change Step and MPGS RAF Valley.

Blind Veterans UK (formerly St Dunstan's) was founded in 1915 and the charity's initial purpose was to help and support soldiers blinded in World War I. But the organisation has gone on to support more than 35,000 blind veterans and their families, spanning World War II to recent conflicts including Iraq and Afghanistan.

For 100 years, the charity has been providing vital free training, rehabilitation, equipment and emotional support to blind and vision impaired veterans no matter when they served or how they lost their sight.

To find out more about the variety of work Blind Veterans UK volunteers do, and how you can get involved, visit: