We prepare for huge surge in applications for support following Christmas

13 January 2017 09:30

Blind Veterans UK is preparing for a spike in applications for its support following the holiday period. Last year, we experienced a 40 per cent increase in applications for our free services and support in January, and are preparing for the same again this year.

Our Membership team puts the increase down to the fact that holiday periods are a time when relatives visit their loved ones, and realise that they may be struggling to cope with their sight loss more than they have previously acknowledged. Our charity often experiences an increase to our helpline just after these periods, when family members make enquiries on their relative’s behalf after the holiday.

Jennifer Barley, Member Services Administrator at Blind Veterans UK, said: “Many people will have visited relatives over the Christmas period and noticed that their loved one is struggling with sight loss. This includes people in the older generation who served in conflicts such as the Second World War or were called up to do National Service, and lost their sight later in life, but will be eligible for the free services and support from Blind Veterans UK.

“Anecdotally, we know that veterans can be reluctant to ask for help for themselves, and so family members are the ones who get in touch. At Blind Veterans UK, we want to help all veterans discover a life beyond sight loss, and so we are ready and waiting to take these calls.”

Blind veteran CharlesOne veteran who joined our charity in the post-Christmas period last year is Charles Brooks, a 92-year-old Second World War Army veteran. Charles was told about our charity by his cousin, and started to receive support last year, in January 2016. Sadly, Charles started losing his sight to macular degeneration six years ago. After losing his frontal vision he found that he was no longer able to cook and clean properly

Fortunately, Charles’ cousin told him about Blind Veterans UK and his application was accepted in January 2016. He spent an induction week at the charity’s centre in Brighton for rehabilitation and training to help him adapt to his sight loss.

Charles said, “I learnt such a lot at the Brighton centre, the staff were wonderful, they really pulled me up out of the grave. I was quite overwhelmed and I really enjoyed my time there”.

Charles was also given free equipment from the charity to help him with day-to-day life, such as a talking watch to tell the time and special glasses which improve his vision.

"The equipment has been extremely helpful and has made a significant difference to my day-to-day life. I’m so pleased I heard about the charity. A year on from joining they have transformed my life. I would urge other veterans experiencing sight loss to get in touch this January."

Charles was called up to the Army in 1942. He served in the Second World War and was stationed at various postings in the Mediterranean, before leaving in August 1947.

If you, or someone you know, served in the Armed Forces or did National Service and are now battling severe sight loss, find out how Blind Veterans UK could help by calling 0800 389 7979 or visiting