Our community team in the South West of England have held their first specialist training week specially designed to teach blind veterans the skills that they need to live full and independent lives.
The week, which was held in Weston-super-Mare at the Royal British Legion’s Somerset Legion House, brought nine blind veterans from across the South West together to have tailored sessions learning skills in IT, independent living and mobility.
The team’s goal was to see if we could run the same standard of training week for blind veterans, with training in various areas as we do at our two training centres in Brighton and Llandudno.
A big part of the independent living training was an adapted cooking course. Members learnt how to prepare and cook recipes from scratch including casseroles, chicken curry, fresh soups, deserts and breakfasts.
One blind veteran, Cliff, who is 90 and been supported by the charity since 2015, found the cooking course particularly useful saying: “I’ve never made my own soup before but now I’m going to get myself a blender.
“The whole week was just brilliant. We were so well looked after and it was a great chance to make some new friends.”Blind veteran Cliff
Sally, also attended the week with her husband Gordon and there were also a session run for carers and partners. Sally commented on our Wales local Facebook page about the difference the week had made.
Sally also said: “This week and the whole time Gordon has had with Blind Veterans UK has been brilliant. You do get isolated when you lose your sight but things like this have really brought him back.”
Gordon was also able to have an IT training session with a fellow blind veteran volunteer instructor who showed him how to use an adapted tablet.
This pilot week was the first time that Blind Veterans UK have run this sort of course allowing attendees to combine the three most popular things our veterans asked to be trained on.
Helen Couling, South West Regional Manager at Blind Veterans UK says: “As the number of blind veterans we support grows there is high demand for training in independent living skills, mobility and IT.
“This week, and the other rehabilitation programmes running in the community, mean that we can deliver this training quicker and help to change the lives of even more blind veterans.”
Somerset Legion House, who kindly hosted all of our veterans free of charge, is one of the many Break Centres that the Legion run to support veterans and their families.