To you, it’s just painting. To Lewis, it’s a new lease of life.
85-year-old Lewis served as a Welsh Guard for 34 years and is now battling loneliness as a result of lockdown. He was diagnosed with wet macular degeneration and only has about 30% vision in his right eye. Lewis has been unable to visit our Llandudno centre during the pandemic and felt his life was lacking purpose.
He was left feeling truly isolated.
Lewis soon found out about our National Creative Project, an initiative to get our veterans involved with activities from home. The project consists of three parts: creative activities delivered right to our veterans' doors, an opportunity for veterans to document their experiences during Covid-19 and a series of virtual get-togethers so they can stay connected with each other.
Lewis joined the painting group and not only did he rediscover his love of painting - all of a sudden he didn't feel alone. Since joining, he has also created lots of beautiful pieces using pastels, watercolours, ink and pencil.
During a time when contact is limited, the National Creative Project has been invaluable.
“I live on my own and I don’t like going out walking too much because of the virus. This has given me something to focus on.”Lewis, blind veteran
The project has provided a lifeline to many veterans stuck in isolation.
98-year-old Marjorie was in the Auxiliary Territorial Service during the Second World War and is now part of our gardening group. She was a keen gardener before the onset of arthritis in her knees and now struggles to do the bending up and down required for gardening outside which makes the hobby more difficult. Thanks to the project, she can continue doing what she enjoys.
54-year-old Gary served in the First Gulf War and we have supported him since 2015. He was first introduced to woodturning at our Llandudno centre and now is part of a woodwork group, swapping tips with veterans across the country. He says that he 'really hopes this can continue after the lockdown, as it’s given them a sense of community and been a great way to meet other blind veterans.'