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Corporate supporters discover difference they make

Published on 23 Nov 2023

This summer, team members from Thea Pharmaceuticals visited our Centre of Wellbeing in Llandudno to find out how the ongoing relationship between ourselves and their organisation benefits our blind veterans.

Over two separate days, employees had the opportunity to immerse themselves in centre life and find out how we deliver rehabilitation and prioritise wellbeing.

The group experienced sighted guide training, a tour of the centre and its facilities, had an opportunity to hear the sight loss journey of blind veteran Billy who lost his sight in 1997 while serving in Bosnia, and volunteered in the centre’s grounds painting furniture and clearing weeds.

Group shot of Thea Pharmaceuticals team members with blind veteran Billy and Wellbeing Specialist Karla out side Blind Veterans UK's Llandudno Centre of Wellbeing
Thea team members with blind veteran Billy and Wellbeing Specialist Karla
Blind Veterans UK Occupational Therapist Catherine in the Llandudno Centre of Wellbeing training kitchen with a group of Thea team members, demonstrating equipment provided to our blind veterans to help them live with sight loss
Occupational Therapist Catherine demonstrates equipment provided to our blind veterans to help them live with sight loss
Phillip with blind veteran Billy at Blind Veterans UK's Llandudno Centre of Wellbeing
Thea Pharmaceuticals Cluster Lead Phillip with Billy at the Llandudno Centre of Wellbeing

Thea began fundraising for our charity in 2015. Eight years on and the relationship is stronger than ever. At the end of the last financial year, the total raised by Thea stood at over £34,000 enabling us to deliver life-changing support to veterans including equipment, rehabilitation and stays at our centres of wellbeing. Thea is already well on its way to raising thousands more for us in this financial year.

While in Llandudno visiting the centre, members of the Thea team decided to raise money for us by rolling giant inflatable eyeballs along the promenade and carried collection tins.

Future fundraising plans

Since the visit Thea has signed up to our Gift a Wreath campaign for this year and shared with us lots of ideas they’ve had for future fundraising including a war memorial walk as part of our Planning to Remember campaign. Several team members have recently completed the London to Brighton Cycle and Great North Run to further boost their fundraising.

London to Brighton cyclists

The recent visit to the centre not only helped keep the cyclists motivated during the challenge but also helped them with their fundraising, equipping them with the stories and information they needed to make approaches to family and friends. To date, Thea’s cycling team have raised just under £4,000 and are already thinking about their next challenge for us.

A group of six Thea employees holding up their bikes and wearing their Blind Veterans UK cycling tops
Team Thea London to Brighton cyclists

Philip, who is a Thea Pharmaceutical Cluster Lead, instigated the relationship with our charity and joined the staff on the visit to Llandudno. He said:

“I come from a family with a military history, my father and grandfather both served and I attended naval college at HMS Conwy. One of my best friends from naval college served in the Falklands and sadly didn’t come home. Having had that to someone I was close to has certainly been part of my personal reason for wanting to give back and support such a fantastic military charity."
“For some staff, this was their first visit to a Blind Veterans UK centre and for others it was their third but the visit had an impact on them all."
Thea Pharmaceutical Cluster Lead

Philip added:

“As well as hearing Billy’s powerful story and having a go at guiding, we also got to view some of the equipment that is so beneficial to veterans. It struck me how simple kitchen aids that costs between £10 and £30 make such a difference to the life of a blind veteran.”

Four Thea colleagues working together to varnish a wooden garden bench at our Blind Veterans UK Llandudno Centre of Wellbeing.  One of the group is lay on the floor so he can reach underneath.
Thea colleagues work together to spruce up our outdoor furniture
Members of Thea's Surgical Team, wearing Blind Veterans UK branded tops and holding buckets and Blind Veterans UK banners.  They are standing in front of the Llandudno Town War Memorial.  Two giant yoga balls with eyes painted on them can be seen at the front of the group.
Members of Thea's Surgical Team at the Llandudno War Memorial, ready to 'roll their eyes' to raise funds
A man wearing a blindfold is holding the arm of  another man while he is guided around the inside the the Llandudno Centre
Thea team members taking part in a sighted guide training session

Occupational Therapist Catherine, who showed the Thea employees a selection of kitchen aids said:

“Meeting the team from Thea was a fantastic opportunity for us to share how we work with blind veterans to enable them to do what matters to them, overcoming barriers they face and giving them confidence to try new things. I found the workshops a really uplifting experience as we were able to demonstrate how the support from Thea enables us to do this.”

Mark and Francesca are Charity Managers at Thea and are pivotal in supporting colleagues in their fundraising. Mark said:

“The visit to the centre has encouraged more of the team to get involved and to want to do their own fundraising.
"I’ve so far organised a weekend walk with my team. We all came up with our own walks which we completed over the same weekend and between 12 of us, we raised £430. I also organised a spooky bike ride which was attended by 200 riders and raised £2,000. My team do lots of little fundraising activities such as cake sales and raffle hampers. This activity is mirrored across the organisation and the money soon adds up.”
“Having the opportunity to visit the centre makes such an impact on the whole team. To hear from the veterans themselves and to see the facilities that our fundraising can help to provide spurs everyone on and makes us want to do more. “It’s so hard to fully appreciate the difference our fundraising can make until we witness it ourselves. We were all left humbled by the experience and from hearing Billy tell his story.”
Charity manager at Thea Pharmaceuticals

Many of the Thea team members commented that hearing directly from one of our blind veterans during their visit had a huge impact on them and was a strong reminder of why they were supporting us.

Blind veteran Billy, who they met, said:

“I am just one of many blind veterans supported by the charity. I am proud to represent the charity by sharing my story and my sight loss journey but each of us has our own unique story to tell.

“I don’t miss anything out. I tell visitors how hard the journey has been for me and my family.

“These visits are important to demonstrate how the money is spent and what the charity is all about. Having a blind veteran take you on a tour of the building and be able to explain all the details is a powerful message about just how much the charity does for us in helping us to live independently with our sight loss.”

Would you like to find out how your organisation can get involved with our charity or get some idea for fundraising with your colleagues?

Email our Community Partnerships team

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