Meet one of the team: Paul Hartley

Paul Hartley is the Lead Rehabilitation Officer at our Brighton centre. Here he tells us how he came to work for Blind Veterans UK.

After I qualified as a counsellor from the University of Sussex in 1999, a friend met me for lunch to tell me that she had found the ‘perfect job’ for me. Funnily enough it wasn’t actually working as a counsellor, so I think she might have been telling me something!

Anyway, she knew that as part of my training I had worked on my feelings towards my own vision impairment and that I had said that I had wanted to be part of a movement that helped people deal with sight loss.

So, back to school I went. I’m Brighton born and bred, so my first challenge was to up sticks and move to Glasgow to start my training. Suffice to say, I loved my time in Scotland and made many lifelong friends.   

Working with veterans

I had my final work placement of my training with Blind Veterans UK (then St Dunstan’s), but had no idea where the company who I was under contract with was going to send me once I was qualified – it could have been anywhere. However, a loophole in my contract meant that if the company had not found me work within 18 days of qualifying then I was free to find my own placement. Thankfully I quickly secured a post with Blind Veterans UK in 2001 and the rest, as they say, is history. 

Over the years I have mainly worked within the core roles of assessing and teaching mobility, daily living and communication skills. Today, though, I have moved away from check-lists and now concentrate more on learning to listen better in order to place the needs, wants and aspirations of the veterans at the centre of my work.

I can say, hand on heart, that is the most exciting and interesting time to be working for Blind Veterans UK. 

Paul's best tip

We rarely want to do what we need to do to effect positive change in our lives, so count back from five to one and get moving. It's all about the 'push'. My thanks to Mel Robbins for his 'five-second-rule' - it really works.

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