Helping blind veterans with arts and crafts
Aileen volunteers at one of our centres of wellbeing, helping our veterans take part in activities and day trips.
She helps our beneficiaries get the most of sports, arts and crafts, and entertainment sessions.
Aileen normally visits our centre once or twice a week. She says: “I really enjoy helping to cook, do arts and crafts, serve teas and coffees, and just sit and have a chat with the blind veterans.
“Every other Saturday we will go on a day trip with the veterans from the centre. We have been to the museum, garden centres and parks. We help them on and off the bus and have a good old chinwag on the way there, putting the world to rights."
“We do whatever they want us to do to make sure they have a fab day out. We will take them back to their rooms when we get back to the centre and make sure they are settled back in.”
Aileen explains why she decided to volunteer for Blind Veterans UK. She says: “After working full time, I wanted to fill a hole that was left in my life and to continue to give something back to the community and help people.
"I chose Blind Veterans UK. It really is a fantastic charity."
Aileen said that using sight loss simulation goggles during her volunteer training made her aware of how different people's experiences can be. She explains: “I had the initial volunteer training, where we had to try on special goggles that simulate different forms of sight loss, which was a really scary experience.
“It just showed me that not everyone with a vision impairment is fully blind, and that they all need different support and have their own ways of getting on with day-to-day life. I also received training on supporting the veterans and understanding their individual needs.”
During the Covid-19 pandemic, we adapted our service to support our 5,000 beneficiaries, 90% of whom are over 70 and were advised to self-isolate. Many of them needed assistance with daily tasks like shopping, but they also required emotional support to help them through such a difficult time. Aileen became a telephone befriender to give isolated veterans the social contact they so desperately needed.
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