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Could you be in tune with Grantham blind veterans?

By David Parker


A charity which helps blind former servicemen and women lead full lives is appealing for volunteers in Grantham.

Blind veterans UK is especially keen to find a music lover and someone skilled in model-making to buddy up with two resourceful elderly men who served their country more than half-a-century ago.

The charity provides a range of services to help blind former service personnel enjoy independent and fulfilling lives.

These include:

* Offering courses to help veterans adjust to their loss of sight.

* Organising clubs and societies to give veterans a place to exchange experience.

* Providing facilities for recreation, training and rehabilitation for blind veterans and their families at three centres in England and Wales.

Nationally, the charity supports 4,500 veterans through a network of regional welfare officers. The youngest of the veterans is 25 and the oldest 107.

The charity supports 51 veterans in Lincolnshire, of whom eight are in Grantham.

Among these are an 83-year-old former soldier with a love of music and an ex-sailor who enjoys handicrafts.

The charity is keen to help the former World War Two Navy man get out and about a bit more. Could you be the person to help?

His time in the navy instilled a life-long love of ships and one of his hobbies is making radio controlled replica boats.

His eyesight now prevents him making his models, but the charity says it may be that a volunteer with model-making skills could encourage him to do a project together.

The veteran would also like go out for a coffee sometimes to have a change of scene, so the volunteer should be able to push a wheelchair and have a driving licence.

The music-lover served with the Royal Signals from 1952 to 1953 and also enjoys sports.

He used to sing in fishermen’s choirs but stopped when his loss of vision meant he could no longer read musical scores.

The charity is hoping to recruit a volunteer who would enjoy spending a few hours a week with the veteran and share his love of music, particularly folk and gospel.

Out of pocket expenses are paid by the charity and some training may be asked for.

Pennie Williams, Volunteering Development Officer at Blind Veterans UK, said: “Volunteers are essential to the support we provide our blind veterans.

“Just giving up a few hours a week to visit a veteran at home can help with social isolation and boost a veteran’s well-being.

“What they do is incredibly varied and can range from just a chat to help build radio controlled model boats.

“Volunteers often say that they’re grateful to give back to people who have served our country and do something worthwhile.

“It can give them a sense of purpose and some even find it a beneficial way to gain experience if they’re looking to work in the care sector.

“We are always keen to work around volunteers’ interests and what they’re looking to get out of the process so please get in touch.”

** Anyone interested in helping the veterans - or others like them - can contact the organisation by email at volunteer@blindveterans.org.uk or visit the website: blindveterans.org.uk


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