Blind Veterans UK urges better signposting for vision impaired ex-Service personnel
Blind Veterans UK is calling for rehabilitation workers to signpost patients to relevant organisations so they can access vital sight loss support.
The call comes after research has found that almost a quarter of those supported by national military charity Blind Veterans UK struggle with sight loss for six years or more before accessing the charity’s free support and services, meaning that many people are unnecessarily missing out on potentially life-changing support for too long.
Blind Veterans UK, the national charity for blind and vision impaired ex-Service men and women, has been providing vital services and support to help veteran discover life beyond sight loss for 100 years.
93-year-old WWII veteran Jim Hooper has been given ‘an entirely new lease of life’ since starting to receive support from Blind Veterans UK. In 2012, Jim was diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration which has robbed him of his sight, along with his independence.
In 2013 Jim contacted Blind Veterans UK for support: “Blind Veterans UK has helped me regain my independence. It has given me an entirely new lease of life. The support from all of the people at the Brighton centre has been just brilliant - the IT instructors, the ROVIs, the carers, all of the staff. I can't speak highly enough of them - they're very, very supportive.
"I've been given a computer to use at home, and I've learnt how to touch type. I'm competent at sending and receiving emails, I use the computer to write letters and documents and other such things. Blind Veterans UK has given me a talking watch and a talking clock. They've also given me a CD player which I can listen to talking books on, I've listened to at least a dozen books and novels now.”
Blind Veterans UK offers free, lifelong support to blind and vision impaired ex-Service men and women, no matter how or when they lost their sight. Services and support are provided through the charity’s three centres in Brighton, Sheffield and Llandudno, North Wales.
Blind Veterans UK want rehabilitation workers to ask the blind and vision impaired people they work with if they have ever served in the Armed Forces or done National Service, and if they have, to refer them by visiting www.noonealone.org.uk or calling 0800 389 7979. Alternatively, request an information pack by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
 January 2015 postal survey of Blind Veterans UK beneficiaries conducted by Clarient Research. 24% of 1,235 respondents who answered this question.