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Blind Veterans UK

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Our fantastic 2016 Ride London cyclist team have so far raised an incredible £25,000 for our charity!

Two of our participants were Steve and Nik who completed the 100 mile cycle and managed to raise almost £2,000 between them.

Steve, who is a former Army Sergeant, felt it was his duty to raise awareness of Blind Veterans UK after serving for 22 years.

He says: “I have personally seen members of my own Corps and the Armed Services affected by the loss of their vision and I know the good work this charity does for vision-impaired veterans and I am hoping to raise even more than I already have.”

On the other hand Nik, who had completed the ride three times, decided to raise funds after discovering our charity.

Nik adds: “I cannot imagine having to do some of my day to day tasks without sight. It makes me appreciate what I have but also that blind veterans need any support we can give them.”

If Steve and Nik have inspired you to take part in the 2017 Prudential Ride London you can sign up here: https://www.blindveterans.org.uk/…/prudential-ride-london-…/
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Bringing people together is one of the things that we do best!
Many of our blind veterans and their families tell us how much they enjoy meeting other people in the same situation, and the sense of camaraderie this brings.

From our annual reunions to regular local lunch clubs to meeting up with other veterans and carers at our centres. There’s always someone to share a story and a joke with when you're supported by Blind Veterans UK.

If you know a vision-impaired veteran who may benefit from our support, call Freephone 0800 389 7979 or visit noonealone.org.uk
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Ranjit Sandhu cycled 300 miles from London to Paris in aid of our charity!

Ranjit, also known as Binnie, decided to raise funds for our charity after witnessing the support we offer blind veterans through her work.

Binnie is a consultant ophthalmologist at Luton and Dunstable University Hospital and has had the opportunity to work with us and help raise awareness.

She says: "It was wonderful to see the tremendous support offered by Blind Veterans UK for those who have devoted a lot of their time and effort for their country."

Read about Binnie's 300 mile cycle challenge: https://www.blindveterans.org.uk/…/buckinghamshire-ophthal…/
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Yesterday marked the 71st Anniversary of VJ Day (Victory over Japan Day)

Blind veteran Syd Tavender was captured by the Japanese in 1942 while fighting with the Gurkhas at the Battle of the Slim River.

Syd spent three and a half years working on the Burma Railway along with 30,000 British Prisoners of War.

He was released in 1945 weighing just 5st 3lbs.

Read Syd's harrowing tale: http://www.blindveteransblog.org.uk/blind_veterans_uk_history/today-marks-the-71st-anniversary-of-vj-day
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We all remember the millions fallen in the First World War but what happened to those veterans who returned home with a life changing injury?
Our founder Sir Arthur Pearson had a vision. A vision in which men returning from The Great War with sight loss injuries could adjust to their blindness, learn new practical or occupational skills and enjoy social and sporting activities.
We are delighted that the Museum of Liverpool has featured our charity in its ‘First World War: Charity and Liverpool’s Home Front’ exhibition. The exhibition promotes charities who supported veterans as they returned from the war injured and unable to return to their life before the war.
One blind veteran featured in the exhibition is George Eames. George enlisted into the Cheshire Regiment when war was declared and sent to the Battle of Somme in 1916. A month later George was blinded in one eye.
George was later admitted to our charity (which was then St Dunstan’s) where he received rehabilitation and training. He also reignited his passion for theatre and would often sing or perform at the annual after-care reunions.
The exhibition will run until October and admission is free.
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Family cycle 320 miles in honour of their blind veteran grandfather.

The Northmore family decided to cycle from London to Devon in five days in memory of their grandfather who took the same journey over 80 years ago, trying to return to his hometown.

Morris, their grandfather, had grown up in Devon but when his mother passed away he was sent to live with his father in London. He cycled all the way to Brighton before a Police Officer found him and sent him back to London.

Read more about Morris’ story and his family’s cycle ride: http://www.blindveteransblog.org.uk/?p=7179
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Have you heard about our RESET weeks?

It is a week in which several blind veterans, usually those of working age, reflect and set goals for the near future.

During the RESET week blind veterans have their own individual programme which helps them achieve a personalised goal. They could have a goal to improve their employability in which we would help them develop their CV, gain work experience volunteering or offer advanced IT skills.

The weeks also include group sessions which offer resilience training. This training promotes a strong mind, strong body approach and reduces negative thinking.

Moreover there is plenty of opportunities to partake in activities such as art and craft, IT training, sports and rehabilitation. So far we have had trips to a spa, horse riding and go-karting to name a few.
The final part of the week is a “can’t cook, won’t cook” session, in which the blind veterans have to cook something new for our staff members.
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We hosted our very own Blind Veterans UK Olympics at our Llandudno centre yesterday.

Our blind veterans, volunteers and staff were divided into five teams. Each representing an Olympic colour and continent. The sports hall was decorated with Olympic flag bunting and there was an opening ceremony to begin the competition.

Teams competed in; curling, a balloon relay, a boccia ball shotput, hula hooping and the famous egg and spoon race!

After the events, there was an awards ceremony where medals were handed out to the top three teams with Europe in Blue coming out on top! All of our blind veterans, volunteers and staff had plenty of fun and discovered lots of new talents. If Team GB ever need an egg and spoon athlete, they will know where to find one!
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Volunteer for Blind Veterans UK

We are looking for volunteers to help us support blind veterans across the UK. We have many different opportunities from home visitor to lunch club coordinator.

Rosemarie Hegarty, one of our Volunteer Development Officers, says:
"We have so many varied roles available for people looking to volunteer with the charity.

These could be escorting blind veterans on trips to supporting the art and craft workshop. We are also looking for volunteers to help the lives of blind veterans in their local communities.

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 if you’re interested in volunteering and we can go from there!”

Take a look at our current opportunities and find out more about our open days: https://www.blindveterans.org.uk/volunteernow
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Last week a group of blind veterans took part in 'Transport Week'.

‘Transport week’ is one of our special themed weeks and involves travelling on as many different modes of transport as possible!
The group started the week at our Brighton centre and enjoyed many excursions. One of the most popular excursions was a visit to the miniature railway at Bentley’s wildfowl and motor museum, where our veterans were able to take a ride on the miniature train.

Another favourite was a journey on the Wiggonholt Barge which is ran by the Wey and Arun Canal Trust. Our blind veterans cruised along the river from Loxwood, West Sussex and got to enjoy a cream tea while on board.

Transport Week ended with a trip to the Wings Museum in Handcross and a session with guest speaker; Concorde Pilot Captain Terence Henderson, who spoke about his experience of flying Concorde.
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Here come the girls!

Last week we hosted our annual Ladies Week at our Brighton centre.

We invited several widows and other female beneficiaries along to our centre to spend a week catching up with old friends, making new friends and to have a little bit of fun!

The week involved an outing to the beautiful village of Glynde within the South Downs Nation Park where the ladies enjoyed a spot of cream tea. They later took part in a flower arranging lesson as well as a tea tasting session.

The ladies finished the week with a card and candle making session at our Brighton centre before returning home relaxed and refreshed.
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The white cane has long played a vital role in the rehabilitation of our blind veterans.

It allows a blind veteran to regain their independence and be able to explore their environment safely. It also helps members of the public identify a vision-impaired person.

As a charity we have been training how to use a white cane since the 60's so we know it pretty well. However there are a lot of interesting facts about it's history and use so we have put together some frequently asked questions :http://www.blindveteransblog.org.uk/?p=7167
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We help blind and partially-sighted ex-military personnel
Introduction

We're Blind Veterans UK, formerly St Dunstan's, and we believe that no one who's served our country should battle blindness alone.

Currently, we provide professional, specialist support to over 5,000 members (3,000 blind or severely vision-impaired veterans and their families) and we helped 650 new blind veterans in 2011 .

We're here to help with a lifetime's practical and emotional support, regardless of when people served or how they lost their sight. We get our members back on their feet, recovering their independence and discovering a life beyond sight loss.

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Contact info
Phone
02077235021