Volunteers are at the heart of Blind Veterans UK in Lancashire. The charity is calling on residents across the county to see if they would be willing to spare some of their time to help local veterans who have lost their sight or have a visual impairment.
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Volunteers in the local community are essential to help expand the social activities the charity offers whilst helping to combat loneliness and isolation that can affect so many of the blind veterans the charity supports.
The charity’s work ranges from helping veterans relearn vital life skills and providing them with the tools they need to be independent in their own homes, to offering new learning, training and recreation opportunities and providing long-term nursing, residential and respite care. It continues to assist veterans blinded in service, including men and women recently deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
It has pioneered many advances in care for the blind and partially sighted; for example, it co-developed the first talking books with the RNIB and it runs a wide variety of activities from its centres, including photography, gardening and arts and crafts.
Members regularly hold fund-raising events and attend events to raise awareness of the charity and its services.
One of the best parts of volunteering is having the opportunity to engage with the blind veterans. I get to hear so many great stories and learn so much from their experience.Judith Pritchard
Judith Pritchard, 64, from Penwortham, has been volunteering with Blind Veterans UK for just over 12 months.
She initially got involved due to witnessing first-hand the care and support the charity has provided for her elderly father.
She said: “I’ve been so impressed with Blind Veterans UK, the training and support I have received as a volunteer has made me feel so valued.
“I get a great sense of satisfaction from volunteering.
“One of the best parts of volunteering is having the opportunity to engage with the blind veterans.
“I get to hear so many great stories and learn so much from their experience.
“Blind Veterans UK cares about its volunteers. If anyone is thinking about volunteering I would say it doesn’t matter how you do it, where you do it or how much time you’re able to give; more people volunteering will continue to make the world a better place.”
With various opportunities available to get involved within Preston, the charity hopes by appealing for more volunteers to sign up, it will highlight the importance of volunteers and how vital they can be to changing a local blind veteran’s quality of life.
Gemma Godfrey, volunteering networking co-ordinator at Blind Veterans UK, said the charity welcomes any new recruits.
She said: “It is so rewarding to see first-hand the difference a volunteer can make to someone’s life and reduce the feelings of loneliness and isolation.
“Volunteers make a massive difference to the charity. It would be wonderful to hear from more people who have time to do something really worthwhile for charity.
“We recently held a volunteer celebration which showcased the benefits and impact of volunteering but we also want to connect local people to the amazing volunteering opportunities that exist across the organisation.
“Volunteering really can make a difference with a tremendous sense of value, self-esteem and peer support. We hope we can inspire people to get involved.
“If you’re already volunteering, thank you for everything that you do.”
To get involved in supporting Blind Veterans UK or to find out about volunteering opportunities, get in touch with Gemma Godfrey directly on 07496 868949 or by email email@example.com. You can also visit www.blindveterans.org.uk.