New outreach service for blind veterans

A NEW outreach service to support blind and visually impaired veterans has been launched to cover Angus, Dundee and Fife.

Scottish War Blinded, the sister charity of Royal Blind, has established an outreach service across Scotland with a dedicated outreach worker for this area. The service will provide free support to blind and visually impaired veterans to ensure that they are able to access all the statutory services to which they are entitled.

It will cater for not only those who lost their sight while serving in the armed forces, but also those who have become visually impaired since then, and the minimum length of service in the forces is just one day.

Once enrolled, members are also entitled to free access to the newly built Scottish War Blinded day centre in Linburn, on the outskirts of Edinburgh, that provides on-site activities such as woodwork, archery and gym facilities. There will also be opportunities to socialise with their peers and participate in off-site activities such as 4x4 driving and abseiling.

Rosie McLaughlin, national outreach manager at Scottish War Blinded, said: “We’re delighted to have a team of seven outreach workers in place in locations across Scotland who are there to support blind and visually impaired veterans.

“Our team is there to support people in the community, helping them with issues such as housing, benefits, socialising and employment. Above all, we are there to listen about their experiences in the armed forces and to offer emotional, practical and financial support.”

The new service and award-winning day centre at Linburn were launched as Scottish War Blinded chose to expand its facilities to be able to support a much larger number of people based across the whole of Scotland.

Carole Martin, local outreach worker, said: “We’d like to encourage anyone who lives in the Angus, Dundee and Fife area who is visually impaired and has served in the armed forces to join our free service. If you work with someone or have a family member that could benefit from this service please get in touch.”

Workers are co-located with local societies for the blind with the local service based at the Dundee Blind and Partially Sighted Society. Members will be visited at home on an annual basis and are contacted by telephone every six months as a minimum. Reunions are held every two years and lunch clubs are planned. Carole can be contacted on 01382 227 101 for further information.