Roedean volunteers at the Blind Veterans
For the first time in their illustrious history, the Blind Veterans have opened their doors to the youngest volunteers they have ever had, and, luckily for Roedean, it was to four girls from Year 8.
Year 8 pupils Manon, Kincso, Ellie, and Phoebe were chosen for this special honour and have been visiting the site all last term. While there they mingle with the permanent residents, chat with any visitors, and get to share in some of the activities. They have also received training from the Head of Volunteering on how to guide and support the partially-sighted and blind. The girls have certainly made an impression so far, the residents love to chat with a friendly face/voice, share their experiences, and learn something new from the younger generations. The Blind Veterans has been open for a slightly shorter time than Roedean, 104 years! They provide free services and lifelong support to ex-servicemen and women with visual impairments. Its specialist services promote and enable these veterans to regain their independence, meet new challenges, and achieve a better quality of life. Being such close neighbours, Roedean and the Blind Veterans share a special bond and relationship.
The girls involved shared some of their thoughts so far:
Phoebe – ‘So far at the Blind Veterans Hospital, I have learnt so much and it has been a really enlightening experience. I have learnt how to guide a visually-impaired citizen safely across busy areas, and have found that the members have some amazing stories to tell! I have really enjoyed our trips there and look forward to volunteering there next term.’
Ellie – ‘At the Blind Veterans, we talk to people who have served in the Army and are partially or completely blind. Recently, we have just had the opportunity to learn how to help a blind person in public and have been practising it as the helper or the person being helped. So far it has been really interesting to hear about everyone’s experiences in the Army. In the future, I would like to learn more about what they have been through.’
Manon – ‘Every Monday at lunch time, I have been visiting the Blind Veterans for an hour. It has been really nice to get to know new people and all their interesting stories. A few weeks ago, I met a woman of about 80 years old. She told me that she was waiting for her friend who had lost her sight and she was learning how to use a tablet. I learnt a lot about her and that's when I realised how different her life was to mine. I hope to see her again. In the future, I want to be able to help visually impaired people by making them feel more comfortable when they talk to me. I am going to try to learn all their names and to speak to them. Overall, it has been an amazing experience and I am excited to visit them again next term.’