There are up to 68,000 veterans in the UK alone who are suffering from some form of vision impairment. Since 1915, it has been Blind Veterans’ objective to give our ex-servicemen the lifelong practical and emotional support needed to lead the most fulfilling and active lives.
Between December 2014 and October 2017, when customers made bookings on the Monarch Airlines and Monarch Holidays websites, they had the option to make small donations via Pennies. The collaboration raised almost £74,000 for Monarch’s four charity partners, including Blind Veterans UK.
Losing your sight can be an extremely terrifying and lonely feeling, with a sense of looming hopelessness. Social isolation becomes an inevitability with age and the loss of loved ones, and having to lose your sight in addition to that can be an extremely painful burden to bear.
That is why Blind Veterans UK endeavours to help those who served in the Armed Forces, regardless of when they served and how they lost their sight, to re-learn vital life skills and re-enter them into the social sphere.
Your donations have been helping achieve that goal. Through thousands of digital micro-donations, made over three years, you’ve helped tp change the lives of people like Ken.
Ken served in the Royal Air Force in 1949 for nine years. Decades later, he started to lose his sight due to age-related macular degeneration (ARMD).
At the time my sight started to go I’d been in hospital and my wife had just died; everything was going around me. I was more or less at the bottom and didn’t know how far I was going down.
Ken began to feel an isolation within himself as simple day-to-day tasks like going to the shops or speaking on the phone started to become a hardship. He started to lose not just his self-belief, but also his sense of belonging.
This is where Blind Veterans comes in.
Ken recalls how “The first thing Blind Veterans UK did was to arrange for me to visit their training centre down in Brighton for an intro week. It was only when I came back, I realised how low I had been. Just having company again did and still does make a huge difference.” Ken now attends several Blind Veterans UK events and the charity also connected him with one of their volunteers who visits him several times a week to offer companionship.
What your pennies mean
Over the course of the three-year partnership with Monarch, £18,447.83 was raised for Blind Veterans UK through digital micro-donations, and Ken’s story is just one example of how your pennies have helped make a real difference.
Blind Veterans UK not only provides training, rehabilitation and support but also offers equipment like magnification aids, talking watches and tablet computers, allowing people to easily perform daily tasks and lead as much of a normal life as possible. Together your Pennies donations helped raise funds that could pay for hundreds of devices and many hours of support for veterans like Ken.