Brighton Blind Veterans UK community group present specially crafted mosaic Union Flag to Rustington
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The visit was to present a stunning union flag mosaic as a welcome gift from the group. The honour of presenting this gorgeous piece of art fell to Brighton resident and blind veteran Irene (96) assisted by Blind Veterans UK colleagues.
Receiving this special welcome gift was Rustington Centre of Wellbeing Manager Lesley Garven.
Lesley said: “I am absolutely delighted to welcome the group in Rustington and to accept this very special gift they have created for us.
“We will find a special place to hang it so everyone can admire the beautiful work.”
The 25cm by 25 cm Union Flag and raised relief of King Charles III was designed and worked on over several weeks by all members of the group, including Irene.
The artwork was created to commemorate the new King and the opening of the new centre at Rustington.
The Brighton Arts and Crafts Group was established in June 2022 because of two events – the pandemic, and the closure of Blind Veterans UK centre at Ovingdean.
Brighton area Community Support Worker Ben has worked for Blind Veterans UK for over 20 years, so had a close attachment to both Ovingdean and this group of crafty blind veterans. He saw first-hand the camaraderie and banter at the Ovingdean workshops, an important social aspect to the activity. Ben secured a venue, and with his own father, John, a long-standing volunteer, they established the Brighton Arts and Crafts Group, as Ben explains: “As we saw the centre close, we lost several volunteers, but we had a number who wanted to stay on supporting our members. They wanted to look at if they could help within the community.
Their knowledge and understanding to continue a service was a winning formula, and I wanted to see this in the community.”
Our volunteers collect blind veterans attending each fortnight. All contribute their ideas and materials.”
Blind veteran Jack (90) said: “As a blind veteran I feel it’s wonderful that events have been set up within the community. This allows us to continue with these activities.
Two aspects are especially important to me: to occupy my time doing something creative, and of course, there is the social aspect. Talking to fellow blind veterans and volunteers is so important. Life can be very lonely and isolating when there is nothing to look forward too.
Being part of this one big project team that has all come together to create this Union Flag using wood and mosaic has made me feel valued.”
Blind Veterans UK moved from their previous south coast centre at Ovingdean, Brighton earlier this year with a small number of permanent residents. Although the centre is beginning to welcome visiting guests for holidays and rehabilitation, this will be phased over the coming weeks and months as there is still some ongoing building and landscaping work to compete.
If you, or someone you know, served in the Armed Forces, including National Service, and are now struggling with sight loss, then please get in touch. Call 0800 389 7979 or visit: blindveterans.org.uk/gethelp