Falkirk volunteer befrienders needed ‘more than ever’ to help veterans with sight loss

Sight Scotland Veterans is seeking volunteer befrienders in Falkirk to make a difference to the lives of veterans with sight loss.

By Darren Gibb
Thursday, 27th January 2022, 3:37 pm

They are wanted to tackle the issue of social isolation and loneliness among ex-servicemen and women.

Many veterans with sight loss have told the Sight Scotland that they have experienced loneliness as a result of their visual impairment.

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As well as telephone befrienders, the charity is also seeking volunteers who would be willing to do in-person befriending locally.

With a friendly telephone chat at a regular weekly time slot, home-based volunteer befrienders can provide a vital social connection, a listening ear, and a chance to laugh and reminisce for a veteran with sight loss.

Joan Kennedy, Sight Scotland Veterans outreach worker, said: “Some older veterans with sight loss we support are housebound due to health and mobility reasons or have found the need to rebuild their confidence in going out into the community again due to the pandemic’s impact.

“Aside from with ourselves and health care workers, many veterans that we support have very little social contact with other people.

“Our outreach teams are in touch regularly with veterans in their region to provide emotional and practical support. Volunteer befrienders are a vital part of our team because they extend the social connections of those we support.

“A social telephone chat on a regular basis with a friendly, reliable person can really help individuals to feel less lonely and support their wellbeing and confidence building.”

Sight Scotland Veterans is also keen to hear from anyone who would be interested to take part in in-person befriending in Falkirk when pandemic restrictions allow.

James Whyte, Sight Scotland Veterans volunteer development manager, said: “We would love to hear from people based in Falkirk who are interested in becoming a volunteer befriender.

“As well as telephone befrienders, we are also seeking volunteers who would be willing to do in-person befriending locally – joining a veteran for a cuppa or accompanying them on a walk.

“After such a difficult two years in this pandemic, volunteer befrienders are more needed than ever. The value of a friendly conversation and social connection can never be underestimated.”

If you would like to join Sight Scotland Veterans, please visit: sightscotland.org.uk/volunteer or call 0131 446 2154 for more information.

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