Countess of Wessex opens new centre for veterans

A facility for veterans who have lost their sight and limbs has been officially opened in Wales

Sophie Wessex greeting a member of Blind Veterans UK
A new facility to support veterans who have lost their sight, limbs, or both, has been officially opened by the Countess of Wessex in North Wales.

Built in partnership between Blind Veterans UK and Blesma, the facility is based in Blind Veteran UK’s current Llandudno training and rehabilitation centre.

The centre was established following a £1.25m grant from the Veterans Accommodation Fund, combined with donations from several groups and individuals. The facility aims to support veterans who have lost their sight, limbs, or both, with a particular focus on supporting those who may be at risk of becoming homeless.

Veterans are able to stay in specially-adapted accommodation at the centre for short and long stays of up to six months, allowing the charities to reassess their needs, make relevant adjustments, and make recommendations for ongoing community interventions.

Opening the new centre was the first official role for Sophie Wessex since being appointed first act as a new patron of Blind Veterans UK, a national charity for vision-impaired ex-Service men and women.

Explaining the purpose of the new centre, chief executive of Blind Veterans UK, Major General Nick Caplin, said: “This fantastic new building, and our rehabilitation team, will offer specialist bespoke life skills programmes which focus on mental wellbeing, career options, communication skills and health and fitness promotion.”

Chief executive of Blesma, Barry Le Grys, added: “This exciting project will provide new opportunities for Blesma members, alongside their Blind Veterans UK colleagues, to lead independent and fulfilling lives.”