Veterans need our support “now more than ever”, a charity has said as it ramps up efforts to support vulnerable people across the north of Scotland.
Unable to make face-to-face visits, Scottish War Blinded has launched initiatives including pub quizzes over the phone and discussions about the results of hypothetical football matches.
The organisation offers one-to-one home visits, group activities and lunch clubs for veterans with sight loss across the country.
But in recent weeks it has had to dramatically scale these back amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The charity’s director of services Rebecca Barr said: “Our veterans need us now more than ever.
“We are working hard to ensure each and every person we support knows they are not alone and is getting the help they need.
“This is a very difficult time for everybody, including our members, who can have trouble getting out and about and meeting their needs at the best of times.
“Some can’t manage their medication on their own, or heat up meals.”
Scottish War Blinded has been helping members by linking up with community groups to arrange shopping deliveries and collections from pharmacies.
They have also been talking people through completing everyday tasks others may take for granted, such as using a microwave.
“People rely on this practical help to ensure they can continue living in their own home independently,” Mrs Barr said.
In addition to purely practical help, Scottish War Blinded has been doubling up on its efforts to lift people’s spirits while they remain at home during the lockdown.
Practice lead for the north of Scotland, Jenny Liddell, manages an outreach team of workers who live across the area and regularly offer support to those in need.
She said: “We’re doing all we can to keep our veterans smiling.
“One of our outreach workers came up with our ‘non-pub quiz’. Each has a team of six veterans – they’ll call them up each week with two questions.
“Another outreach worker has been looking at the remaining football fixtures and discussing with one gentleman over the phone what each result would be each week.”
Mrs Liddell added: “It’s about keeping in touch, phoning up for another reason and chatting about something different that tailors to that person’s interests.
“For those with access to e-mail and social media, we’ve been sharing online classes and sessions that are of interest, and also sharing some videos from ourselves.”
The charity offers free support to former servicemen and women of all ages, regardless of when they lost their sight. For more information, call 0800 035 6409 or visit scottishwarblinded.org