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Veterans keep calm and connected through Covid

Video calls, movies and computer games; most of us couldn’t imagine a lockdown without them!  

This is why disabled veterans at a Sussex-based charity are so grateful for a timely grant from the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust which has helped them stay connected to friends and family, as well as more entertained, throughout Covid.

Awarded as part of the ‘Veterans shall not be forgotten’ project, the grant has funded the ‘Keep Calm and Keep Connected’ project at Care for Veterans. A charity which provides care and rehabilitation to disabled ex-Service personnel and their families from its facility in Worthing, West Sussex.

Led by Craig Burley, Rehabilitation Technician at Care for Veterans, the project converted a redundant sensory room into an IT Suite with specialist equipment and height-adjustable furniture to create a comfortable environment for its users who have a range of different requirements.

The grant also purchased a projector and 120-inch screen with surround sound, and software for a Virtual Reality gaming console.

Craig explains:

“Like all facilities caring for those who are more vulnerable to Covid, the safety of our residents has been the priority, and sadly this has meant many restrictions. Care for Veterans is usually a very sociable place with lots of activities, trips, and visitors, so it has been really tough for our resident veterans during the different levels of lockdown.

“By funding this project, the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust has enabled us to adapt to the changing situation and look after the mental health of our veterans.

“During the latest strict lockdown, the flexibility of the project has meant we were able to move a computer onto each of our three Wings. Residents can book the computers, which have large screens and a good level of volume, which are in use all day, every day, for video calls to friends and family. We have even had residents reconnecting with old friends and staying in regular contact.

“Like us all at the moment; it is great to have events in the diary. It breaks up the week and gives a compelling reason to keep track of the time and day, which is so important for mental health.

“We are also looking forward to restarting our very popular movie afternoons, which, during the less restricted periods of lockdown, were possible with groups of six. The large screen with surround sound has enabled residents to socially distance and clearly see and hear the movie.

“It’s been challenging, but we’ve adapted as much as we can! We couldn’t be more grateful for this grant, as it has brought so much joy to our veterans at a time when it is needed most.”

Care for Veterans has been caring for disabled veterans since it was first established in 1919. The charity must raise over £1.9 million each year to maintain its nursing and rehabilitation services for ex-Service personnel. Specialising in acquired brain injuries and degenerative neurological conditions, the 60-bed facility provides services, including nursing, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and speech and language therapy, to help rehabilitate those who live there so that they can live more independent lives.

For more information about Care for Veterans, visit www.careforveterans.org.uk, call 01903213458 or email info@careforveterans.org.uk.

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The Service Charity Sector and the coronavirus outbreak

For the latest information and guidance on the Service Charity Sector and the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, please click here