Poppyscotland’s Welfare Centre in Kilmarnock will open its doors to the local Armed Forces community in the Ayrshire next week to highlight the range of support available to those living with sensory impairment…

David Cooke, the Welfare Services Manager in Kilmarnock, said: “We are asking all members of the Armed Forces community to come down to the centre next week so that they can speak with providers in a welcoming and relaxed environment in order to boost their knowledge and understanding of the range of sensory impairment supports available locally and how to access them.

“Our studies have shown that around one in six ex-Service personnel suffer from some kind of sensory loss, which is why this open day is so important. Serious instances of hearing and sight loss impact significantly on an individual’s life, both physically and psychologically. Sensory impairment can have a hugely detrimental effect on every aspect of life.

“That veterans under the age of 75 are approximately three-and-a-half-times more likely than the general population to suffer some sort of hearing impairment is a statistic that indicates a serious problem amongst the Armed Forces population. Sight loss, whatever the cause, has a significant impact on an individual’s independence and can be very isolating.

“Given the risk of sight loss increases significantly with age, thousands of older veterans in Scotland are affected. It is important veterans are aware of the support which is available to them at Scottish War Blinded, no matter how sight loss occurred.”

Rebecca Barr, Director of Scottish War Blinded, said: “We are pleased to be a part of this Poppyscotland event and to have the opportunity to share information about the free support we offer with members of the community. Scottish War Blinded provide tailored support to Armed Forces veterans with a visual impairment, no matter the cause of sight loss.

“Many veterans, such as those who completed National Service, have aged related sight loss and we’re here to offer them support. From advice from our expert rehabilitation team and one-on-one support with our outreach workers, to specialist equipment and local social events, there are so many ways we can help our veterans to adapt to life with sight loss and maintain independence.”

Teri Devine, Director of Action on Hearing Loss Scotland said: “We look forward to joining up with partners to support older veterans in Ayrshire who have questions or concerns about hearing loss. We are also able to offer hearing aid support to veterans with NHS hearing aids. We want to ensure that veterans get the most from their hearing aids and are able to hear more clearly and follow conversations with friends, family and neighbours.”

Joining Poppyscotland staff on the day will be representatives from other relevant organisations, including Scottish War Blinded and Action on Hearing Loss. Refreshments will be provided for those attending. For more information on Poppyscotland’s Sensory Impairment Open Day, please contact 01563 598 000, or email [email protected].