Routine visits and stays at Blind Veterans UK’s Brighton centre are being suspended for four weeks to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus.
All permanent residents will remain at the centre, formally known as St Dunstan’s in Ovingdean but large-group community activities and events have been cancelled.
Many of the people living there are more than 100 years old and the average age of the veterans the charity helps is 87, placing them firmly in one of the at-risk categories.
Nick Caplin, Blind Veterans UK CEO, said: “Due to the increase in confirmed cases in the UK over recent days and advice that elderly people or people with pre-existing health conditions should avoid crowds, we will be temporarily changing the way we maintain our services to the blind veterans we support.
“These are preventative measures, aimed to ensure the safety of blind veterans we support. To date no one within Blind Veterans UK has been diagnosed with Covid-19.
“Our training and rehabilitation centres in Brighton and Llandudno are suspending routine stays and visits from blind veterans for the next four weeks in order to reduce the risk of the virus spreading.
“The residents who live permanently at our centre in Brighton will remain there and this decision is primarily to protect them.
“We have also decided to suspend all large-group community activities and events involving blind veterans for the next four weeks. This will be reviewed on a rolling weekly basis.
“The average age of the blind veterans we support is 87 and we have many residents who are over 100 so these steps are designed to best protect this at risk group.
“Our staff and volunteers will continue with scheduled visits to blind veterans in their homes as this is considered a low risk activity for blind veterans and staff and crucial for helping to avoid the social isolation that many of them experience.
“Veterans will be contacted before any visit to ensure they do not have symptoms and staff and volunteers have been provided with all the necessary information on being especially diligent about handwashing between visits.
“These policies will be regularly reviewed to allow us to best protect the blind veterans we support whilst continuing to provide the training, equipment and emotional support that is so important.”