The name of St Dunstan’s was taken from the St Dunstan’s Lodge in Regent’s Park, where the charity’s main hostel was first based. There members took basic training in Braille and typewriting and found ‘some occupation useful in their future lives for pleasure or profit’, as the charity’s 1916 Annual Report put it.
They learned boot-repairing, mat and basket-making, joinery, poultry-farming, market gardening and massage. Social activities such as sport, dancing and debates were also an important part of the rehabilitation process.
The charity today:
Over the years, St Dunstan’s activities expanded to other areas of the UK. Today, St Dunstan’s is known as Blind Veterans UK, and it remains the national charity for the ex-service visually impaired, now providing care and support not only for members who lost their sight as a result of war service but also those who served and have since lost their sight whatever the cause.
Braille - Writing for blind people that you can read by touch
Expand - To grow or get bigger
Impaired - When something is gone or more difficult
Location - Place where something is
Member - Someone who belongs to a group
Occupation - Job someone does
Poultry - Birds used for meat or eggs like chickens or ducks
Rehabilitation - To help someone go back to a normal life