Find out from Lloyd’s charity partner Blesma about the impact of the pandemic on their organisation and service users. Lloyd’s has supported the charity with a donation of £300,000 as part of our COVID-19 charitable response.
Since 1932, Blesma, The Limbless Veterans has been the only national Armed Forces Charity that supports limbless and injured veterans for the duration of their lives. Blesma helps all serving and ex-Service men and women who have lost limbs, or lost the use of limbs or eyes, to rebuild their lives by providing rehabilitation activities and welfare support.
The charity has faced many significant challenges during its 100-year history, but the coronavirus pandemic is unique. Over the last year, the shockwaves of COVID-19 have had a severe impact on all of our lives. When lockdown began, we immediately reached out to our Members, prioritising those who were particularly vulnerable. That included the elderly and shielded, of course, but some Members who don’t fall into the groups officially classed as vulnerable still need extra care. These are permanent wheelchair users who don’t drive and live alone without a support network, for example.
Here is just one story of how our supporters’ generosity has changed the life of a Blesma Member in the last year.
“Blesma has given me back my freedom”
Double amputee Tim Tomkinson has regained his independence after Blesma gave him a wheelchair. Tim, who joined the Army at 16, had been having difficulties with his prosthetic legs that left him unable to do essential food shopping.
“It hurts if I walk on them too long,” said the 48-year-old. “Limb Centres can’t help because of coronavirus and the wheelchair I had was too heavy to lift into my car.”
Tim’s left leg was amputated in 2015, followed by his right leg last year.
“When I’ve tried to go shopping for food, I’ve had to beg people to help me with my wheelchair. I struggle severely with depression, so being stuck inside all day wasn’t helping,” said Tim.
“I spoke to my Blesma Support Officer who said the charity would be able to provide me with a lightweight wheelchair that was collapsible to put into the car for longer journeys. It has given me back my freedom and independence.”
Thanks to the generous support of Lloyd’s, we are able to give this vital practical, emotional and financial assistance to our injured veterans and their families in these difficult times and beyond.
Lloyd’s is funding Blesma’s core services - this includes mental health and wellbeing support and also basic essentials such as food, medicines and medical treatment and equipment. Blesma’s members are at a higher risk due to their amputations,
complex health conditions or age. Our funding ensures that all their beneficiaries receive these regular services with no need for stress or crisis points.
Find out more about how Lloyd’s and Lloyd’s Patriotic Fund supports the military community in our Armed Forces Day story.