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Introduction

The Building

St Dunstan's is an 80-place care home offering specialist care for visually impaired beneficiaries of the Charity, who embrace ex-Service men or women of any age. St Dunstan's is organised from two locations in the United Kingdom - a London office and a care and training centre in Ovingdean, Brighton. Whilst some St Dunstaners live permanently at the centre, most live in their own homes, supported by our Welfare Officers. At Ovingdean, residents are offered training, rehabilitation, residential care and respite breaks for both St Dunstaners and their carers. St Dunstaners must have served in the UK Armed Forces at any time - a recent successful applicant was only 17 - or in the Polish forces under British command or in the Merchant Navy during World War Two. It is no longer necessary to have been visually impaired in the course of military service, as visual impairment may now occur after leaving the Service. But the spectrum of experience at St Dunstan's is broad: from immediate respite care through to discharge, all Dunstaners are encouraged to regard St Dunstan's and Ovingdean as offering lifetime support. There is something very striking about the rather utilitarian looking building in which this important work takes places - it seems so redolent of the sterling attitudes and ever-ready sense of self-sacrifice that pervaded those serving Britain in her greatest hour of need. For Julia Copus, the experience of meeting these people in this location, where purpose and a positive feeling of shared values predominates, has been highly significant.

 
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