What’s on the line? | Visiting the Blind Veteran’s Choir

At Healthwatch Essex we have a responsibility to provide an information service to help people access, understand, and navigate the health and social care system. We know it’s not always clear where to go for information, so we run a confidential telephone information line providing support on a wide range of topics.

From finding out how to register with a GP, to learning more about local dementia services or residential care options, or how to make a complaint, our Information & Signposting team is just a phone call away, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

Last week, some of the team were honoured to visit members of Blind Veterans UK at their weekly choir practice at St. Mary’s Church in Kelvedon.

The choir – which was set up earlier this year – were rehearsing some songs to commemorate Remembrance Day and they also donned Santa hats and reindeer antlers to practice carols which will be sung at their Christmas Carol Concert in Marylebone Parish Church on December 6th.

The veterans kindly allowed us to not only enjoy their wonderful singing but to also film their rehearsal. It was an incredibly moving experience to hear the heartfelt sentiments behind their very melodic voices. Following on from the rehearsal, and as a way of showing our thanks, we served lunch and had the pleasure of sitting and chatting with them. We were privileged to hear some fascinating and highly moving life experiences and met some amazing characters who are still bravely facing the challenges of their sight loss with inimitable strength and good humour. We look forward to working with again in the future.

We also have been in discussion this week with North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) about improving the experience for people with leg ulcers and lymphedema. The CCG are keen to collect information from people who have current or past experiences with these conditions and Healthwatch Essex are more than happy to help with this. If you have any experiences of leg ulcers and lymphedema which you are happy to share, please give us a call on 0300 500 1895 or text us on 07511 902080.

The team have also, of course, been answering the helpline all week and have been offering information and signposting to people coping with new diagnoses of fibromyalgia, difficulty registering with a GP and lack of information around hospital discharge.If these, or any other issues are affecting you, call or text us and we will do our best to help.

Sharon Westfield de Cortez
Information & Signposting Lead