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Veterans and digital storytelling

The Joining Forces programme has now ended

Joining Forces was an Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust supported programme in partnership with SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity. It was delivered by 12 local projects across England by local Age UKs and SSAFA branches. After 3 successful years, the programme has now ended. Many of the pages in this section will still be useful for information and advice. Alternatively, you can look at the relevant sections of the Age UK website.

Veterans from Age UK Gloucestershire’s Joining Forces project recently paid a visit to the county’s Soldiers Of Gloucestershire Museum for a special afternoon.

There, in the comfort of the upstairs boardroom, the veterans met Dr. Abigail Gardner, who introduced them to an innovative way to share their fascinating stories with future generations.

Digital storytelling

The veterans were encouraged to bring a long any mementoes they might have, to assist them in recalling stories from their military past, which can then be recorded for the purposes of ‘Digital storytelling'.

“This a first meeting in [this] digital storytelling project,” explains Dr. Abigail Gardner, Reader in Music and Media at the University of Gloucestershire. “They’ve focused on [bringing] an item that’s affected them very deeply. Digital storytelling offers a space where [the veterans] aren’t talking to a person, they’re talking to a ‘thing’ – and that thing enables them to open up a memory, telling a story maybe they haven’t told before from their past. It’s a very therapeutic way of storytelling.”

Fascinating stories

Dr. Gardner continues: “Today I’ve seen a flag with blood stains on it, which was taken from a mutiny in Aden [The Aden Emergency, also known as the Radfan Uprising; an insurgency against the occupying forces in the Aden Profectorate of South Arabia]. I’ve seen a picture of a priest who was sharing a plane to go to a church somewhere in Borneo, and the veteran didn’t get on the plane, and the plane crashed. One of the veterans was a projectionist who used to teach camera operation in Southampton. He has millions of archive films in his garage that we’re going to have a look at.”

It sounds like a very promising start. “They will be leaving a lasting legacy for young people,” explains Helen Atkinson, Navigate Manager at Age UK Gloucestershire.

Joining Forces Gloucestershire

Age UK Gloucestershire and SSAFA Gloucestershire are working together to support local older veterans, helping them apply for financial benefits and help connecting with other veterans in the local area.

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Last updated: Jun 16 2020

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