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Votes needed for CFA nominated film

Published on 24 November 2023 10:05 AM

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Age UK Plymouth are asking for supporters to watch and vote for their video “Supporting Independence in Plymouth” which has made it through to the public voting stage of the Charity Film Awards. The film, the first in a set of three shorts made in collaboration with local film-maker Simon Cohen, highlight the charity’s prestigious 81 year history of support for over 50s in the city through adaptive measures and continual evolution. 

The charity are hoping that coverage from their nomination will help spread the work of Age UK Plymouth to new audiences. Previous winners include household names like Macmillan, Teenage Cancer Trust, Asda, Barnardo’s, Action Aid International and the Harry Kane Foundation. In their category Age UK Plymouth find themselves nominated amongst some stiff competition including 2022 winner Greenpeace UK.

Plymouth based film-maker Simon Cohen has previously worked with organisations including The Fire Fighters Charity and Plymouth Isolation Forum.

Speaking about working with the charity, Simon said: “I count myself very lucky to say, I had the opportunity and the honour to work with such a great team at Age UK Plymouth and their clients, filming this series of promotional films showcasing the great work that they do.

Filming over two days at both their Mount Gould branch and their Plymstock branch, I was allowed in behind the scenes of Age UK Plymouth. Camera in hand, I walked straight into a well-oiled machine, immediately seeing first-hand what a talented, dedicated and relentless force there is, which makes up the Age UK Plymouth team. Driving enablement for every single client, constantly thinking of everything so clients don’t have to, and seeing such positive, and empowering results, literally unfold before the camera, not just for the clients but their families and loved ones too.

As a filmmaker, hearing the touching stories from the clients and seeing first hand, the work of the volunteers and the staff, it really hit home the importance of the vital support, organisations like Age UK Plymouth provide to us all in our later years, that we just come to rely on and so easily take for granted. They provide such a huge, diverse range of services, empowering seniors to lead fulfilling, independent lives. They really are a rock to so many, keeping our loved ones safe and sound. Honestly, hand on heart you have to ask, where would we all be without them? They are all superheroes, and if the backbone of Britain is anything, it is Age UK Plymouth."

For the film Bryony Rawson interviewed colleagues, volunteers, clients and supporters including Luke Pollard MP (pictured)

Bryony Rawson, Head of Communications at the charity and co-producer of the film said: “Age UK Plymouth has been here for over eight decades but when people ask what we actually do, it’s difficult to answer in a way that does justice to the charity and it’s staff. It’s been a genuine privilege to produce these short films and give our clients, volunteers and supporters a platform and I feel very fortunate that the organisation are able to see the value in working on these awareness campaigns to bring our charity to increasingly larger audiences. 

Our thanks go out to everyone who was so open to letting us into their lives to share their stories, and to Simon for being as dedicated to this project as we were. I'm delighted that the first film in the series “Supporting Independence in Plymouth” has been nominated for the Smiley Charity Film Awards, to be included alongside some incredible pieces of heartfelt and compelling work is a genuine honour. We hope that you enjoy our nominated film, and hope that we have represented the continually evolving way that Age UK Plymouth supports over 50s, those living with dementia and their carers in our community.

Special thanks have to go to Tara Dale, our Head of Fundraising for being integral to the planning of this project and to David Wood, CEO of Age UK Plymouth for putting his trust in us to faithfully represent the work of the charity.”

Clients shared their stories with the team

Featuring senior members of the charity, supporters including MP Luke Pollard, volunteers and clients of the charity, the videos offer a moving insight into the impact of the charity on local lives. When speaking of the change that Age UK Plymouth has made to his life in less than a year, Roger, who attends the day centre recounts, “The staff are absolutely excellent - we’re like one happy family they make you feel at ease straight away. Before, I used to be like a hermit stuck in my bedroom for nearly 10 years, it’s done me a hell of a lot of good, literally. It’s literally brought me out of my shell. I’d be lost without it, I really would.”

Speaking in the video Age UK Plymouth Chief Executive Officer David Wood praises his teams for their ability to identify and support gaps in care across the city, “We’ve adapted and grown over the years because we’ve really had to support older people in Plymouth and again that’s changed particularly in recent times with the cost of living crisis, monies are tights, local authorities have less money, the NHS is struggling and there’s a bigger role for charities to perform not just in Plymouth but across the country.”

Sarah Hopes, Head of Community Support speaks passionately about the charity's work in the community

Rising to these challenges are just one of the reasons that the charity has found support in local leaders like Luke Pollard MP for Plymouth, Sutton & Devonport, “I think most people know that it’s a tough time at the moment, the cost of living crisis means that many people are struggling and the Information and Advice Team here at Age UK are very much like the caseworkers that I have in my office, people who are absolutely dedicated to helping others to dealing with this massive volume of requests for help, navigating what can be a very complex set of advice and support and making sure that at the end of it the folks who are getting in touch are getting the help that they need to be able to pay bills, to access the care that they require – and that makes such a big difference and to see the work and the sheer amount of calls and emails that are coming in here shows how many people desperately need that service and how essential it is that it keeps going.”