Sight loss charity Blind Veterans UK has won a Charity Film Award for a film that highlights the isolation experienced by many who lose their sight.
The film, “Ken’s Story”, demonstrates the loneliness often experienced by the veterans Blind Veterans UK supports, as any issues of isolation felt as we age can increase if you have lost your sight.
The average age of ex-Service men and women supported by Blind Veterans UK is 87 and the vast majority of the veterans they support have lost their sight later in life, decades after their service, due to age-related conditions.
The film, made by Brighton-based creative agency Morever, follows the journey experienced by Ken, a blind veteran supported by the charity since 2015. It captures the loneliness and isolation that Ken felt when he lost his sight due to age-related macular degeneration (ARMD). At this week’s virtual awards ceremony the judges were unanimous in praise for Ken’s Story describing it as ‘poignant and impressive’.
Ken, who joined the Royal Air Force in 1949 and served for 9 years, says:
“At the time my sight started to go I’d been in hospital and my wife had just died, everything was going around me. I was more or less at the bottom and didn’t know how far I was going down.
“The first thing Blind Veterans UK did was to arrange for me to visit their training centre down in Brighton for an intro week. It was only when I came back I realised how low I had been.
“Just having company again did and still does make a huge difference.”
As well as demonstrating the isolation felt by blind veterans like Ken, the film also shows the difference made by the training, rehabilitation and support the charity provides. Ken is shown with new equipment, provided by Blind Veterans UK, which allows him to read his mail again and keep in contact with friends and family.
Ken’s Story also shows the relationship that has developed between him and a Blind Veterans UK volunteer called Liam who now checks on Ken and delivers shopping several times a week. Liam has continued this activity throughout the current lockdown.
Chief Executive of Blind Veterans UK, Major General (Rtd) Nick Caplin CB says:
“We are delighted that Ken’s Story has been recognised with a Charity Film Gold Award. The film really does highlight the isolation experienced by so many people with sight loss and in the current climate those feelings of isolation are only going to increase.”
As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic Blind Veterans UK has adapted its service to support its 5,000 beneficiaries, 90% of whom are over 70 and thus being advised by the Government to self-isolate. The National Support Service will help blind veterans through this period of social isolation.
“Having to self-isolate, blind veterans need our help right now with daily tasks, such as the shopping, and constant emotional support through this difficult time. So we are temporarily changing our service and mobilising our staff to provide practical, essential support to help the most vulnerable.
“There is so much that we can and must do to support blind veterans to help them maintain physical and emotional wellbeing, and to feel safe, reassured and cared for during this crisis.”
You can keep updated on Blind Veterans UK’s response to Covid-19 at blindveterans.org.uk/coronavirus where you can also find out more about supporting the charity to make this new service possible.
Notes to Editor
Blind Veterans UK helps vision-impaired ex-Service men and women of every generation rebuild their lives after sight loss. Since 1915, we’ve provided rehabilitation, training, practical advice and emotional support to tens of thousands of blind veterans.