Age UK Plymouth
Supporting Independence in Plymouth

Film & Campaign Description

Premiering in October 2023, a set of three films made in collaboration with local film-maker Simon Cohen, have been produced to highlight the charity’s prestigious 81 year history of support for over 50s in the city through adaptive measures and continual evolution. The first video Supporting Independence in Plymouth is an overview of the work of the charity and gives voice to those it supports.


Simon Cohen is a Plymouth based freelance filmmaker who specialises in bringing ideas and stories to life. A first class graduate of Plymouth University, Simon has worked with an extensive range of organisations and charities including The Fire Fighters Charity and Plymouth's Social Isolation Forum.

“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."

Bryony Rawson is Head of Communications at Age UK Plymouth joining the charity 18 months ago following a decade of marketing at Plymouth Pavilions, the South West's largest live venue. In her time with the charity, Bryony has worked on campaigns and strategies to raise awareness of the charity, bringing it's work to new audiences and increasing brand recognition across the region.

“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 Cohen for being as dedicated to this project as we were. I'm delighted that the first film in the series Supporting Independence in Plymouth is 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.”


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.

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.”

Speaking about the work of the Information and Advice Team, Chief Operating Officer, Rich Masters tells the film-makers, “Last financial year alone we helped people access £2.97 million in terms of benefits that they didn’t know they were eligible for. We’ve seen a 35% rise this year alone in new clients, we’ve seen people come to us for a variety of different things, bereavement, need for councilling, social isolation, things that people don’t realise what they’re entitled to, they don’t understand the adaptations that can help them in their homes. They don’t understand that they can seek like-minded people who have the same concerns and the same fears.”

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.”

The final instalment of the series follows a day in the life at the charity’s dedicated Dementia Day Centre, and with 10 million new cases of dementia being diagnosed worldwide every year, the stories shared in this film are both poignant and hard hitting with many viewers understanding the experience for a family living with dementia. Ken and his grandson Mike shared their story, revealing a touching account of a family determined to support Ken, the active and fun-loving husband of Bridget. Lisa, brings her mum Sue to the Dementia Day Centre and in a moving section shares the frustration of looking for support, and the difference it has made to her home where she lives with Sue and her own young family.

Age UK Plymouth

Our mission statement: Age UK Plymouth exists to care for and work with older people, those living with dementia and their carers in and around the City of Plymouth to improve their quality of life through the promotion of choice, opportunity and independence.

Our vision: Love later life in Plymouth

Our values: Trusted, compassionate, innovative

By refocusing it’s strategy and prioritising on delivering to support the greatest needs of the community, Age UK Plymouth has seen an unprecedented period of growth over the past couple of years and is becoming recognised in the city as one of the foremost pioneers of reactive innovation.

Over the years the challenges have changed but the spirit of the charity’s values, to be trusted, compassionate and innovative have remained the same. In a city which falls in the top 30% most deprived local authorities in the country, with a third of it's population of over 65s living alone, the most dynamic projects over the past two years have been the charity’s many faceted responses to the cost of living crises and the ever growing strain on the NHS.

UN Sustainable Development Goals

We align with the following UN Sustainable Development Goals: