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KOVE is the Kilburn Older Voices Exchange, a group of older people, service users, family carers and volunteers. The organisation exists to improve the quality of life for older people in Camden, giving that community a voice to raise issues of concern and to provide information and support. Those issues have ranged from day-to-day experiences of homecare and public transport, to accessibility of road crossings and public toilet facilities in the area, all explored through digital media.
KOVE's Mel Wright says: 'We have made films and have used them to justify or give evidence to the issues that we wanted to raise with our local authorities. So far we have made films on home care, public toilets, road crossings and keeping safe.'
Acting Up, part of Matchbox Theatre Trust, works with those members of the community who feel disadvantaged through communication difficulties to provide multimedia training and support. It's their aim to help members of the community to represent themselves, communicate their needs and challenge stereotypes. They have worked with KOVE to produce their Inspiring Voices award-winning initiative, recognised here for using digital media in an inspiring way in the local community.
'Acting Up were commissioned to do some work with users at the Kingsgate Resource Centre and that is where KOVE is based,' explains Mel. 'A lot of our members were telling us that they were having problems with their home care services so we decided to work with Acting Up to make a film about this as a way of recording what was going on. Acting Up trained us on how to use the cameras and support us while we filmed the problems people were having. This went so well that the home care agency came to see us while we were editing the films and decided that they would like to use our footage in a training film for their staff.'
KOVE were used as a case study when the London Borough of Camden were applying for Beacon status for their work with older people. Their success was partly due to KOVE's multi-media campaigning. As a result, they have now developed links with other national like-minded groups. The group are currently taking their films to over 30 community groups as part of a roadshow and the feedback so far is that they have made huge progress in giving older people a collective and inspirational voice.
KOVE's Carol Thomas says: 'KOVE has given us all a voice in the community where older people are often overlooked. Through the different groups we are in contact with and by using digital media to record peoples concerns and suggestions for improvements we have been able to help raise awareness of the issues facing older people and get things done together!'
Find out more about KOVE.