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Blind veterans exhibit work at Two Worlds Exhibition at the Trinity Art Centre

Date
7 January 2014 12:00

Blind veterans exhibit their work at Two World Exhibition at the Trinity Art centre in Tunbridge Well's organised by the Town & Country Foundation.

In the light of the huge redundancies announced by the MOD, Kent-based Town & Country Foundation (the charitable arm of Town & Country Housing Group) set themselves the challenge of engaging with veterans and supporting them in their return to civilian life. As a result, the Two Worlds project was formally launched in January 2013.

The "Two Worlds - from Service to Civvy Street" exhibition was the first in a trilogy by the housing association that will culminate this year, the 100th anniversary of the First World War. It featured photos and an accompanying book of stories of 13 ex-members of the Armed Forces that span a number of decades from World War Two veterans through to those who served in the Falklands, Kosovo and Afghanistan. 

The second in The Two Worlds trilogy of exhibitions, 'Transition' launched in early January at the Trinity Art Centre in Tunbridge Wells. Working with groups of veterans from across the south east, the exhibition features work made by ex- servicemen and women and explores the idea of the two very different worlds of military service and Civvy Street that they have had to journey between.

The Lead Artist on the project Jane Churchill explained, "We want to look at the theme of Two Worlds and the often challenging experiences that veterans find themselves having to negotiate as they return to Civvy Street. We have created 3D installations, pieces that explore the symbolism of doors and journeys. We've create a regiment of doors to highlight an element of each ex- serviceman or woman's journey. This allows the audience to gain an insight into some of the contributors' life stories and experiences. We can literally pass through the doors of the experiences expressed in words and images by the veterans themselves.'

Kevin Alderton is the Two Worlds project lead veteran. Kevin served in the army for 12 years before a vicious assault received when he was on leave resulted in him losing his sight and being discharged in April 2000. "When I lost my sight and was discharged from the army, it was the support of Blind Veterans UK, a charity for blinded ex-servicemen that helped me rebuild my life. So I am fully aware of how important this kind of project can be."

"As part of Two World's I've been running veterans awareness courses at various organisations in the south-east to try to make people aware of the problems ex-servicemen and women face. Peer to peer support is key and I want the project to be able to make a real difference at what can be a very difficult time. Jane's art programme is part of helping servicemen come together, share their stories and also to access any support they might need. The project has already delivered tangible results. By remaining reactive and flexible throughout, we have strived to meet the specific needs of both individual veterans head-on, as well as developing useful and innovative services for the community as a whole.

A further exhibition will take place in October 2014 - November 2014 provisionally titled "Our History - families, memories and mementos of war."
The programme is constantly reaching out to veterans and their families, and always welcomes confidential approaches from anyone who may need its support. Please contact kevin@fromservicetocivvystreet.org.uk