We Are York Road Project – Sharing experiences of homelessness #WeAreYRP

Our mission at sounddelivery is to help organisations and individuals to amplify stories that often go unheard, we do this through our training, events and blog. We’re delighted to have just begun a Big Lottery-Funded storytelling project with Woking-based homeless charity York Road Project to work with the homeless individuals they support to share their […]

Our mission at sounddelivery is to help organisations and individuals to amplify stories that often go unheard, we do this through our training, events and blog. We’re delighted to have just begun a Big Lottery-Funded storytelling project with Woking-based homeless charity York Road Project to work with the homeless individuals they support to share their stories.

A powerful story has the potential to raise awareness, challenge stigmas and create positive social change. It is through sharing these firsthand experiences that we can create understanding and empathy- not sympathy, but also to show a different viewpoint to that often conveyed in the media. That’s why we’re working with the people at York Road Project to tell their stories in their own words, in their own way. They spoke of the stories they’d like to tell around homelessness; of brotherhood on the streets, life stories, loss of contact with family, system failures but when we showed them some examples of powerful photo storytelling around homelessness one member of the group said

“All these stories are depressing”

And from there they decided they wanted to also share stories rarely heard from those with experience of homelessness. They want to talk about hope, the community and friendships found on the streets and the change they’d like to see happen.

Through these storytelling workshops, we hope to be sharing a whole spectrum of stories through working with rough sleepers in our morning storytelling sessions and individuals who are part of the York Road Project Moving On Programme in the afternoon. In doing this we can explore the issues around street homelessness, the journey taken to being rehoused and the impact that finding the right support can have. We aim to give the participants the skills and confidence to get involved in conversations that directly affect them.

#WeAreYRP has already begun, and our group have captured photographs that tell us of some of their experiences which can be found on their Instagram here. Lincoln, 22 shared his experience breaking into and living in a garage because he was scared to seek support and scared of other homeless people because of how they’re often portrayed in the media. He felt a stigma around admitting he was homeless, and it took being caught by the police for him to overcome this and access York Road Project.

We look forward to sharing more stories, and our six weeks of working with those at York Road Project will culminate in a storytelling showcase where we can exhibit the authentic, firsthand stories captured by all those involved. Key stakeholders, commissioners and community will be invited to attend the showcase so that homeless people’s voices can be heard by key services in Woking and they will feel empowered to contribute to conversations around positive systems change. Until then, follow #WeAreYRP across social media for updates.

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