Update from the Being the Story Spokesperson Network – What happened next?

Earlier this year we launched a crowdfunding campaign to create a network of media confident spokespeople with real experience of pressing social issues facing UK society today. As a pilot programme we’re learning along the way but we hit the ground running in July with a cohort of 21 dynamic individuals from around the country. […]

Earlier this year we launched a crowdfunding campaign to create a network of media confident spokespeople with real experience of pressing social issues facing UK society today. As a pilot programme we’re learning along the way but we hit the ground running in July with a cohort of 21 dynamic individuals from around the country. There have already been appearances on Channel 4 News, Sunday Morning Live, Newsnight, BBC London and BBC Radio 5 Live and at the recent Byline Festival as opportunities have been opened up for the network to share their expertise and ideas. 

Match Funding Success:
To date we have crowdfunded £11,077 (not including fees) from 153 supporters. We’ll also be receiving match funding of £10,000 each from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Lankelly Chase Foundation which is fantastic news.  Our target is £40,000 so our JustGiving page will stay open until the end of the pilot project.

Programme Participants 
For the pilot project we recruited participants that we’ve worked with over the last few years who we felt would benefit from being part of the programme. Meet our participants.

We’ve created a programme that is practical, inclusive and fun.  The funding has enabled us to offer our participants the chance to attend 5 practical workshops in 6 months.  The first took place in July. The workshops include harnessing social media, building an online presence/digital leadership, blogging and vlogging, engaging with journalists, campaigning and activism and addressing impostor syndrome. At the first workshop we had Clare Horton from The Guardian and Maaiysa Valli from Channel 4 News share their tops tips on engaging journalists and answering questions.

Media Mentors: 
We’ve got some fantastic media mentors as part of the programme including award-winning documentary maker Anna Hall of True Vision Yorkshire (based in Leeds) Brian Woods, True Vision, Giles Edwards, BBC and Emma Wakefield, Lambent Productions  Adam Gee (producer) Ed Owles and the team at Postcode Films to mentor on the programme. You can find out more about who is involved at the end of our spokesperson network page.

In the Media: 
The aim of the programme is to improve representation and diversity of the voice in the media (and beyond) and to give our network a platform.  Travon was invited on to Channel 4 News to share his thoughts on a report about the rise of young people going into care.  Simeon was interviewed by Newsnight about new stop and search laws.  Lorraine spoke to The World at One, BBC Radio 4 about the announcement of Knife Free messages on Chicken Boxes.  Ric was invited onto BBC London The Scene to share his music and talk about his experience of the care system and Barbara was interviewed for BBC Radio 5 Live in an extended interview about her life, experience of the criminal justice system and hopes for her Behind Bras Foundation.

Alongside that Steve, Simeon, Bryony, Anne-Marie and Travon spoke at Byline Festival, an independent media festival which was a real success. We’ve also been approached by a production company producing a drama on homelessness who want to speak to the relevant network members about their experience of homelessness to inform their programme.

Coming Up: 
Between now and December we’ve got exciting plans including a full media meet up day in October where we’ll be visiting a number of media outlets including Channel 4 News, BBC and others.

Support from the crowdfunder donors and funders mean that this programme is completely free to our network. If you’d like to donate, you can do so here and you can follow the progress by following @sounddelivery on twitter or facebook keeping an eye on our hashtag #BeingtheStory or connecting with us on LinkedIn. And do share with your own networks what we’re trying to do. There are still lots of ways to get involved.

“I have some great ideas thanks to the spokesperson network, can’t wait to tell you all about it, I feel good about moving forward.” Amanda Hailes

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