“I believe in the power of stories to empower individuals and promote awareness of lived and learned experiences in making social change.” Steph Taylor
“We need to rebalance the content of our newspapers, TV, radio and social media. This is an ambitious initiative to start tilting stories in the right direction – and I’m supporting it!” Julie Pybus
“I’ve just donated to this and encourage you to also. Speaking as both a journalist and as a PR, diversity of commentator and case study is so important if we are ever really going to understand the world. We all have a role to play in helping achieve that.” Becky Slack
These are just some of the fantastic comments that we have received over the last few months as we have been running our crowdfunding campaign.
We did it! Together we’ve raised as of today just over £11,022. That amount after crowdfunding fees will be around £10,700 which is fantastic.
This is the first time we’ve ever led a crowdfunder and I’ve learnt a huge amount in the process (perhaps a blog for another time). We had a really ambitious goal which was revised to £30,000. We opted not to do an all or nothing crowdfunding campaign and instead work with the donations received as I felt that we could get started with what we had and hopefully raise match funding or other funding as the programme was being developed. So the campaign to raise funds for the network continues albeit a bit more quietly and in a different way. The funding to date can make a real impact already. It will mean that there are things that we wanted to do that can’t be funded but I’m only looking ahead at what support can be offered.
Running the campaign has opened doors and we’ve got one proposal for match funding with a foundation who are already leading the way in supporting unrepresented and marginalised voices. We hope that there may be additional funding so that we can dedicate more time to supporting our network.
Our campaign was timely. We had several charity CEOs from organisations we really admire and who completely champion the involvement of lived experience in their work show their support. We also know that many foundations are exploring how they can support leaders with lived experience to thrive and be provided with the much-needed opportunities and platforms for sharing their expertise. The Leaders with Lived experience pilot project led by the National Lottery Communities Fund was hugely oversubscribed which shows me that there is an untapped network out there who need to be heard.
At the end of last year I was sitting at home, feeling a bit burnt out and tired. But this project has re-energised me. I know how important it is and the 148 people who’ve supported us through donations is a real endorsement.
Over the next week or so Helena and I will begin to plan the programme which will run for six months between July and December. This programme will include three practical workshops, media mentoring and support across the six months. We’ve already got some fantastic mentors who’ve agreed to be involved and others we will announce shortly.
For this pilot programme we will be working with a network of up to 25 people from around the country. The first cohort will be made up of leaders with lived experience who we’ve worked with through Being the Story and other projects and have important social issues that they would like to be put in the spotlight. In the future we hope that this will be opened up to others and we really appreciate all the people who’ve got in contact who want to be part of the programme. The fact is that there are incredible leaders with lived experience who need to be heard. We will do all we can to share the learning and open other opportunities when we can.
If you are a journalist or media professional who wants to offer your time to the project either as a mentor or as a speaker at one of our training events or want to be connect about the project in any way. Please do get in touch.
If you are a funder and want to explore how you can get involved with the pilot or if you just want to be kept in touch about the network, let us know.
If you are a socially minded organisation and want to offer support whether room space for training or to host us in the future please do get in touch.
Thank you again to everyone who has shared or donated to our campaign. It’s not been easy to ask for donations and it’s given me a huge sense of admiration for charity fundraisers. I look forward to sharing the progress of the programme and the impact we believe it will have.
Although the public crowdfunding campaign has come to an end, we are keeping the page up throughout the duration of the programme so that people can find out more it and contribute. So if you want to support a programme that aims to create a more diverse media which reflects the views and ideas of a wider cross section of society you can get involved by donating and realising the ambition of this project. https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/beingthestorynetwork