In every community there are people with lived experience of the big issues facing the UK today; from homelessness to modern slavery, domestic abuse to gang violence. Their insights could identify solutions and create lasting change. But we know from working with charities, and training experts with experience of these issues, that their voices and stories often go unheard. This has been magnified during the covid pandemic.
This 9 month training programme aims to diversify the voices we hear in the media and make it more representative of the society we live in. We developed our Spokesperson Network collaboratively with a network of leaders with lived experience following a pilot programme in 2019-2020. This network told us that they felt excluded from the conversations in the media and elsewhere that directly affect them. This programme tackles the barriers that prevent these experts from engaging with journalists who have the power to influence coverage. In 2021 we launched our first Spokesperson Network Programme, where a new network gained the skills and confidence to use their experiences to put a spotlight on the issues and inequalities they seek to change in the media and beyond. Check out some of their highlights here.
Our aim through this programme is to equip a new network of 14 leaders with the skills, confidence and networks to share their experience, have their expertise heard more widely and ultimately drive change.
Who are we looking for
Our successful participants will be united in using their lived experience to create a positive change in and for their communities. All applicants would need to meet at least 3 of these criteria
- You are using your lived experience to raise awareness of your community and have been advocating for others but would like to build your skills and confidence to reach bigger audiences
- You may be running a user-led organisation
- You are supporting the communities you represent
- You want to find solutions to challenges your community faces
- You are wanting to speak more publicly and be more visible, particularly in the media
- You haven’t had regular media platforms and are ready to take on new opportunities that come with the programme.
- You are based in England
What do we mean by ‘lived experience’?
Someone who uses their firsthand experience of a social inequality to create positive change for communities and people who share those experiences (and works with them to do that).
What do we mean by community?
It doesn’t need to be a community in the traditional sense, you may have a leading role in a collective, a network, a movement, a group of people with a shared experience or purpose.
- Be based in England and carry out work in the UK
- Be over 18
- Have the time to commit to attend the whole programme and complete all of the tasks
- Have been doing this work for 2 years minimum
This programme is free and travel expenses to any in-person workshops will be covered by Sounddelivery Media.
We will prioritise people/communities underrepresented in the media. We have ring-fenced funding to ensure that accessibility needs are not a barrier to participation.
The 9 month programme consists of
- A 3-day (2 nights) residential in Leamington
- Training where we will cover everything from building your online presence using social media, blogging, vlogging, campaigning skills, interview preparation and media training, and presentation skills.
- Site visits to media outlets
- Media Matches – Each participant will be matched with journalists and media professionals to have informal conversations, act as a sounding board for ideas and to share expertise and ideas for media appearances
- Peer mentors – our previous programme participants or ‘Spokesperson Network Alumni’ will be able to give you advice and additional support as you make your way through the programme
- Monthly (online) peer check-ins and support
- Media opportunities – participants will be promoted to regional and national media outlets
- Potential other speaking (inc paid) opportunities at events, conferences, festivals
- An end of programme learning event and graduation
- Application process opened 4 March
- Application process closes 5pm Monday 11th April
- Interviews Tuesday 3rd, Wednesday 4th and Thursday 5th May
- Successful applicants will be notified by Monday 9th May
- Group Welcome Thursday 19th May on Zoom
Programme Dates – With Covid restrictions lifting we hope that the training will be delivered in person with the check-ins online. The programme might need to be reviewed if there are specific changes.
First gathering of the cohort will be Thursday 19th May (Online)
The full programme will begin from June with workshops in June, a 3 day residential 20-22nd July, September, October (2 days), November and December.
We recognise that there is a time commitment to being involved in this programme and we ask people in advance of applying to reflect on this. Over the nine months, the total training is 11 days plus travel to the training days and the online check-ins. During the programme, we also ask participants to produce a blog, vlog, take part in a twitter takeover and give a short talk. There will be media opportunities that come from being part of the programme too.
How to apply
There is a written application form for everyone to fill in. If you’d feel more confident sharing by video we’re also happy for you to send us a short video / vlog (max 2 minutes) about why you should be part of the network alongside the application. You can upload the video into Vimeo as private and share the link with us or send it to us via WhatsApp.
Please spread the word to your networks. We know that there are many people who don’t necessarily see themselves as leaders but are working tirelessly to ensure a fair and just world.
On Wednesday 23rd March we held a Webinar to talk through the programme and heard from some of our alumni. If you missed it and would like to watch it back get in touch and we can share the recording.
If you have any questions please do get in touch. firstname.lastname@example.org
Programme has been developed alongside participants of our pilot and our 2021-22 programme