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 new training programme aims to diversify the voices we hear in the media and make it more representative of the society we live in. We have 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. Our aim through this programme is to equip a new network of 14 leaders with the skills and confidence 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.
- You are using your lived experience to raise awareness of your community or starting to advocate for others but would like to build your skills and confidence to reach bigger audiences
- You may be running a user-led organisation
- You may be an individual using the arts to amplify your lived experience
- 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.
What do we mean by ‘lived experience’?
Someone who uses their firsthand experience of a social issue 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 and carry out work in the UK
- Be over 18 Commit to attend the whole programme
- Have been doing this work for 1 year minimum
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 (covid dependent)
- 10 days of 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 Mentors – Each participant will be matched with a media mentor to act as a sounding board for ideas and to share expertise and ideas for media appearances
- Monthly (online) peer meet-ups 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 opens Thursday 1st April
- Application process closes 10am Friday 30th April
- Interviews Thursday 6th May and Friday 7th May
- Successful applicants will be notified by Monday 10th May
- First workshops Tuesday 18th and Wednesday 19th May
Programme Dates – Please note – we will be working closely with you on the programme dates and when it is safe to bring the network together in person we will do that. A residential is part of this programme and we hope that we’ll be able to do that.
First gathering of the cohort will be Thursday 20th May
The full programme will begin from June with workshops in June, July, September, October, December and January.
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.
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.
Webinar to talk through the programme and meet some of our alumni – Tuesday 13th April 2-3pm. Register here.
If you need additional help to fill in the application form or have access needs please do get in touch. firstname.lastname@example.org
Programme has been co-curated with: leaders with lived experience from our pilot programme