Why the need?
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 8 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. In 2022, we built on Spokesperson Network with a new cohort who found new avenues to be heard in the media. Check out some of the 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 all 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 are running a user-led organisation/charity/CIC, or are part of a collective of lived experience leaders (or similar), or you are staff for an organisation that advocates for the issue where you have 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.
- 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 8 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
- Monthly (online) peer check-ins and support
- Media Matches – Each participant will be matched with journalists and media professionals if they wish, 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
- 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 Wednesday 15th February
- Application process closes 12pm Friday 24th March
- Interviews Monday 17th, Tuesday 18th and Wednesday 19th April
- Successful applicants will be notified by Monday 24th April
- Group Welcome Wednesday 17th May on Zoom
Programme Dates – Most of the training will be in person with one workshop and all the check-ins online. The programme might need to be reviewed unforeseen circumstances.
This is a practical and intensive (and fun!) programme with a considerable time commitment, we ask people in advance who are applying to reflect on this. Over the eight months, the total training is 11 days plus travel to the training days and any 1-to-1 support. During the programme, we also ask participants to produce a blog, and a vlog. There will be media opportunities that come from being part of the programme too. Training will take place on the following dates:
Launch and Introduction – Wednesday 17th May (3 hours)
Social Media Workshop – Wednesday 31st May / Thursday 1st June (half day each day)
Residential – Wednesday 14th to Friday 16th June (3 days)
From July, there will also be monthly online check-ins.
Media Site Visit – Thursday 6th July (Optional, 1 day)
Presentation Skills – Thursday 14th September (1 day)
Media Training – Wednesday 4th & Thursday 5th of October (2 days)
Learning event – Week of 20th November (Optional, 1 day)
Graduation – Thursday 7th December (1 day)
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 Tuesday 28th February we held a Webinar to talk through the programme and heard from some of our alumni. The webinar was recorded for those that couldn’t make it, so get in touch if you’d like to watch it back.
If you have any questions please do get in touch. email@example.com
Applications will be shortlisted by a panel of six people:
Jude Habib, Founder and Director, Sounddelivery Media
Helena Hastings, Communications Manager, Sounddelivery Media
Helen Chapman, Media Manager, Sounddelivery Media
Beth Thomas, Mentoring Scheme Co-Ordinator and Safeguarding Director at Our Place Support. Beth is passionate about using her own experiences to inspire others who have experienced trauma and issues with their mental health. She is also part of our Spokesperson Network Alumni.
Sylvie Carlos, a multi-award-winning audio producer, host, writer, and PhD researcher and Sounddelivery Media Trustee.
Mark Brealey spent a dozen years as a local journalist for papers and the BBC in West Yorkshire before making the leap into PR in 2001. Since then, he has media trained the public sector and charities to face some of the biggest issues to hit the headlines, including Covid-19.
* This programme asks for commitments of both time and your engagement to work with us to amplify your voice publicly across social media and traditional media during the programme. If there is anything that may impact your ability to fulfill either of these commitments in the 8 months e.g. taking on other additional programmes, postgraduate studies or ongoing legal proceedings please consider before applying. Please be aware it may affect your continued place on the programme if something later comes to light which impacts your engagement with the programme. Get in touch if you have any questions.