New project alert…

The People’s Voice Media team are currently working with the Ideas Alliance, Dudley Council, the Citizens Advice Bureau and Black Country Foodbank to gather stories about people’s lived experiences of poverty. This will help to inform services and strategies to help address poverty in the Dudley area and it will support Black Country Foodbank to develop funding applications, so they reach more people in need. The stories will also be used as part of a report and also in an exhibition that aims to break down stigma surrounding poverty and raise awareness about the issues at a local level.

So far on the project, we have been running some orientation sessions with people living and working in Dudley to let them know what our plans are and to get their feedback on them. We’ve also run a pop-up storytelling with staff from a local Citizens Advice Bureau and captured their experiences of supporting people living in poverty.

In December and January we will be running some Community Reporter training and gathering stories from people accessing local food banks as well. By the end of the project, we hope to have a range of stories covering areas such as the ways that people try to manage their money, experiences of formal and informal support and the challenges that poverty brings to people lives and how it impacts on them and the people around them.

With the stories shared with us, we will then start working in partnership with the Council and others to look at how people’s lives can be made better and what local solutions their are to poverty in the area. We’ll give you an update next year on how this project progresses and hopefully have some solutions to share with you.


At People’s Voice Media, we have a specific vision and specific values – all of which we take seriously. However, we also appreciate that we should not stand still and that our vision and values need to evolve as we grow and change as an organisation.

That’s why, at our recent AGM, we had attendees (including board members, team members and Community Reporters) take part in an activity to look at our existing organisational values and identify ways in which we are currently embodying them and how they could be embedded our future work in more concrete ways. We used the collaborative tool Flinga to allow everyone to collaborate on this and come up with some fascinating ideas.

Our current values

So what are PVM’s current values?

  • Collaboration & Equity: these values represent our way of working
  • Authenticity & Integrity: these values represent our behaviour
  • Learning & Evolving: these values represent our approach
  • Optimism & Joy: these values represent out mindset

We asked attendees two questions about each of the values:

  1. How have you embodied this value?
  2. How can we better incorporate this value in future?

The answers, given via Flinga live during the meeting provide a fascinating insight of where PVM is now in terms of its values and where it will be heading in the future. We’ve listed some of them below.

Collaboration & Equity

How have you embodied this value?

  • “We worked to give people who are seldom heard a voice to make change and influence.”
  • “Changed perceptions of academic staff who were sceptical of how this work adds value to research.”
  • “Trying to make the organisation’s structure and working practices more horizontal.”

How can we better incorporate this value in future?

  • “Promote autonomy in all people involved in the organisation.”
  • “Become more outward facing esp. in UK.”
  • “Audit my stakeholder base to identify people and other orgs and their platforms.”
  • “Keep doing what you have been doing.”

Authenticity & Integrity

How have you embodied this value?

  • “By giving my time, by being able to show my vulnerability to others, by feeling able to fight against the offerings of the system/ the people that hold the power, becoming the expert.”
  • “Calling out the elephant in the room / standing up for what we believe is integrity and the right way of treating people and partners.”

How can we better incorporate this value in future?

  • “Keep to core principles – do not get blown off course [funding].”
  • “Model kindness and ‘being human’.”
  • “Update our policies and procedures and make them actual working documents not just box ticking.”

Learning & Evolving

How have you embodied this value?

  • “Evaluation is at the heart of the tasks I’ve completed whilst working with PVM.”
  • “Always listening and learning.”
  • “Never having set rules – learning and continuous improvement.”
  • “Developed our practice from digital skills to a method.”

How can we better incorporate this value in future?

  • “Creating a working culture that without a fear of failure.”
  • “Stay up to date with technology.”
  • “Extending our practice into new sectors.”
  • “Supporting to team to generate the innovations – not always leading from the front.”
  • “Be more pirate.” (Not as odd as it sounds, this one’s all about professional rule-breaking and being a rebel with a cause.)

Optimism & Joy

How have you embodied this value?

  • “It’s been a pleasure working in such a positive team at PVM.”
  • “Always positive yet realistic.”
  • “Bringing a smile and looking for the solutions.”

How can we better incorporate this value in future?

  • “Celebrating the small wins more – not always an end goal.”
  • “Be optimistic about the future of the organisation.”
  • Optimism and Joy are incredibly important values to have especially currently in this world of so much uncertainty and barriers. Optimism and joy will help to navigate the rocky roads of the future.”

So what’s next for our values?

As you can see, while we do currently embody our values, there is more to be done on making them a more concrete part of the work that we do. Our policies and procedures are going to be worked on so they become actual working documents, as mentioned above, and we’re looking into partnerships with other organisations that will help us in bringing our core values to life.

Watch this space as we continue to grow, develop and evolve.


Earlier this month the People’s Voice Media team attended the kick-off meeting in Berlin for our new Erasmus+ funded project – CONCRIT. The project aims to work towards a socially cohesive Europe, which requires self-confident, fully informed and educated citizens. To support this, ourselves and partners will be investigating the topics of community narration and digital literacies, exploring their role in civic education. Through this research, we will produce learner driven tools, ways to build a community and techniques to de-construct discriminatory stereotypes.

Partners involved in the project are from Poland, Germany, Italy and the UK and contribute different expertise and perspectives. People involved in the project work in participatory arts, support services for people experiencing issues such as mental ill health, civic participation fields and sports development arenas. This multidisciplinary team are seeking to pool our collective intelligence and learn from one another and wider stakeholders, in order to create training programmes and training activities pertinent to digital literacies.

We are currently in the research phase of the project, with the start of next year being focused on developing training materials and resources. The project will then move onto testing out these outputs and refining them. There’ll be opportunities for People’s Voice Media’s partners and stakeholders to get involved – so if you’re interested, let us know!

The meeting coincided with the 30 year anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, which is a timely reminder of the constant need to keep knocking down the barriers between people – whether they are physical or ideological – in order to build inclusive and welcoming communities. We’ll keep you updated on how the project progresses in its aim and contributes to this vision next year.


As we all know, co-creation processes aren’t best delivered by a fixed plan and are not linear in nature. The fluidity and flexibility of co-creation are core strengths of this practice. However, a key challenge ahead for the CoSIE project – a pan-European applied research project looking at how public services can be co-created – is to produce a roadmap for how co-creation can be done.

Exploring what this blueprint might look like was a key focus of a recent CoSIE project meeting in Athens. Ideas brought forward by the consortium was that it could take the form of a metro map with various routes depending on which position you were entering co-creation from, another suggestion was that it could be a Prezi with links and video content embedded and there was also the tongue-in-cheek proposition that it could be like a dating app – the Tinder of co-creation!

What was clear from these discussions was that the usualy lengthy PDF documents and toolkits that are produced on this matter are not what this consortium want to re-make. Instead, the project dares to be different. We dare to innovate and challenge pre-conceptions of what ‘roadmaps’ are. Fundemental to this, is that the blueprint must be accessible to everyone wanting to co-create in public services. For People’s Voice Media, a core part of this will be making it ‘human’ and about people. That means cutting out all the buzzwords and terminology that has lost its meaning, and instead using everyday language that people can really connect with.

Anyway, that’s our two pence worth on the matter… let’s see what is co-created on this journey!


Co-Engage Project Meeting Liverpool TNP Erasmus Plus

Back in September People’s Voice Media came together with representatives from the European partners collaborating on Co-Engage to discuss project progress and share ideas on co creation. The meeting took place in The Quaker Meeting House in Liverpool and proved to be a productive couple of days in terms of developing the project.

Stakeholders from Stockport council and Manchester Access Project also came and presented the framework for the projects they have been working on.

You can read more on the meeting over on the Co-Engage project website.