Three photographs. From left to right, the first is of two women in a workshop, the second is of a gentleman sharing is story with a lady holding a tablet, the third is of a man delivering a conference workshop.

This year, the People’s Voice Media team has worked incredibly hard on our Annual Learning Report, trying to encapsulate the learnings from our social change work during the 2022/23 period, but also how we have acted upon the learnings from the previous year’s report. In its pages you’ll find out more about our impact, our learning and development, and the future of People’s Voice Media – as well as how this work aligns to our strategic goals.

We’re proud to launch it here today although, in truth, we’ve already begun working on several of the learnings found within. If you have any feedback or questions about the report, feel free to get in touch at

Please note: We’ll be recording and releasing an audio summary of the report in the coming weeks.


Understanding lived experiences of pain can only lead to effective change for all. Empathy was at the heart of all the lived experience stories within the CAPE project.

Empathy is a powerful tool that allows us to understand and share the feelings and experiences of others. It is an essential aspect of our humanity, enabling us to connect with others and build meaningful relationships. This is particularly important for those living with pain, people shared how empathy was often lacking in their relationship with health and social care and unemployment.

I have learnt too much about the challenges that people face when living with long-term chronic pain. “Not being believed”. These lived experiences are full of the good, the bad and the indifferent responses that people get when seeking help and understanding to manage their pain. Empathy is also crucial in creating effective and sustainable change in society and service for people. Through empathy, we can see these challenges from different perspectives, develop more inclusive and equitable solutions, and ultimately, work towards a better world for those living with pain.

Empathy involves understanding and sharing the feelings and experiences of others. It is more than just sympathy or feeling sorry for someone; it requires us to put ourselves in another person’s shoes and experience their emotions and struggles. Empathy is a fundamental aspect of our social and emotional intelligence, allowing us to connect with others on a deeper level. When we empathize with someone, we are acknowledging their experiences and validating their feelings. This can be a powerful tool in building trust and strengthening relationships.

Empathy is important for creating effective and sustainable change because it allows us to see issues from different perspectives. When we empathize with others, we can understand the root causes of societal problems and how they impact different people. For example, if we are working to address poverty, we must understand the lived experiences of those who are living in poverty. This means recognizing the systemic barriers that prevent individuals from accessing resources and opportunities. By understanding these experiences, we can develop more effective strategies that address the root causes of poverty and create sustainable change.

Through empathy, we can develop more inclusive and equitable solutions to societal problems. When we take the time to understand the lived experiences of different groups, we can develop solutions that are more inclusive and equitable. For example, if we are working to address racial disparities in healthcare, we must understand the experiences of marginalized communities and how they are impacted by systemic racism. By centering their experiences and perspectives, we can develop solutions that are more effective, equitable, and sustainable.

In conclusion, empathy is a powerful tool that allows us to connect with others, understand their experiences, and create effective and sustainable change. By recognizing the importance of empathy, we can work towards a more inclusive and equitable society, where everyone’s experiences are valued and respected. By taking the time to understand the lived experiences of different groups, we can develop more effective solutions that address the root causes of societal problems. Ultimately, empathy is essential in building a better world for all.

Take a look at an example story gathered as part of this project over on the Community Reporter Website.

Written by Isaac Samuels (PVM Team Member)

The Voice of the Dragon – Being a Partner on the HOME? Heritage project

Dragons Voice CIC started working with People’s Voice Media (PVM) on the HOME? Project in May 2022 after discussions with Hayley (CEO of PVM). We feel privileged to be part of this project as we have worked with another organisation on a similar type of project. Initially we intended to gather stories from the BNO new arrivals from Hong Kong but this was not welcomed by that community as many feared for their safety and did not want to participate in a project that will showcase how they are living now since arriving in the UK.

We discussed this with PVM and Kath kindly agreed that we could look at alternative sectors of the Chinese community. In the end we recruited mainly from Mandarin speaker from mainland China who arrived in the UK within the last 10 years.

We found members of the PVM team to be very understanding and willing to adapt to our changing circumstances. As the director authorising the partnership agreement, I felt that PVM as an organisation stands true to its values. I have met Hayley a few times when I attended some training (early 2021) and at a conference way back in 2017. What came across was the philosophy of non-exploitation and letting people take control of their own stories.

How have the participants benefited from the project?

The participants who attended the Community Reporter training gained skills in doing short snapshot and dialogue interviews. They used a tablet to record the videos at the training sessions. The interviews were spoken in Chinese languages so they did not have to struggle with speaking in a second language. Some gathered stories after the training and uploaded them onto the Community Reporter website.

Those who attended the archive research training completed summaries of stories they found in the Manchester Evening newspaper. The focus was on finding stories on positive contributions from migrants. The skills they developed were firstly to locate the articles online and then sifting through the articles to find relevant stories. To conclude, they had to summarise and transfer core information onto the spreadsheet.

The training provided opportunities for strangers to meet up with other peers and transfer some of the learning into practice. Those who struggled with the archive research due to language were supported by those who had better English abilities. The project provided opportunities for participants to talk about and reflect on their migration journeys. Dragons Voice created 2 part-time posts for its volunteers, one to co-ordinate and the other to support in recruitment and organising activities.

Has Dragon’s Voice learned anything from taking part or from the stories?

There are many similarities in the stories, namely people migrate for better opportunities in life. There are always challenges to overcome in the initial transition, be it the weather in UK, availability of food they normally eat, language barriers or employment opportunities. The approach to interviewing in Community Reporting is very different to interviewing to mine for information, which is how we normally work when interviewing guests on our radio shows. In future we should be less focused on getting information we want and instead adopt a facilitative approach for the individuals we interview to tell their stories.

As a director I have learned to devise employment contracts for freelance workers but is not quite sure what to do when they pull out mid-way. I have had to step in and luckily as I had overall management of the project, I was able to pick it up without much trouble.

The Knowledge Exchange event puts the stories we gathered into a wider context and the roadmaps produced offers a sense of direction for future actions. It was good to meet up with other partners at the partners meetings, who worked across broader areas and are much more politically aware. Their comments provided different perspectives and food for thought.

At the conference in Liverpool, I found out about the other great projects that PVM is involved in and it opened my eyes to the broader work of community reporting.

I am painfully aware that Manchester has diverse migrant communities and it was with regret that we did not include these other groups in our project. We did offer the archive training to ALLFM presenter but there was no uptake advertising it on the volunteers steering group meetings and at ALLFM studio. We need to consider in future how to engage with other migrant groups within Manchester.

It is with much appreciation that Dragons Voice CIC was able to be a partner on this project. We hope to be able to work with People’s Voice Media again in the future.

Denise Yuen Megson


Dragons Voice CIC


This pilot project aims to strengthen our knowledge of people’s lived experience of racism and how this affects co-production.

PVM and the Co-Production Collective will be using lived experience to explore experiences of racism with co-production and identify ways in which structural racism can be addressed within the co-production arena.

Our objectives are to…

  • Ensure that diverse voices are present within our co-production communities
  • Understand how racism plays out within co-production
  • Understand what we can do to be an anti-racist co-production community & put this into practice
  • Gather 12 lived experience stories
  • Deliver sense-making sessions exploring these stories
  • Produce a short thematic film pulling out the key learning from the stories
  • Host a Learning Exchange event sharing these finding with the wider co-production community & beyond

As part of this project we’re aiming to bring about social change on an individual, organisational, community & societal level including…

Bringing individuals together to share their own lived experiences, knowledge and experiences of exclusion and inclusion around coproduction, lived experience and racism.
Strengthen the knowledge of the Co-Production Collective to be able to respond to the need of our community or the people our work tries to best serve that are from diverse backgrounds & catalyse action/generate ideas for making the co-production ‘space’ more diverse.
Create safe spaces to talk about systemic racism, coproduction, lived experience and the lack of diversity that the spaces can often show. Contribute to a wider mission to create social change for everybody to find a fair and just society where they have purpose and meaning regardless of any protected characteristics.

Over the next couple of months we’ll be collecting stories, delivering online sense making sessions and editing together a film based on the findings – all in preparation for the Learning Exchange event in January 2024.

Watch this space for more updates, including how to get involved!


Over the past 6 months, People’s Voice Media have been delivering a series of Ripple Effect Mapping Workshops and Storytelling Sessions with members of the Camerados Public Living Room movement.

Camerados is a social movement – which really just means that there are lots and lots of people (from Baltimore to Blackpool) who think being a bit more human is a good idea. The movement started in 2015 and the main thing you’ll see them doing is opening Public Living Rooms in different communities across the world.

What is a Public Living Room?

A public living room is an agenda free space for communities of people to come together, sit down with a cuppa, have a chat, and feel more human. It’s as simple as that!

So far there have been handful of online ripple effect mapping workshops and storytelling sessions. In these spaces representatives from different public living rooms have come together to reflect on what impact they’ve had in their local communities. Not only have they shared stories, but they’ve been busy producing Ripple Effect Maps.

What is Ripple Effect Mapping?

Ripple Effect Mapping is a technique that can be used by community organisations to measure and record the different levels of change that have happened as a result of their existence. Rather than focusing on numbers and statistics, REM helps to unpick and document the more qualitative ripples of impact that often occur in smaller scale community initiatives, but can be harder to monitor using quantitative means.

As part of the REM process, people mapped out the different forms of impact their public living rooms had led to. From boosting confidence in those who attended, to connecting people with wider community initiatives, there were endless ripples of impact. After noting these ideas down, people then began to categorize the impact based on individual, community and societal level change (hence the colourful dots you’ll see on the example maps above!) – this process helps people to visualize changes that otherwise would’ve been difficult to document. After the mapping process was complete each person reflected on their map by sharing their thoughts in the form of a story. By the end of the session we’d gained a deeper understanding of the intricacys of the PLRs and what impact they’d had on the communities they existed in.

Take a look at the photos above to get an idea of what a ripple effect map looks like!

From Rochdale, Greater Manchester to Boston, Massachussets, people have shared their experiences with setting up and running these spaces. We hope to share these experiences and findings more widely within the Camerados movement in the hopes of inspiring more public living rooms.

Keep your eyes peeled for updates on the finding of of this project!

You can find out more about the Camerados movement by visiting their website here.