Earlier this month we delivered the ‘Co-creating (Public) services with stories of lived experiences’ symposium as part of the first annual Institute of Community Reporters’ conference… and what a blast it was!

Contributions on the day came from lived experience experts, policy advisors, volunteers, researchers and academics, public service workers and management, NGO workers from the housing, voluntary, asylum and refugee support sectors, co-creation facilitators and health and social care professionals. The programme began by celebrating our work and the storytelling movement we began in 2007. This session explored how the Community Reporting method could support people to use lived experiences to create effective social change. Members of TLAP and NCAG then presented their ‘Making It Real‘ framework, and summarised how gathering stories of lived experiences fed into this work. They highlighted how authenticity was key and how it was important that not just positive stories and experiences were given a platform. 

Discussions about storytelling for impact then progressed onto a session led by the Our Voices partnership, who shared with the attendees some of the project’s best practice models around story curation. The Digital Curator Toolkit is a great resource to start with! The attendees did some basic story curation tasks and got to grips with how to analyse people’s stories.

Plenty of discussions were then had around how to mobilise local voices to create policy ideas. As part of this session, the VOICITY’s project presented some of the learning they had garnered on their research into diverse communities in Berlin, Budapest, Salford and Sassari. You can take a look at the Community Reporter research report here. As part of this session, attendees discusses topics such as equity, integration, inclusion and voice.

The CoSIE partners concluded the symposium’s sessions with a collaborative key note and audience dialogue. Individuals from the project presented a number of ideas and concepts to do with the co-creation of public services, initiating discussions around the challenges of co-creation, reflections of co-creation in practice, change barriers and the politics of deep listening, young people’s voice & child protection in Finland and much more.

If this has sparked your interest in working with the knowledge of lived experience to support and enhance service development, you might be interested in attending our CPD workshop: From Consultation to Co-Creation Working Effectively with Lived Experiences. This 1-Day Continued Professional Development workshop will help you develop your knowledge, skills and expertise in how to address the challenges of working with the knowledge of lived experience, tying it in to co-creative processes and bottom-up change structures. Book now as places are limited!


Working with partners in Hungary as part of the CoSIE project – a 3-year programme of work that looks at the co-creation of public services across Europe – the People’s Voice Media team have been using Community Reporting techniques to support people living in rural areas of the country to share their stories.

In the CoSIE project, 9 pilots are taking place to test out different co-creation methods in different public services and the Hungarian pilot aims to revive forgotten culture of household economy, horticulture and livestock farming on disadvantaged rural areas. The pilot seeks to strengthen the local families (and community) to develop their role in the local economy and enhance the local families’ awareness, self-respect and self-subsistence. As part of the pilot, families will be supported to design and implement their own household economy plans with equipment, mentoring and coordination. The pilot will also prepare the local actors (mayors, coordinators) for mobilizing the household economies.

Earlier this year, two of our trainers from Budapest went to Solznok to work with families and coordinators involved in the pilot to train them as Community Reporters and capture their stories of the pilot so far. Whilst people were initially a little sceptical about this method and thought they were going to be attending a “boring lecture”, their feedback at the end couldn’t have been more different! They connected to the ethos of Community Reporting and valued the time and space it gave them to share their ideas and experiences with one another. The group have set-up a closed Facebook group to share their stories for peer review with one another, and they’ve posted some initial stories on the Community Reporter website – you can have a look at some of them here!

The best news is that the group have asked for more! So the team will be back in Solznok in September doing some skills recapping and also teaching some new technical capacities such as video editing. We’ll give you an update on how the work progresses later in the year.


Wednesday 9th October 2019
10:00am – 4:30pm
Ziferblat, 23 Edge St, Manchester M4 1HW

£175.00 per person (lunch and refreshments included) / Limited places

Looking for alternative methods to tackle ‘wicked’ or multifaceted problems?

Looking for tools to support decision-making in complex environments?

Looking to start or enhance you work with experiential knowledge and data?

Then this workshop is for you… book now!

People’s lived experiences are becoming increasingly important in decision-making processes. They are instrumental to creating new ideas, ways of doing things and ultimately bringing about social change. Within this context, concepts such as ‘co-design’, ‘co-production’ and ‘co-creation’ are becoming more mainstream within a range of public and third sector support services, and are firmly on the agenda of local and national Governments and commissioners. It is therefore important that those working in these fields understand the value of lived experience as a knowledge base and how it can be practically used to inform practiceinfluence policy and initiate change in meaningful ways.

This 1-Day Continued Professional Development workshop will help you develop your knowledge, skills and expertise in how to addresses the challenges of working with the knowledge of lived experience, tying it in to co-creative processes and bottom-up change structures. Through a mixture of practical tasks, case studies and presentations, discussions and one-to-one facilitator time, you will get to grips with such concepts and approaches can be better utilised in your role and organisation. As part of this workshop you will:

  • Explore different types of lived experience and identify how they can be gathered and used at to create impact at individual, organisational and systemic levels
  • Assess the challenges and opportunities to working with the knowledge of lived experience and examine how barriers to implementation can be overcome 
  • Create a bespoke plan for working with the knowledge of lived experience in your role and organisation, and develop your ideas using peer support and critical-thinking approaches 

This workshop is perfect for team, middle and strategic management professionalsworking in sectors such as health and social care, education, community development and infrastructure support and public services who want to understand how to better use lived experience as a tool for quality, service or organisation development. 

The workshop has a limited number of places to ensure quality of experience. Book now! 

About People’s Voice Media

People’s Voice Media is a charity and social enterprise established in 1995 with an extensive history in creating social change from the ground-up. With our digital storytelling methodology – Community Reporting – we support people, groups and organisations to use experiential knowledge and insights from people’s stories to inform change at individual, organisational and systemic levels. Working on a range of local, national and pan-European projects, we have led and innovatated in using lived experience in research projects, service co-creation, community development initiatives and much more.

Dr. Hayley Trowbridge has played a core role in developing and applying our methodology and practice in these arenas over the last few years and will be the lead facilitator on this workshop. With over a decade of experience in creative, education, community development and research sectors, Hayley has a diverse skillset and experience of working with different stakeholders and institutional contexts to apply participatory practices and use experiential knowledge to inform change processes. She currently leads our work on the CoSIE project–  a pan-European applied research study that looks at co-creation practices across Europe, as well as embedding Community Reporting as part of evaluation processes, the co-designing of strategies and service improvement projects at a local and national level with the UK. 


People’s Voice Media is a value driven charity and social enterprise committed to bringing about social change from the ground-up. We do this through using Community Reporting to support people to use digital tools to tell their own stories, in their own ways. We connect the insights in these stories with decision and change makers to help people change their own world, and the world around them. Our work is across the UK and Europe.

As we grow our storytelling movement, we are looking to recruit a temporary Project Worker (Training & Delivery) for 3 months (Jul/Aug start) for 2-days per week (£25,500 pro rota). We’re looking for an aspiring leader with strong facilitation and interpersonal skills to plan, design and deliver workshops for a range of participants. You’ll have the ability to work across different projects, be able to manage your time effectively and keep a keen eye on the details. You’ll collaborate with the team and partners effectively, whilst also being able to work autonomously and take on responsibility.

We need someone who understands and lives out our core values and vision to use lived experience as a tool for social change. You’ll largely work remotely, with travel across the UK and Europe and occasional office days in Salford. There is the opportunity for this role to expand and grow with the organisation, so we want someone with the right personal qualities, vision and expertise to join us on our journey.


To apply, send us a little bit of information about you and what you’d bring to the role via text, audio or video by 13thJune to Hayley on We’ll then invite some people to meet us and take part in some team-working activities on 21st June in Liverpool. Looking forward to hearing from you!


Last week we were back with the CoSIE Horizon2020 project in Valencia, Spain working with entrepreneurs to support them to tell their stories using Community Reporting methodologies.

Over two days, a group of 7 entrepreneurs joined us to explore how video storytelling techniques could help them communicate to others how they became entrepreneurs, what motivates them, what challenges they’ve encountered on the way and how they’ve overcome these, and what successes they have had. As part of the training, the entrepreneurs got to grips with video recording techniques, using them to capture short snapshot stories about their experiences as part of the Spanish pilot – the Co-Crea-Te co-working and mentoring space. They then used storyboards and mind maps to pull together their ideas about their entrepreneur journeys, before bring these ideas to life on video and with photographs. They then used basic editing skills to combine them together in to short films.

Their stories shed light on important issues about co-creation and entrepreneurship such as how people came to their ‘a-ha moments’, the value of mentoring and coaching, how to make the best use of your talents and interests, how to build effective networks and much more. There stories will be appearing on the Community Reporter website soon… so watch this space!