Stoke-on-Trent residents are being invited to share their own stories of hardship as part of efforts to raise awareness and bring about change in the City.

The storytelling project ‘Raising Voices, Changing Minds, Ending Poverty’ has been commissioned by VOICES on behalf of Stoke-on-Trent Hardship Commission. (Main image taken at the Get Talking Hardship project which took place before Raising Voices Changing Minds Ending Poverty.)

Working with Staffordshire University, Expert Citizens CIC and All The Small Things CIC, the storytelling project aims to collect and share the experiences of people living in poverty while gaining a deeper understanding of the impacts of policy decisions on families and individuals living locally.

Staffordshire University Associate Professor Nic Gratton explained: “We’re inviting people to submit their stories in a number of ways; as poetry or stories, photographs, videos or podcasts. And we have a number of activity sessions planned in the coming weeks where people will be supported to tell their stories in different creative ways.

“We know that storytelling is a powerful tool. The project aims to share the stories in a social media campaign and an exhibition to raise awareness among decision makers and the wider public and to influence positive change.”

Activity sessions are as follows and anyone wishing to attend can book on by following the link:

This online session will draw on the experience of two local community photographers to share tips and tricks of taking pictures in community places. 

Got a story to tell about the things that have helped you in times of hardship?  This session will give you the platform to chat and collaborate with others to talk about what has helped you, as well as talking about the things that need to happen in the city in order to make things better for people’s wellness. Includes lunch.   

Got a story to tell about Hardship? This session will give you the platform to express your experiences and the things you see in your community in the form of poetry. This session will focus on gaining the skills and tricks to writing poems that can then be used as part of the wider raising voices project, to amplify people’s experiences and stories to make a change to our place.  Includes lunch.

Funded by the National Lottery Community Fund, the Raising Voices project builds on the Get Talking Hardship project carried out in 2019. Commissioned by Stoke-on-Trent Hardship Commission, Get Talking Hardship was community research project which aimed to find out about people’s experience of hardship and poverty in city and what could be done to make life fairer and easier for people.

Raising Voices now plans to amplify the voices of those with lived experience of hardship to create change in Stoke-on-Trent.

The project aims to:

  • Raise Voices of people living with hardship by valuing their stories, supporting their engagement, and involving them as equal partners in addressing hardship in Stoke-on-Trent.
  • Change minds by raising public awareness through a creative and impactful social media campaign. The project will also make information the Hardship Commission already has more accessible and easier to read.
  • End Poverty by creating a clearer picture of the impacts of policy decisions on people’s experiences and sharing impactful stories with decision-makers to influence change.

People are invited to share their thoughts and experiences via the project website or by attending some of the project activity sessions.

To find out more about ‘Raising Voices, Changing Minds, Ending Poverty’ email

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