People’s Voice Media

| Azad Sharma

At the beginning of the year we went to a meeting hosted by Think Local Act Personal where we discussed the role of evidence for supporting community based approaches to health and care. We also talked about storytelling as a form of evidence. At the meeting we particularly enjoyed a presentation from Gary Copitch, CEO of People’s Voice Media, a social enterprise based in Salford, which specialises in storytelling.

We love organisations like People’s Voice Media because their work challenges the way we think about listening to people. For April, our Idea of the Month is ‘work hard at listening with intent to understand, not reply’, so listening and stories are very much on our minds at the minute.

Who are People’s Voice Media?

People’s Voice Media (PVM) was founded in 1995. They empower people to tell their own stories to better influence and inform public policy. They specialise in ‘gathering the voices and stories of people’s lived experience in order to challenge perceptions about people’s lives and support people to describe their own reality’.  They provide a platform for marginalised groups and local residents to make their voice heard. PVM also hosts regular ‘Conversation of Change’ events and support qualitative research.  This is a great way to give important insights ‘into the services, products, and policies that impact many thousands of individuals.’

In 2007, PVM launched their flagship Community Reporter programme which trained local residents to capture stories. By 2011, they created a ‘social license model’  which encouraged others to replicate and reproduce the programme. By 2012, the programme evolved into the Institute of Community Reporters (ICR), which acts as a representative body for trained community reporters across the UK and Europe.

What do they do?

PVM and the ICR specialise in digital inclusion, community information, and ICT training skills. They provide ‘soft skills’  training such as ‘improved communication, confidence and interview skills’. They have created their own unique methodology called ‘TiPPS.’  This focuses their training in ‘photography, podcasting, blogging and film making using technology-in-the-pocket devices’ – our mobile phones.  TiPPS stands for:

  • Teach skills through collaborative working
  • Practice skills in the real world
  • Peer review to develop skills and knowledge and provide reflective practice
  • Share the skills and knowledge with others

What’s great is that PVM achieved national recognition in 2013 when they were listed as one of the top 50 digital leaders of the UK. They are a pretty far reaching enterprise too and have a network of over 36 organisations, including NGOs, Universities, Service led user groups, and local authorities across 10 different countries.

Here’s an example of their work

In celebration of the 70th anniversary of the NHS, PVM and the ICR teamed up with Gorsehill Studios and the University of Manchester to gather stories about the NHS in Bridgend, Wales and Trafford, England. 14-25 year olds were engaged in a two day programmes exploring various methods of storytelling. This included shapshot videos and dialogue interviewing with the use of every-day equipment. The young storytellers made short films for each of the ‘key messages and topics’  they found. You can watch all the videos they produced here.

To find out more about People’s Voice Media and the Institute of Community Reporters, check out their Twitter @peoplesvoice@commreporter and Facebook feeds or hear from Gary Copitch and local residents in the video below.

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo

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