I care so deeply about transforming the public narrative and positively shifting public attitudes towards care that it was a no-brainer for me to be involved in the fantastic Voices of Experience group. I love the idea that we can use simple but powerful reframing techniques to positively influence public attitudes towards people with care experience and the system.
We know that through storytelling, conversations have been created and policies have been changed. The work of Each and Every Child will ensure that the storyteller is safe and has the support that they need around them. This work is so important because all those with experience of care should be able to tell stories whilst being in control, and, whilst feeling totally safe.
For the past 4 years, I have been campaigning to improve the experiences of each and every child in Scotland, with a focus on those in state care. Through telling my story, I learned not to be ashamed of my experiences but to be proud. To own them. On occasions, however, I have been in stressful situations, telling my story in a certain way to try to support change within the system. Afterwards I felt used and unworthy, as though my story and experiences meant nothing. I didn’t want politicians’ sympathy or pity, I wanted action.
I knew by being involved with this work that I would learn so much from the other members of the group and the hosts. With the members of the group coming from different experiences of care, I learned of their perspectives of the type of care they experienced.
I have found the process of the group challenging and stimulating. There were some things I already knew but I still didn’t like to hear; I found myself getting frustrated at some stages of the work. The members were shown a video about what the public’s thoughts and opinion were towards those with lived experience of the care system, some of the responses were shocking, yet nothing I hadn’t heard before, but my passion to find new and different ways to frame, in support of change, was a constant. The work was so informative and ambitious, and I can’t wait for it to be delivered across the nation!
The work that the Voices of Experience group has done ensures that every person is enabled to tell their story how they want to tell it, safely and without the influence of others. People should feel empowered, motivational and have a massive sense of achievement that you have helped people.