Voices of Experience
Storytelling is a fundamental part of the growing voice of care experience in Scotland. As human beings, we make sense of the world through stories. And in order to capture the public imagination and secure backing for the changes that are needed, we need to tell a compelling story. There has been a clear level of success regarding the use of personal stories and experiences to raise awareness of current challenges, particularly through the Independent Care Review and subsequent publication of The Promise. It is vital that people with experience of care are central to the movement to build support for progressive policies and to positively shift public attitudes. We know that, when we get this right, it will improve the lives of people with care experience now and in future.
Each and Every Child has brought together a group of paid consultants with different experience of care to explore the framing recommendations. The members of the group are:
Oisín King, Roseanna Campbell, Jimmy Paul, Denisha Killoh, James Doherty and Chelbi Hillan.
Each member brings their unique personal and professional experiences. The group are working together to co-design knowledge sharing sessions for people with lived experience of care and support staff to explore how framing techniques can be used to change public attitudes. The group have also been looking at how to build support in the wider sector for embedding the framing techniques – and how we can all best support our colleagues and the wider community drive forward this change.
This work is supported by the Each and Every Child staff team and Tamsyn Hyatt from FrameWorks UK. We will share the development of this work, including blogs and materials, on this page. Make sure you sign up to our mailing list at the bottom of this page to keep informed of all developments.
Update – September 2021
Since the first meeting of the Each and Every Child Voices of Experience reference group in May, there have been many robust discussions. Discussions around what the research tells us – and how we can use the key recommendations in ways that ensure we do not lose our individual agency and the power of our personal experience when sharing our stories. We have shared experiences of times when we felt disempowered through sharing our stories and times when we felt we had made real differences to people’s understanding of care experience and how to improve the lives of our children and young people.
Over the past few months, we’ve focused on dissecting our existing training materials. What were the most effective; what should we include in sessions and, how to unpack the research into a practical understanding of how we can use our power as communicators to encourage people to understand the wider context of care experience. One of key decisions of the group was to include a film of interviews taken from the streets of Scotland. It was felt that this was helpful to show the common assumptions people have when they think about care experience – because when we truly understand the challenges, we are facing we are better equipped to change understanding through how we present information. This has now been rolled out across all our awareness raising sessions currently being delivered across the sector.
We have worked our way through each recommendation within the toolkit, both as a group and in pairs, using the knowledge and expertise individual members to explore more effective ways to communicate framing in practice. For example, we discussed different ways of using the metaphors to suit our own style and experience. By building on the strong metaphor of scaffolding we used it in different contexts, depending on what piece of support we wanted to focus on and how could we use that to influence change. For example, when talking about supports needed at different stages, ‘you would never remove scaffolding from a building that needs it, so why would you remove support from a person that needs it’. By sharing our different experiences, we were able to develop more tangible examples to include in the knowledge building sessions that would develop people’s understanding of care experience in a wider context
Voices of Experience is very much a work in progress, we are developing new ways to share the learning from the research. There are many profound moments in the sessions: “As a society we’ve forgotten we belong to each other”, “You don’t always have to talk about your own experience, but you can talk with passion and knowledge” but also many laughs – who knew calling a bounty a favourite chocolate bar could provoke such a negative response in so many! The process is challenging, inspiring and at times messy. As we continue along this period of co-design, we learn and grow as individuals, informing all elements of the Each and Every Child Initiative