We ran a free workshop in September for people with lived experience of disabilities. The aim of the workshop was to teach people how to tell their stories most effectively.
The storytelling workshops are a part of a larger programme that we’re creating. The larger programme is designed to help more people with disabilities make change in their own lives. To do that, we need to gather examples of people with disabilities living their life the way they want to. This is so that people can see what might be possible, and begin to imagine having more choice and control in their own lives.
The workshop was open to people with disabilities who have created a positive change in their own lives. It might be that they’d changed where they live, or how they live, or that they’ve taken control over a part of their life that they had no control over before.
We shared the most essential things to consider when planning, creating and delivering your story in the first workshop. We then gave people an opportunity to return for a second workshop to practice telling their story.
The impact of the workshop
We’re delighted to report that 100% of participants told us that they felt more confident about telling their story after attending the first workshop. Feedback from the first session was overwhelmingly positive with participants saying:
“It was honestly one of the best workshops I’ve been on in quite a while. The pace was spot on, I liked how the content was split between the different facilitators so we heard a mixture of voices, the slides were engaging and easy to process, and it felt like we went on a journey, that flowed, from start to finish.”
“The tips and tools that you gave were really clear and I haven’t heard it explained like that before.”
“I know that everything that I learnt from you all yesterday will give me the confidence to tell my story in a much more powerful and concise way, to hopefully make more of an impact through the messages I’d like to share.“
“I have a much better understanding of how to prepare to write my story and the importance of taking that times, the questions to think about, and the most impactful way to structure it.”
84% of participants chose to come back to the second session to practice telling their stories in small groups and to share and receive feedback.
Who are we?
We are a small group of people who’ve come together because of a shared commitment. We want to see more people with disabilities having the same opportunities in life as people without disabilities. There are four of us from different parts of the world and with a range of life experiences. It is our common values and drive that have brought us together.
Individually, we are Robyn Chappell and Rita Brewis from peoplehub, Carol Blessing from Cornell University and Niki Stevenson from Facilitation Leadership Group.
Robyn is leading our work and has lived experience of disability. She sustained a spinal cord injury in 2006 and has needed 24 hour care since. Finding ways to have choice and control over who provides her care, and how her care is provided, transformed her life. She is driven by a strong dedication to inclusivity and is passionate about the difference that having choice and control can make in people’s lives, as it has her own. Robyn has worked in co-production for many years with a range of organisations. She has contributed to national health and care policies and guidance, working and governance groups, workshops and training sessions and has presented at events both around the UK and internationally. Robyn joined peoplehub as a Director in early 2020.
Rita has a life-long commitment to improving support across health and social care. At the heart of her work is the pivotal contribution of individuals and their families, integrated with the perspectives of professionals and commissioners. Her approach is to encourage developments which focus on the whole person in their social context – working with people’s strengths and skills as well as addressing health or care needs. She has worked independently, and within Local Authority, Voluntary Sector and Health Service settings; including as a Director of Mental Health Commissioning, Senior Service Development Consultant and as an Approved Social Worker. Rita co-founded peoplehub in 2012 and remains a Director.
Carol is a Master Social Worker with over 30 years in the field of disability services in both direct practice and management capacities. In 2000, she joined the faculty at the Yang-Tan Institute on Employment and Disability in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University, where she leads system’s impact projects aimed at supporting the full inclusion of people with disabilities to be recognized and respected as contributing citizens in typical community life. Recognizing that disability is part of the human condition is at the heart of the Yang-Tan Institute’s work. Additionally, Carol is the North American coordinator for Citizen Network International – a global movement dedicated to rights based social policy.
Niki maintains a strong commitment to people’s self-determination and the right of everyone to live a life of full contribution and citizenship in their community. Her Masters of Social Work led her into long-term involvement in developmental services and independent living. She has worked extensively in assisting people to create alternative living options, as well as employment, volunteering and community engagement opportunities. After more than 20 years at a developmental service agency in Ontario, Canada, she currently runs Facilitation Leadership Group which provides training, mentoring and consultation for independent facilitators, people with lived experience of disability, families and community groups. She is also a learning partner of Citizen Centered Leadership Development with Carol Blessing.
Further workshops and opportunities
If you’re interested in taking part in any further storytelling workshops that we run, please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be sure to let you know about upcoming opportunities.
If you’re a provider organisation looking to learn about storytelling, or training for the people you work with, do get in touch and we can chat further about how we can work with you and/or your organisation.