4 charities championing the voices of lived experience

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Many solutions to pressing social issues lie in the communities who experience them. All too often these people simply aren’t given the opportunity to share their expertise

We love the way these organisations have found ways to shine a light on this lived experience.


Scope’s aim to bring equality for disabled people uses every opportunity to feature their lived experience through digital storytelling.

Their voices speak via campaign and community areas, and a whole section dedicated to compelling real-life stories – vital platforms when half of disabled people feel excluded from society.

Lived experience is at the fore of Scope’s Disability Gamechanger campaign to end inequality and unfairness, stressing the importance of digital and assistive technology.


(image by Scope)

“My impairment left me feeling like I was on a deserted island but technology helped me feel at home” – Ajay, Scope’s Service Desk Team Lead Analyst.

Its Real Life Stories section allows people to take good advantage of topical headlines , such as Guide Dogs speaker Amit Patel posting during the recent heatwave offering advice on looking after working and service dogs in extreme heat.

Scope’s community team invites disabled bloggers, professionals and people with a story to tell to write guest blogs to share key issues in its online disability forum.

Rethink Mental Illness

The charity gets across its goal of a better life for everyone affected by mental illness through moving and sometimes challenging stories from exactly those people.

Hannah’s Story tells of the sudden and shocking unexpected changes to her life as a nurse and that of her family. Personal details like her account of the death of a childhood friend, bring this alive in a way that anonymised ‘Service User’ accounts never can.

“I was given no support or comfort, I was simply informed of what had happened … I remember wishing that it was me that had died and she lived, because at least I’d go to heaven. My brain just couldn’t cope …”

Expert Citizens


(image by Expert Citizens)

We love this group’s description of themselves as ‘ambassadors of lived experience’.

Expert Citizens use their voice to raise awareness of the combination of living with multiple and complex needs such as homelessness and addition, to reduce stigma, and challenge stereotypes. They also encourage decision-makers to listen, learn, and change systems in local services for the better.

Sour Lemons

This zesty charity addresses lack of social mobility and diversity leadership in the creative industries.

Founder Sade Brown wanted to create more opportunities for young leaders from similar backgrounds to her to get ahead in life and use their lived experiences to affect change.

She says, “We want our young leaders sitting at the decision-making table.

The diversity of the group means they can consult on a wide range of things from apprenticeship and training, to youth outreach strategies and social media plans.”


Do you want to hear stories of inspirational individuals which will spark conversations, challenge perceptions and stimulate ideas?

Being the Story – Friday 19th October 2018 puts a spotlight on challenging social issues through storytelling and performance.  Be part of the conversation at a TED Talks-style event for people and organisations committed to social justice and who want to hear from people with first-hand experience of issues that need to be addressed. 

Being the Story gives a platform to people who might not normally have one, to challenge narratives, offer solutions, provoke discussion and conversations. 

The event is curated by sounddelivery – our mission is to champion stories that need telling. We amplify the voices of people with lived experience of a wide range of social issues – so they can be part of conversations which so often exclude them. 

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Karen Hart is a media expert with over 35 years of experience in news and communications in government, culture, heritage, charities and higher education. Highly experienced in leading successful crisis communications, influencing and inspiring action, and identifying potential for positive outcomes, she is skilled at building confidence for senior staff to master digital engagement. She had sole responsibility for all home and international media aspects for HM The Queen's 90th Birthday Service at St Paul's Cathedral. A qualified journalist with an MA in Public Communications, she has set up and managed press office teams at the Home Office, Metropolitan Police Service and City University. She brings extensive strategic vision to charities and community initiatives, from large-scale national campaigns at Time to Change to local sustainable food for a deprived inner city area.