10 Big Stories

Written by: Alison Chandler, Funding & Sustainability Lead Officer, ACVO TSI

Published: 26/10/2015

Alison Chandler reports that momentum is building behind the real life stories of 10 people in Aberdeen.

Alison Chandler reports that momentum is building behind the real life stories of 10 people in Aberdeen.

10Aberdeenstories, the subject of an academic research study by Robert Gordon University, is an initiative from ACVO, the Third Sector Interface for Aberdeen, and arises from the 2014 Big Aberdeen Event.  One story each month is gathered and told via website, e-bulletin and social media using interview, video and art and is refreshed continuously as individuals and organisations engage.

The Big Aberdeen Event engaged 200 Conference delegates and 3,000 members of the public and heard calls from all sectors to address the extreme societal divides in this oil and gas dominated economy.  #10Aberdeenstories captures imagination with the life transitions of people engaging with the local Third Sector and pulls out the issue apparent in the story. It connects to referrers, decision-makers, donors, volunteers, funders – and others experiencing the issues – with the widest range of appropriate action and leadership.

Starting in Dementia Awareness Week in June, the stories so far have focussed on carers/dementia, foodbanks/cancer, relationships/HR, sport/employability and substance abuse/transport.  Stories in the pipeline will feature self-help/veterans, Christmas/early years, learning disability, mobility and cultural diversity.

Each person’s story heads up a 10Aberdeenstories page on the ACVO website as “Bob’s Story”, “Steve’s story” etc. Each individual is found through one Third Sector organisation – “The Storyteller” – who identifies and works with an individual to tell their story with integrity. Some folk are happy to be filmed, photographed and to write their own story. Others have their identity hidden – their names changed, only their voice heard, art used to create an image or their story recorded and transcribed.

From each story, are identified the issues emerging and these are highlighted:

  • Did Steve’s story of unemployment and homelessness after testicular, bowel and stomach cancer change thinking about foodbank users?
  • Did Dave and Cindy’s story prompt you to support employees with relationship issues?
  • What is recovery?

While the main “Storyteller” organisation has space on the page to flag up its services, events, volunteering opportunities etc., the #10Aberdeenstories aims to make multiple varied connections. The page provides space for any organisation to flag up its activity as a “Connector” so that readers, hooked in by the Story, can be provided with the widest variety of opportunities for action – as referrers, partners, donors, sponsors, clients.  Initial “Connectors” including national initiatives are identified by ACVO but opportunity is there for anyone to continuously flag up their funding streams, events, opportunities and “What Happened Next”.

Like everything rolling out from the Big Aberdeen Event, #10Aberdeenstories is provided as a tool for others to use – it will be as dynamic as others make it.  Use the story as a catalyst, create the material which refreshes each story, share it, highlight new issues, react personally, come on board make #10Aberdeenstories work as your story too.

Alison Chandler

Funding & Sustainability Lead Officer


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