Skip to Main Content

What’s great about resident’s stories?

Gathering stories from residents taking part in Big Local projects and activities can be a great way to identify the good things that are happening in your community. It can also reveal changes that cannot be seen in other ways such as counting numbers taking part or local statistics. Collecting stories from different residents in a community can be a really moving way of documenting a period of time in the life of a community and people may feel much more comfortable to share experiences with those who are part of the same neighbourhood or community. The stories you gather can then be a powerful tool to help you understand the changes that have happened because of Big Local funding and are a great way to attract funding for projects beyond the Big Local programme.

Here are some helpful tips to support someone to tell their story:

  1. It’s really important to go through the reasons for collecting their story with the person you are speaking to, and let them know how it will be recorded, and how that information will be stored and shared, such as in a quote on the website, for a case study in a funding bid. You can do this through a one-page agreement document or consent form.
  2. Remind people they can end the conversation at any time if they no longer feel comfortable and that if they do this you will also delete any notes or recordings of their story.
  3. Begin the conversation with some light small talk, try to find something you both have in common or share something small about yourself that can spark further conversation and help the person feel at ease.
  4. Have a welcoming body language with good eye contact.
  5. Show that you are listening with a nod or smile, practice active listening and encouragement. The willingness to listen and engage are good ways of supporting a resident to open up.

We have a Local Trust workplace group which is a space for partnership members to ask any questions on ways to measure and understand Big Local change or to post useful resources. It would be great to hear about ways in which you’ve gathered stories from your community.