GG talks about their experience attending the first face-to-face reporter meeting since this project was launched. For the first time many of us got to meet each other and the energy was incredible. This is just the beginning for the next stage in Groundswell’s community journalism project, ‘Listen Up!’.
So we had our first face-to-face reporter meeting. Many people travelled far and wide: Manchester, Newcastle, Winchester… I used my Freedom Pass (I have a disability, I’m not an OAP 😊 yet) and took the 159 from my estate in Brixton 10 minutes up the road to the Oval.
The new building [Groundswell’s office] is super swanky and I felt like I was someone else as I walked up. I saw a group ‘lurking’ outside (joke) and asked if they were reporters as I thought I recognised some from our previous video meetings.
We all hugged, shook hands and walked in together. It was a great start, as always we are stronger together. We all settled into the booked room dealing with the weird feeling we were experiencing. Despite working together online over the last year this was our first real meeting.
Because of my disability and past trauma some of my senses are super heightened and I loved the smells of perfume, shower gel and even cigarettes because it made everyone real. I loved seeing the details to each persons outfits, the clothes, jewellery, choice and style of bags. Each reporter was unique, special and fabulous. Each reporter had a multitude of lived experience.
I felt like I was part of something important, something bigger than just me, something that has huge potential to use our voices to effect and change in systems. If nothing else we are starting to challenge and smash tired stereotypes.
We spent the day doing a mixture of workshops and sharing ideas. I felt like I was with old friends and I felt intelligent and useful, not a feeling I often carry, having been classified by the Government as something different.
There was thoughtful details provided by the management: fresh orange juice and gourmet sandwiches, not the usual pot noodle from the food bank. I sat upright in my chair thinking ‘if my children could see mum now, how proud they would be’.
I’m GG, reporter for Listen Up!, nice to meet you. At the end of day we all said our final goodbyes, some heading to the tube, some staying in London overnight. I thanked everyone and said what a great day it had been. As I walked off with a spring in my step Charlie called out “you’re fabulous”. I said “you too”.
What love and power of uplifting words from a fellow reporter who I deeply respect. I’m GG, reporter for Listen Up! and I’m fabulous.
Join us: We see the the hub as the start of a movement of people, all united in the belief that elevating our voices will challenge stereotypes and help decision makers end homeless health inequalities. Join us by signing up to our mailing list – the Listen Up! mail out.