Spotlight on Sharing a Story

Posted: 13 February 2023, in Member Spotlight

We’re delighted to be joined for our latest spotlight by Sharing a Story, a social enterprise based in East Lothian that works with people at risk of social isolation. We caught up with Lorna Hill, Creative Director to find out more about the work they do, plans for the new year and tips for other entrepreneurs.

What’s your social and/or environmental mission? 

Sharing A Story is a community interest company in East Lothian working with people at risk of social isolation.  

We run workshops for different community groups using reading and creative writing to improve health and wellbeing. Empowering people, through creative interventions, can build self- confidence and self-esteem. This shared experience offers peer support and a safe space to connect through shared stories.  

How do you do it? (client group, practical daily work, customers etc) 

We collaborate with other organisations and run workshops for their customers. We have worked with organisations including Women’s Aid East and Midlothian, Dementia Friendly East Lothian, East Lothian day centres, Dunbar Dementia Carers Support Group, Stepping Out mental health charity, Heavy Sound CIC and Capital Theatres.  

We also have a creative writing prompts book for sale, Just Write! with all proceeds raised reinvested in the CIC.  

What’s your personal motivation for being a social entrepreneur? 

Sharing stories together as a group can foster social cohesion and we have seen at first-hand the difference these sessions and the magic of words can make to people’s health and well-being. We truly believe that making changes is about making a difference no matter how small.  

What are your current projects? 

Our director, Lorna, has recently finished an amazing project as the first Storyteller in Residence at the Fringe by the Sea festival in North Berwick. She worked with 3 community groups: mental health charity, and .  

This was particularly poignant, as 2022 was Scotland’s Year of Stories, and social isolation in community groups has been particularly exacerbated due to lockdowns. Many of the people in these groups are vulnerable and were adversely affected by the pandemic. Having a positive focus for people to connect again is vital if we are to rebuild our communities.  

The work all the groups produced was moving and inspiring and was exhibited at the festival.  

What exciting things do you have coming up? 

Every Story Matters, funded by the National Lottery Community Fund, launched in the autumn and we have been working with Stepping Out, Women’s Aid East and Midlothian, Heavy Sound CIC, Dunbar Day Centre and Dunbar Dementia Carers Support Group. We have also offered creative writing for wellbeing sessions for creative practitioners working in the community. 

Who do you want to work with more? 

We have been really lucky to have worked with such a broad and diverse range of people.  It is always a privilege to hold a safe space for people and encourage them to be creative. 

Women’s Aid East and Midlothian will always be particularly special to us though as it was Lorna’s bibliotherapy work there, as writer in residence, which inspired her to establish Sharing A Story CIC. She is looking forward to working with the organisation again soon. 

What’s your biggest challenge? 

Finding time to do all the things we want to! Funding can be increasingly competitive and so forward planning can be a constant challenge particularly when juggling the social enterprise with other work and family commitments. 

What top tips would you give to other social enterprises? 

Tap into your network of contacts and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Be clear about what is important to you as a social enterprise. For us it’s about being authentic, taking chances, asking questions, making mistakes and being open to learning. It’s about having integrity, taking the time to be present and really listen to others. 

And remember to take time out for yourself. Self-care is crucial! 

For more information, please visit Sharing a Story’s website. Make sure to follow them on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram to keep updated with their work.

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