https://committeesengagement.blog.parliament.uk/2016/10/31/personal-stories/

Using personal stories to form connections with Select Committee inquiries

Inquiries, evidence, sessions, hearings, reports – it can be difficult to build an emotional connection with the nuts and bolts of Select Committee work. This presents a problem for social media engagement.

That’s because social media is, as the name suggests, social: it’s about people.

But behind all the terminology, so are Select Committee inquiries. They often directly affect people’s lives. Telling these stories not only shows how inquiries impact on day-to-day life, but also offers an accessible route into Select Committee work. Here’s how we’ve been doing it so far.

 

Voices of the people directly affected

Issues often hit home the hardest when they’re coming from the people directly effected. Seth, for example, had been homeless himself, and in the video we captured of him he powerfully conveys the catch-22 you can fall into.

Making contact through charities

We met Seth through St. Mungo’s, who put us in touch with a group of people who had direct experience of homelessness. Charities often know the best people to talk to, and provide guidance and introductions. St. Mungo’s also helped us speak to Claire about her experiences of Homelessness:

Explaining the topic

Shelter put us in touch with Louise, who was able to explain her experience of ‘hidden homelessness’ – a less known issue, but a big part of CLG’s inquiry. This helped us to communicate the fact that sleeping rough is not the only type of homelessness.

 

Voices of professionals working in the field

Some inquiries lend themselves better to tapping into the passion and enthusiasm of professionals. This was the case with the CLG inquiry into parks, where Theresa, a park manager, spoke about her experience of children playing in wildlife.

Rather than using a statistic, Theresa's passion conveys just how important parks are to communities.

Drawing out these human stories can be the difference between someone's eyes glazing over, and them feeling a personal connection with an inquiry. That connection can initiate someone's interest, and ultimately their support, of an inquiry and its recommendations.

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