Listen Share Change, a Verbal project in partnership with Northern Ireland Housing Executive, begins its second year cohort of groups across Northern Ireland taking part in shared reading and conversation sessions.

The programme is funded by SEUPB’s Peace IV fund and runs from August 2018 to August 2022, representing over £1.4m investment to work with estate-based communities across Northern Ireland.

As we move into the second year of the project, we have worked with over 45 communities, 350 participants and 60 volunteers.

The project is called Listen Share Change for a reason. We see it as an acknowledgement of the important stories each community has to tell and a call to action to come together and share them. We engage the audience with our shared reading aloud model of short stories and poems. Our facilitated conversations help people to share through the narrative and characters.

Our hope is that through increased contact we will prompt change in communities to gain better understanding, empathy and resilience.

 

Case Study

The Short Strand Community Forum and The Diamond Project began the project with shared reading sessions in their own groups, before coming together after the initial six weeks. The volunteers are active in both communities and have built up excellent trust and rapport with `participants. The groups have been meeting on a cross-community basis for shared reading sessions each week since the start of 2019.

The Diamond Project volunteer was supported by Verbal and NIHE to host a cross-community showcase earlier this year in March, bringing groups from Monkstown and Whiteabbey into Belfast to see how Listen Share Change works. The groups that attended have been successfully engaged to take part in the programme in future cohorts.

Image: Listen Share Change Neighbourhood Champion for The Diamond Project, Karlene McCann

Get Involved

We believe this project will have the most sustainable and meaningful impact if we engage with the widest range of participant groups we possibly can.

We can arrange to deliver information and taster sessions to groups who are interested in finding out more. Our activity is flexible – groups can fit the reading and conversation in with their existing activities and we can adapt the frequency and duration of sessions to meet their needs.

If you would like to find out more about how you and your community group can get involved in Listen Share Change, please contact Project Manager Andy Warmington at [email protected]