For anyone who thought that Community Reporting was all about cake sales and community causes, think again.

There is a breadth of content on this site that illustrates the power of self-reflection as a way to connect with another ‘community’ - a community of people experiencing the same issues and problems as you. This approach to Community Reporting also offers the ‘teller’ of the story a valuable catharsis, something that comes into its own when facing frustration or disappointment at the hands of a bewildering  or frustrating ‘system’ (yes, I’m looking at you call-centres, NHS, Job Centre Plus… name but a few!).

But the scope extends beyond personal benefit and can reach into the realm of the political. IPPR – a UK think tank – have used Community Reporters to harvest stories about life in the UK. This listening exercise has been part of an extensive programme of research to assess the state of the nation in a ‘post-crash Britain’, with an interim report published December 2013.

The report offers fascinating insight into our perceptions and experiences of life in the UK right now, assessing issues such as opportunities for the young, attitudes to benefits and caring responsibilities.

We are so proud of what our Community Reporters achieved as part of this project, and the degree to which they were able to encourage people to share. The insights undoubtedly offer depth and context to the research conducted by IPPR.

But it’s also invaluable to have this collection of stories gathered here – with other stories and self-reflections from Community Reporters – as I think it is in these stories and spaces that we feel the greatest degree of connection with other people.

There is such strength in sharing, taking the risk to be vulnerable and expose our own fears or worries, and each of these stories below offers the viewer a gift of some sort. Whether it’s a story of caring for a Dad with dementia who gets in trouble with the police for stealing a yoghurt, or someone talking about the pain of witnessing their mother diminish before her eyes, it is a privilege to have been invited to share in these experiences. After all, by remembering what we have in common is often where we feel most human.

To read the Condition of Britain interim reporter visit here

For a beautiful short animation explaining the power of empathy, visit here:

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