#ShiftThePower

The Kind Place Podcast

Project

What is it to be lonely? How does it happen and what can be done to tackle it?

Around 9 million British adults feel alone and 1 in 5 people in the UK say they often or always feel lonely. The pandemic has only made this worse. Still, you don’t always spot when feelings of loneliness are creeping in and, for many, how this looks and feels can be incredibly different. 

To better understand and support this mounting issue, together with the British Red Cross and the people experiencing it we co-created The Kind Place podcast, using the power of storytelling to share insight that can help services and society bring people together and combat loneliness.

Process

In partnership with the British Red Cross, we embarked on a critical storytelling project around loneliness in the UK, bringing people together to share their experiences of loneliness and how they’re getting through it. To better understand what it meant to be lonely – how it comes about and how it feels – we carried out a series of workshops and wrote on virtual whiteboards with the people experiencing it. 

From young people working through the refugee and asylum process to elderly people from the north of the country, we asked them what it meant to be lonely, what can be done to tackle it and what they would say to the Minister of Loneliness. This was all done through a ‘Crazy 8’ sprint – a method where you ask a group to sketch or jot down eight quick ideas each in eight minutes. As they presented their top three ideas and voted as a group on their favourite, this then inspired the themes that would shape the rest of the project.

 

Image of the 'Crazy 8' session

Jumping on to Zoom, everyone participating was invited to virtually write all over the shared online whiteboard and add stamps and hearts to the ideas that resonated with them. As they each shared stories around decreased motivation, the ambiguous loss of a home country and how tech isn’t a replacement for face-to-face contact, from this, we set up the loneliness line which was advertised across social media channels. Here we invited members of the public to get in touch and join the conversation by sharing their own experiences, where it became increasingly clear that meaningful conversation itself was a powerful tool for overcoming loneliness, which helped shape the format of a podcast.

Together, we decided to pair up individuals who had never met before but who were connected by a shared life experience – from motherhood, the asylum process, homelessness, being transgender, loss and mental health – to join a Zoom conversation for an unscripted conversation which we recorded. Everyone was supported through the process as we helped them think through their own stories and also made sure they felt safe, confident and happy to share this with someone else.

Impact

Across the 6 episodes, The Kind Place podcast explores the asylum system, grief, different attitudes towards masculinity, the connection between motherhood and loneliness, the positive and negative impacts and the importance of memories and looking forward. It takes raw and open conversations recorded remotely (sometimes via unreliable connections!) and edits them into beautifully crafted pieces of audio that takes an audience on a journey through each episode.

Listen to the full series here.

At Radar, one of the most important elements of our work is closing the feedback loop and continuing to work with participants long after they have shared their stories. To do this, we stayed in touch with those who took part to ensure that they had a copy of the series. For Carol, one of our older storytellers, this meant literally burning three old school CDs so she could listen back on her stereo.

We also made sure that those who wanted to, had each other’s contact details and we know that several of the group have stayed in touch during the time since the podcast was released. Those personal connections, helping to overcome loneliness on a personal level, were just as important as the wider impacts of the project. 

By bringing people together as they shared their stories, this series showed the potential to combat loneliness – for both the storytellers and the audience listening – creating a better sense of understanding, support and, importantly, friendship. 

We are so delighted to see The Kind Place podcast shortlisted in the ‘Best example of collaboration with an external supplier’ category, as part of the Inside Out Awards.

Partners

The British Red Cross

Links

Listen to The Kind Place podcast