Thanks to a new pilot project with social housing provider, Aster Group UK, we’ll be helping to show the real stories of people living in social housing.

A 2021 report titled Stigma and Social Housing in England found that “every day in England, people are judged negatively and even actively discriminated against because they rent their home from a social landlord.” Research by the national tenant representative charity, TAROE Trust, also found that the stigmatisation of social housing tenants is one of tenants’ top concerns.

As part of our pilot with Aster, we will be working directly with Aster’s Southampton residents in a bid to challenge those negative perceptions and stigmatisation. We will be providing free digital media workshops to provide the skills to showcase their real lives, using made-by-mobile videos. Our Version Media’s founder, Veronica Gordon, said: “We teach mobile storytelling, which is based on mobile journalism, empowering people to film and edit impactful videos using their smartphone. This is making positive stories and role models more visible, boosting self-esteem, while counteracting negative stereotypes at the same time.”

Our Version Media has been amplifying stories from under-represented communities for close to two years now and, if our pilot is successful, we aim to create mobile storytellers across all of Aster’s communities, which is much of the south of England.

This pilot project has been made possible because of Aster Group’s social incubator, inc.. The programme is delivered by the Aster Foundation, a part of the housing association that invests in projects that aims to improve lives by providing opportunities in local communities. Its aim is to develop businesses with a social purpose such as those tackling homelessness, mental health, financial exclusion, or unemployment.

Applicants from all over the UK applied to be part of the Aster Group’s inc.. Veronica successfully gained a place and is now half-way through the 10-month business development programme, designed to bring her ideas to market and connect with potential partners and investors. The programme draws on the resources and expertise of Aster Group and its people, with mentoring and additional guidance being provided by established social entrepreneurs. It is the first scheme of its kind to be created by a housing association in the UK and is now in its second year.

Cam Kinsella, Aster Foundation director, said: “Social innovation, community and collaboration is at the heart of everything we do. That’s why we created our social incubator, and we are so excited that Our Version Media is part of it. By working with our team of experts and colleagues, we hope that Veronica will be able to take her business to the next level and support our work around diversity and inclusion, and connecting our communities with volunteers, so they have the skills and resources they need to thrive.”