Our Version Media – embracing opportunity and uplifting communities

As a social landlord, we’re always looking for opportunities to celebrate our communities, listen to our customers’ views and promote their lived experiences.

Through our ongoing commitment to customer engagement and ensuring customers have a voice, we’re learning so much about how we can improve our services and how we can keep pace with the changing world to meet our customers’ expectations. This includes offering modern ways to engage and giving customers a platform to use their voice by embracing digital solutions to express themselves.

You can read more about how we embed Customer Voice in everything we do here.

When we’re given opportunities to work alongside others who are as equally passionate about giving a greater voice to a wider range of society, we take it with both hands.

That’s why we’ve recently been involved in a project with social business Our Version Media to give customers the tools and techniques to tell their stories and experiences themselves, tackling stigma and breaking down barriers.

Aster Foundation

Earlier in the year our Aster Foundation gained official charity status, paving the way for more chances to work with emerging businesses with the same social heart as us. This is reflected in its mission to enable the better lives of at least 40,000 people by 2030 through our impact programmes and proactive approach to tackling social challenges. Our Version Media is just one of many businesses supported through the Foundation’s inc. programme, a social incubator for emerging entrepreneurs who want to transform the world we live in. 

But inc. isn’t just there to develop businesses. The connections we’re making are allowing us to challenge and tackle more of society’s problems which affect our customers.

From inc. to the Aster Foundation to the wider Group, we share the same purpose, which is to make meaningful social impact that directly helps our customers.

Our Version Media

Our Version Media tackles negative stereotypes and stigmatisation of black and marginalised communities by teaching people digital media skills to tell their own stories.

From storytelling, to filming and recording techniques, participants learn how to present their unique voices and experiences creatively, all while boosting their own confidence.

Southampton-born broadcast journalist, Veronica Gordon founded the community media enterprise in 2019. She set it up after becoming increasingly frustrated with the media’s demonisation of black and marginalised communities, and the harm it was having on people's self-esteem and wellbeing.

We supported a group of social housing customers, to take part in the two-day digital media course that Veronica offers. Participants of Veronica’s courses have described the sense of purpose and belonging they had while taking part in the course and said that they felt less isolated as a result, all issues that our customers tell us impact their lives and wellbeing.

Addressing stigma

Partnerships like this challenge the stigma and assumptions society can make about people who live in social housing. Working with Our Version Media, we’re asking people to question these assumptions that can be hastily made and continue to cause unconscious bias throughout their lives.

We know our customers share similar goals and dreams as others, and that’s to provide a safe and secure home for their family to thrive in.  We’re committed to finding modern ways to break down the negative assumptions within society and show there’s similarities we all share.

I’ve had the privilege to see Veronica in action talking about giving the opportunity back to marginalised communities to make sure they have a voice and skills to represent themselves. Being involved in the project as a mentor has helped me develop and has become a source of deep professional pride and personal satisfaction.

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