Southampton entrepreneur hopes to share the voice of people living in social housing – one story at a time
A Southampton entrepreneur is hoping her work to tackle negative stereotypes and shine a spotlight on the real stories of black and marginalised communities in the south, will reach more people after successfully becoming part of the Aster Group social incubator, inc.
Broadcast journalist and community activist, Veronica Gordon who lives in Southampton, formed her social enterprise, Our Version Media CIC to increase positive and authentic representation of black and marginalised communities by equipping people with digital media skills to tell their own stories.
Veronica 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.
“Day-to-day I see some of the most beautiful human aspects of my hometown – the love, friendships, vibrancy, cultures, resilience, and the way communities come together to change their neighbourhoods for the better. That isn’t often reflected in the stories we see around us. I want to help communities to tell those stories and being part of the inc. programme will help amplify Our Version Media’s impact and reach more people.”
Applicants from all over the UK applied to be part of the Aster Group inc. programme 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, unemployment, and the economic recovery from COVID-19.
Veronica is half way through the inc. 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.”
Veronica will be working with Aster customers to challenge negative perceptions of people who live in social housing. She will be teaching ‘Mobile Storytelling’ skills so they can create made-by-mobile videos that showcase their real lives. Veronica aims to create mobile storytellers across Aster’s communities.
Our Version Media has been amplifying stories from under-represented communities for more than a year now. As one of the official media partners of Southampton's UK City of Culture 2025 bid, it is helping to showcase the city’s culture and diversity by teaching residents digital media and storytelling skills.
As well as through stories, Our Version Media is increasing representation in other areas of society. It runs a Black-Owned Business Directory that supports Southampton's black business owners and provides Diversity and Inclusion services to help organisations like the NHS and Solent Mind to reach, engage with and improve their services for black communities.
For further information about the Aster Foundation, visit www.aster.co.uk/foundation
For further information about Our Version Media, visit: www. ourversion.media/Back to latest news listings