ABOUT US2018-04-02T10:03:34+00:00

Learning with character

About Us

Storyworlds Life CIC was established in 2016 to offer a new approach to improving health and wellbeing that focuses on a) strengthening collaboration between educators, service providers, voluntary sector, individuals and families, and b) developing more resilient communities.

For an approach to be effective, it must be sufficiently sustainable to allow essential momentum and networks to grow.  This takes many years, far longer than the frequency of policy changes and funding cycles can allow for.

The development of relevant, evidence-based and engaging educational materials is an important first stage.  But the most challenging part is creating the social infrastructure through which change happens.

Our Aim

Our aim is to address this challenge by offering effective tools and a sustainable way of funding and engaging stakeholders in the work:

  • Organisations (public, private and voluntary) collaborate from the outset by sharing the cost of development of tools in which all perspectives are reflected.

  • Our ongoing relationship with individuals and organisations provides support for continued use of the tools in the change process.

  • Income generated provides:

    • financial resource for continued marketing, updating and disseminating the work

    • support for development of new tools addressing a social need

    • tailored support for voluntary sector partners and the individuals and families they represent.

Through this approach we can make sure that the key ingredients of social change – funding, collaboration, local autonomy, sharing stories of impact – remain available.

Money Matters

As a community interest company limited by shares, we provide a sustainable, profitable business as well as an enterprise providing social benefit.  We contribute to the Scottish economy through corporation tax, and at least 65% of our profit is reinvested to fund our community interest.

We encourage organisations to share the cost of our services wherever possible to enable collaboration, ensure relevance and increase accessibility.  We want our clients to enjoy a healthy social return on their financial investment.

What’s Important to Us?

  • Collaboration – we strive to collaborate at all stages of the cycle from design to implementation, evaluation and sharing of outcomes

  • Relevance – any work we do must have relevance in terms of addressing a social need.

  • Accessibility – we strive to make our work as accessible as possible to all those who may benefit from it.

Meet the Τeam

Storyworlds Life depends on the skills and expertise of many people including:

Facts and Figures Ltd, Studio LR, BKF & CoAngus Bremner Photography,  Dabster Productions,   Canongate Recording Studios, Strange Town Theatre, Media Education, and a tremendous team of actors.

We (Sandra and Esther) make an excellent core team, but we’re looking forward to more people joining us as this social enterprise grows.  We’re also in the process of setting up an Advisory Board of specialists to help us – the Board will meet quarterly in Edinburgh.  If you’re interested, then we’d love to hear from you.

Esther Walker
Esther WalkerDirector
I’ve always been interested in the underneath, the tiny bits that are hidden and tucked away. My PhD research involved listening in on conversations and spending hours transcribing and analysing to find out what all that ‘talk about’ actually meant (it’s now a well known methodology within social science called Conversation Analysis.)

I liked being a researcher – asking questions, making sense of what’s going on, coming up with suggestions for how other people could change things for the better. I quickly discovered that nothing I found out made any difference at all.

Having finally understood the value of collaboration, I started finding ways to help others ask questions and make sense of things. I think drama and stories are so effective because if you get the right hook, people’s natural nosiness takes over and they start asking questions and sharing their own experiences. It’s a very enjoyable way to learn.

Storyworlds Life is an opportunity to apply my experience in learning and development both from my work with organisations (in particular those involving health and social care) and my work with individuals as a counselor (I qualified as a Gestalt therapist in 2009 after learning much myself from my own therapy).

Our aim is to provide a framework for learning and changing things that is simple, meaningful and fun.

Sandra Smith
Sandra SmithDirector
My skills in relationship building were honed on the labour ward where, as a midwife, my role was to guide and facilitate the process of birth. I enjoyed supporting women to make choices based on their knowledge of what was most important to them. Later as a Consultant my role was to facilitate the learning of other practitioners in doing the same.

Experience taught me that supporting people to achieve the outcomes they want becomes possible when relationships are strong, and environments are supportive. It’s the same whether caring for one woman during childbirth, teaching a class of students or organising service redesign.

Experience also taught me that people can be trusted to do excellent work – as long as they too have the right environment. (It’s easy to lose sight of this sometimes inside a large organisation.) So, in my leadership roles within the NHS – whether clinical, educational or strategic – my priority has always been to use my influence to create that ‘right’ kind of environment.

I was delighted to lead the national education programme to develop relationship-based care across maternity services in Scotland (at NHS Education for Scotland). This gave me and my team a fantastic opportunity to explore innovative approaches to service improvement. It also gave me and Esther the practice ground for the methodology we’re now using in Storyworlds Life.