Peer Journalism – From the Ground Up

From the Ground Up is a collaboration between Groundswell and The Pavement Magazine. Our volunteer Peer Journalists use their lived experience of homelessness to report on issues that are important to homeless people and explore solutions.

From the Ground Up is a project that trains people in journalism so they can report on the issues that most affect the homeless community. Our Peer Journalists are encouraged to use their lived experience of homelessness to help them gather insights other people from the homeless community and professionals from organisations working with people experiencing homelessness.

The Peer Journalists craft their research into written articles for publication in the Pavement Magazine in both print and online formats and for Groundswell’s blog. Group discussions and reflections on each theme are recorded for podcasts to capture the depth of the explored issues. Their findings are also taken to service staff and policy makers through action days with the aim of bringing about practical changes to improve the lives of people experiencing homelessness.

Tutor, award winning journalist, Veronique Mistiaen said:

“It’s a win-win project. Society gains a better understanding on important issues around homelessness and peer journalists develop useful research, interviewing and writing skills, and work as part of a team toward a common goal.”

‘The Working Homeless’ Edition

With the rising number of homeless people in the past decade has come a sharp increase in the proportion of people holding down a job whilst experiencing homelessness. This occurring theme led our Peer Journalists with the desire to look deeper into the realities of working whilst homeless.

Our team interviewed caseworkers working in homelessness support services (many of whom had been homeless themselves) and members of the homeless community who were trying to hold down a job whist sofa surfing, living in hostels or in some cases sleeping rough.

‘Women’s’ Edition

In the third year of the project (2018) one group of the Peer Journalists chose to explore the particular issues that impact women experiencing homelessness. Our team produced a stand out issue to highlight the problems faced by homeless women including sanitary issues, assault and problems with childcare.

You can listen to our peer journalists podcast on women and homelessness below: 

‘Suicide’ Feature Edition

The prevalence of suicide amongst the homeless community is disproportionate to that of the general population.

Peers Journalists researched different organisations (Samaritans, CALM, #deardistressed, Maytree, Mind, For Professionals, Storm) offering advice and counselling to people who found themselves feeling suicidal. We also interviewed a representative from the Listening Place to discover the secret behind their incredible success and unique approach since it was set up in 2016.

Click on the player below to listen our Podcasts

Click on the images below to see our previous editions of The Pavement

January / February 2018 – Groundswell ‘Shame’ Feature Edition

November / December 2017 – Groundswell ‘Breast Cancer’ Edition

July / August 2017 – Groundswell “Healthy Mouths” Edition

April / May 2017 – Groundswell “Dual Diagnosis” Feature Edition

February / March 2017 – Groundswell “Veterans” Feature Edition

December 2016 / January 2017 – “Access to GPs” Edition

Thank you

From the Ground Up is generously funded by Comic Relief.