National Story Telling Week: The power of stories in communicating Kineara’s purpose and impact

National Story Telling Week: The power of stories in communicating Kineara’s purpose and impact

To mark this year’s National Storytelling Week, we share our thoughts and examples of how storytelling plays a vital role right across our stakeholder spectrum. From supporting people through various challenges, to demonstrating the effectiveness of our programs to clients, potential funders, partners and other service users, storytelling through reports, case studies and blogs is an integral part of our work here at Kineara

Everyone uses stories to help them make sense of who they are and the experiences they have had in their lives. Stories help us make sense of the world, recognise patterns, find meaning in things and share that understanding with others. Our stories literally make up our history.

This is why storytelling is an important feature of Kineara’s work and is present in much of our day-to-day activities. We hold space for the narratives that come directly from the people we serve and allow what is most meaningful for them to emerge through active listening and reflection.

Why we encourage storytelling

Our student volunteer Tiyon explains it like this: “Storytelling allows our clients to identify their needs and gives them a chance to reflect, this is the real strength of it. Sometimes in the process we can start to identify cognitive dissonance; this gives us a change to point out to them compassionately.

Many of our clients have felt not listened to in the past. Whilst many of the renters we meet, for example, have a shared experience of housing insecurity or homelessness, no two circumstances are the same. But it isn’t about the ‘facts of the story’, it’s about how the story has been told.

Through the way people tell their story, we can quickly see what is important”, Tiyon continues. “The ‘main characters’ in a story might be the Council, or other services that have been let down by other people/people. We walk people back to the main page, to their main story. We do that by thinking about options and outcomes – reframe the barriers and think about change as a positive thing for the future. Ultimately it’s about helping people reaffirm who they are, their strengths, and the possibilities that are within reach for a more positive future.

Putting client’s needs first

When clients share their stories with us, we can help them identify points of difficulty, barriers and specific needs. With their story told as they see it, as opposed to whatever boxes are ticked on a referral form, we can work towards specific outcomes and bring in additional support that is most meaningful to then in that moment and that respects their story and history. As Tiyon says, “When we do identify their needs they’re not extrapolated from their referrals. They are needs that we hear from their story, and we confirm those together with them.”

Equally important is giving agency to people to share as much or as little as they feel comfortable. For some people, in particular with a mental health diagnosis or experiences of trauma, it can be difficult and even retraumatizing to have to explain their circumstances to each new professional that they work with. In these cases, we tread very carefully and only ask for more detail if we feel it may be relevant for the support. Part of embedding storytelling as practice is that sometimes, client stories are told over time and when they feel it’s right. It is our job to build respectful and trusting relationships with clients so they can feel comfortable doing so.

Stories as impact

Storytelling also forms the foundation of reflection and sharing between our staff and is an integral part of how we support clients facing challenges with their housing, education or wellbeing. We use stories to talk about the impact we have had, because they provide the rich detail behind a wide variety of both the barriers and solutions we work on with clients. It allows us to demonstrate how tailored the support we provide is and that demonstrate that every support journey is unique in the same way that every person is unique.

National Storytelling Week is in our view a worthy awareness day that both highlight the power of stories in all their forms – written, verbal, and digital – in reaching people of all ages and backgrounds. It also reminds us that everybody has a story to tell, so we should spend more time sharing, talking and listening. This is fundamental to how we give and receive support at Kineara.

Posted by kineara in Community, Health and Wellbeing, Housing, Impact, Testimonial
Our Impact Report 2019 is now published

Our Impact Report 2019 is now published

14 June 2019

Each year, we are committed to providing a report into our impact and our progress towards our key aims and mission. We are happy to share with you our Impact Report 2019, which collates the results from this year’s internal evaluation of our programmes.

2018 was a pivotal year for our organisation, with a new housing programmes as well as additional school services that have expanded our reach and provided school essential wraparound support. This work delivered against 4 key objectives:

  • To prevent evictions homelessness and housing insecurity of vulnerable people
  • To impact people lives and the organisations we work with positive transformation
  • To build strong, healthy, connected communities
  • To improve wellbeing, build on strengths and inspire confidence


To date, we have supported 309 people with either intensive support or drop-in advice across our housing, employment and education programmes.

We’ve provided mental health support to 118 households we’ve worked with.

We’ve prevented evictions of over 100 households since we began in 2012, and provided housing support to 68% of all households we’ve worked with.

In that time 60 people have been supported into work, education or training.

We have delivered 35 M2E interventions since September 2017, and improved emotional wellbeing in 86% of those pupils.

In that time we also delivered 6 workshops in schools for both parents and for pupils with 44 attendees, and drop in services for 42 parent’s and school staff members.

In addition to the impact we’ve had with  families, pupils and households, Kineara has grown its reach and voice through our social media presence, with 200 new supporters across all platforms and over 400 unique website visits per month. We’ve also been recognized for our partnership work in school, being shortlisted as a finalists for the Collaboration Award by Education Resources Awards and we are excited to have recently been invited to become member of Trust for London’s new initiative with the office the Mayor of London, the London Housing Panel, which aims to bring community representation to housing policy making for London.


You can read our Impact Report in full here.

Posted by kineara in Impact, Latest, Testimonial

CASE STUDY: Learning to keep spending on track

Kineara practitioner, Liz Towobola, spoke with one of her residents at the close of her programme about how they worked through her spending to ease the pressure on rent payments.
rsp-logo-150x150Liz: I remember at the beginning of the programme you were feeling under pressure, like the house wasn’t yours in that situation. Did you feel like there was any support for you at the time?

Resident: Not really. I was getting letters right left and centre for the rent, and for council tax as well; for me, there was too much to focus on and I didn’t know which one to pay because they are both important. Sometimes, when I needed to buy something for the kids, I would put the bills to the side and make a double payment next time, but then I would realise when it came to it being paid I couldn’t do it.

Liz: At the time you referred to the RSP, what did you think I could offer you and how did you feel about it?

Continue reading →

Posted by kineara in Housing, Latest, Testimonial