Podcast Case Study: Discover Brightlife
When I first set up ASFB Productions 18 months ago, I wasn't sure how but I knew my primary focus would be to find creative ways to tell great stories via podcasting.
And so our company motto was born - 'helping ordinary people share extraordinary stories'.
I've since gone on to present over 10 workshops across the UK, worked with corporate clients in Amsterdam, Cyprus and Luxembourg - as well as providing one-to-one coaching with individuals looking for a helping hand to step up and present their own podcast. Honestly, it's been an absolute hoot.
But what I didn't estimate was how quickly I'd be living this my original mission day-to-day. And how every so often I'd get to work on a job or with a client that truly melted my heart a little bit.
Cue: Brightlife Cheshire. An organisation - and contact with their Marketing Director Cath Logan - which I stumbled upon by complete chance when finishing my role as a reporter with BBC Radio Manchester in 2017. Somehow the right time, the right place and the right people came together for us to form a great partnership and find creative ways to capture the digital legacy their organisation is to leave behind when the The National Lottery Community Fund project ends next year.
Working with them always moves me. There's the laughter, the vulnerability, the honesty, the humour - but more importantly, I'm always left feeling privileged to witness what happens when strangers become friends in the most unlikely of circumstances.
If you're curious about we can all be better at reconnecting with our neighbours and communities, then this series is most definitely worth a listen. Because the thing that strikes me most - is that in reality loneliness and isolation can happen to you, me or anyone you love when least expected.
At the heart of Brightlife Cheshire is people. The people who they reach out to, the people who they support through funding and the people who believe in their ethos to tackle loneliness in our local communities. Believe me - having seen first-hand the work they do on many occasions over a couple of years, I'm one of those people shouting about them from the rooftops.
But the folk who are also extraordinary in our eyes are those who give up their time freely - the volunteers.
To mark National Volunteers Week 2019, and kick off a few new episodes in the series, we've collected a handful of their stories to show you the many routes into volunteering, and perhaps if you're thinking of it - what to expect.
During the documentary, all seven share their moments of surprise, shock and laughter - plus reveal what impact just giving just a few hours a week has had on their own lives as a result.
We sat in pubs next to new born puppies, in community centres, youth centres, church aisles and church halls to make this episode!
Here's a few of things the contributors say:
"I was quite shocked to find that a lot of people their only entertainment was the television..."
"The way we live our lives today, it's so easy to become disconnected..."
"I don't want to be a mum who's lost when the children fly the nest. I want to rediscover me."
"I had two transgender walkers with Father Christmas...it doesn't get much more diverse than that!"
Next up, we'll be capturing what really happens at Age UK Cheshire's Men In Sheds project in Hartford - the good, the bad, the ugly - warts and all. I can't wait!
For more information on what they do, visit BrightlifeCheshire.org.uk.
'Discover Brightlife' podcast is narrated by me, Clare Freeman. Produced by ASFB Productions as a 'platinum' service client. Thanks to the awesome Alix Pickles too for being my extra pair of eyes and ears, plus her work gathering all the atmos sfx!