Demelza is nothing without its people and stories are the glue that hold us together. Stories are what inspire people to work for us, volunteer with us and most importantly, to trust us with the care of their children. 

Storytelling Officer, Oliver, tells us more about his role and the work behind some of the stories you read of life at Demelza. 

“Being a Storytelling Officer is all about finding people – whether the children and families who access Demelza’s services, our staff, our volunteers, or our fundraisers – who have interesting or inspiring stories to tell, and sharing them with our supporters and beyond.  

I’ve been with Demelza for a year now, and I learned very quickly that everyone involved has something valuable to share; I help draw out these little insights in interviews, empowering people to tell their own stories, in their own words. Often people don’t realise the impactful language they use without even thinking – the Demelza care team always talk about how “privileged” they are to care for the families that use our services, and the families themselves share so openly about their experiences that it’s impossible not to be moved by it all.  

After these interviews (which sometimes take an hour or more!), I’ll work with everything we discussed to shape a narrative that tells that person’s story as authentically as possible – while respecting their individual preferences and protecting sensitive information. This can take time. Once I have a really polished version, the story can be shared with our supporters – to encourage them to donate, or to get involved as volunteers, or just to spread the word about Demelza’s mission! It’s always nerve-wracking to see how each story will be received, but stories are meant to be told. That’s what this week is really all about. 

We’re all storytellers; even the children we support, some of whom are non-verbal or have developmental disabilities, have their own amazing ways of expressing themselves and I’m working with other Demelza staff on ways to let them tell their own stories. There’s still lots of progress to be made, but you can see on the next few pages how I’ve helped some of our children and young people have their voices be heard.”