OUR IMPACT: Older generation reporters in Sunderland shortlisted for an award

The team at Yellow Jigsaw are buzzing that the first older people’s led new room in the North East has been shortlisted for an award.

We worked with the Sunderland-based We’ar Shining the Light over a 12 month period in 2023 to upskill older people in all things media – from photography and video to news reports and podcasting.

The relationship was established between the two northern cities after Sunderland City Council and Sunderland Ageing Well Ambassadors – led Jackie Nixon – was inspired by our Manchester-based older people’s led news project, Talking About My Generation – the first of its kind in the country.

The Sunderland news team received support from our skilled media professionals – Kirsty Day and Jodie Smith – as well as peer support from volunteer reporters at Talking About My Generation.

This is what they achieved in the first 12-months:

  • Recruitment of a 15-strong team of volunteers (and growing)
  • A total of 30 news stories, four podcasts, four videos produced (and counting)
  • Reported on stories that matter to them from health and wellbeing, cost of living, break ageing stereotypes, positive stories of later life, local arts, culture, sports and nostalgia and much more
  • Hands-on practice – camera work, interview skills, vox popping, social media, podcasting, design work and much more.
  • Set up and created content and designs for a Facebook page, which now has 189 followers
  • Created a monthly newsletter from the stories created by the reporters and circulated to 162 Ageing Well Ambassadors with an 60% open rate

We’ar Shining The Light reporter Laura Ann Hind said: “I never thought that I would get the opportunity to do something like podcasting. It has been a fantastic experience to develop new skills and shine a light on the amazing people in Sunderland.”

Reporter Geja Holmes Laddering added: “My husband and I worked together as a reporting team, and it was great to have that experience together. Kirsty from Yellow Jigsaw was a fantastic trainer, very impressive knowledge and skills, and so enthusiastic that you wanted to keep on being a part of the team.”

Jackie Nixon, Public Health Practitioner for the Ageing Well team at Sunderland Council, who led on the project alongside our media director Kirsty Day, said: “Everyone needs a Yellow Jigsaw in their life, it has been fantastic to work with Kirsty and the volunteers from the Talking About My Generation team, the outcomes for the team of reporters here in Sunderland have been amazing over 12 months thanks to their support and we continue to grow and learn and flourish.”

Kirsty Day, Media Director at Yellow Jigsaw and project lead for Talking About My Generation, said: “We are so pleased that we were able to support another area of England to carry out this valuable work, which we have seen amazing outcomes from across Greater Manchester where the project began.

“We are proud to be the first-ever older peoples-led news team – but even more proud that we are now joined by Sunderland, who also champion the belief that we can, and should, all expect to age positively.”

The We’ar Shining the Light news team now continue to capture stories independently of Yellow Jigsaw and the MyGen team.  Long may they continue to shine a light on positive ageing and break ageing stereotypes and good luck to them in Sunderland Council’s STAR Awards, which are being held on Friday, April 19.