Paul Hamlyn Foundation get behind YouthNet’s Your Stories platform

Chris Martin (he/him)
Chief Executive Officer
girl looking at a laptop

Paul Hamlyn Foundation get behind YouthNet’s Your Stories platform

It’s a challenge that every digital organisation faces. How do you reach your users in a meaningful way in the complex and ever-changing world of social media? The Paul Hamlyn Foundation (PHF) thinks YouthNet may have the answer with its Your Stories platform.

Thanks to the generous support of PHF, YouthNet will build Your Stories, an innovative cross platform peer to peer initiative. Your Stories aims to engage young people in campaigns to create and share support content on the platform of their choice – be it a blog on TheSite or photo on Instagram. Most importantly young people will share those stories on their own social channels. The project aims to leverage the power of social sharing to provide early intervention support and seeding TheSite tools and content through young people’s own voices and their trusted networks.

Such an undertaking sounds ambitious but Your Stories was born from three essential insights drawn from our work with young people:

  • Young people find peer support unbelievably powerful – our research shows that 88%1 of our users have used what they’ve learnt from their online peers to help others or themselves.
  • Young people want to actively engage in supporting their peers – 81%2 of young people would be willing to help others by sharing their experiences.
  • Young people value TheSite and want others to find it – 96%2 of our users would recommend TheSite to a friend.

(1 Peer to peer 2013 / 2 outcome survey 2015)

Young people are creators and highly skilled in using digital tools to create and share content. Moreover they are constantly connected with their peers through social. TheSite community is no exception. Over half of our board users create 10 new posts and reply to more than 100 threads every year. Our social channels are equally active having grown by 64% over the last 12 months.

We have already piloted user generated content (UCG) initiatives and found they immediately resonated with our users. Our mental health microsite Madly in Love generated over 100 Spotify playlists & personal stories in a single month. Your Stories will take the learnings from Madly in Love and replicate them on much, much larger scale- with the ambition to reach almost 200,000 young people on a range of topics from relationships to depression to homelessness across two years

Of course there’s quite a lot going on under the bonnet and our editorial and technical teams have already started work to make Your Stories come alive. You can get a taster by checking out the Storymakers blog by our Head of Editorial, Emma Rubach, to get a flavour of our work with young people and getting under the skin of UGC.

Watch this space for regular updates on the project.


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Published on 24-Apr-2015