"Lorna has the skill of teasing out engaging stories from tiny fragments of memory and making them come alive. Her incisive comments and questions help you get to the heart and meaning of a story and turn it into something that others want to hear and you really want to tell. All of this comes with humour and empathy as she brings out and amplifies your strengths. I love working with Lorna." (Sheila Hirst, Hirst Executive Coaching, 2021)
"You are such a lovely lady! Your changes are great and I am happy with all of them" - Thank you, I am (more than) happy with your writing" - "That's a lovely article Lorna, and really interesting too" - "Thank you for your draft piece which is excellent and reads very well" - "This is great, thank you so much" - "Thank you so much! This is amazing and X loved it" (each comment comes from a different contributor to Valuable and Vulnerable project, 2021)
"Lorna acted as my assistant for a storytelling film project commissioned by Old Fire Station Arts, Oxford. Lorna is great to work with: she is very insightful about what is needed to move an artistic project forward, and has a really clear sense of structure. At the same time she has a strong sense of fun and play and is really enjoyable to devise workshops with, offering her warmth, empathy and wit with great generosity." (Georgie Steele, Storyteller, 2021)
"Lorna has provided me with insightful and much appreciated help with several of the stories that I’ve worked on. I’ve turned to her for advice at two points in the process of writing.
First, at the start Lorna has given me valuable advice on the structure of the story I’m telling. When using my personal experience as the basis for stories, I can find it hard to see the wood from the trees. Lorna has been particularly helpful in getting me to think about which aspects of my experience contribute to the narrative I’m trying to convey, and which are distractions.
Second, once I have shaped a story, Lorna has given me detailed editorial feedback on phrasing and style. Not only have my stories become more powerful as a result, I’ve also learnt from Lorna’s suggestions and so my next attempts are just a little bit better.
Working with Lorna (either at the start of the process or later on) is something I look forward to and value. Lorna is seriously intelligent and perceptive. She is a gifted wordsmith and wonderful story-teller herself. Lorna is also sensitive, compassionate, and kind. It is a rare combination and makes working with Lorna a very rich experience.”
(Daniela F. Sieff, PhD - author, scholar and speaker, 2021)
"I would recommend Lorna 100%. She is very expert on older people and person centred services, an excellent facilitator and a good researcher and writer. Plus a really nice person to work with." (Policy Advisor, national charity, 2016)
"You're a ‘bluebird-of-happiness’ type of person, as opposed to the ‘grey-chicken-of-depression’ type that I try and avoid."(Researcher, national charity, 2014)
The letter and email in the small photo are from older people who took part in two projects for different organisations, in Dorset (2012), and in Gateshead (2008). The quotes below are from three older people who took part in a 2007 project I ran with Age UK Oxfordshire in two social services' day centres (free download: Roots and Circles: ideas for personalising day care). We used disposable cameras, scrapbooks, and discussions, to find out about the things that mattered most to the people who came to the centres - and about what interested them:
“Your encouragement has worked wonders in our understanding of each other.”
“I like it when they come here; they have different ideas for what we could do.”
“I stopped writing after my stroke, but I wanted to do the scrapbooks so I made myself practice at home and now I am writing again. Last weekend I decided if I could learn to write again I could learn to knit again. So I knitted all last weekend, listening to Classic FM in the background. It was the best weekend in ages.”
Sometimes you get unasked for feedback. Here's an example, from paid staff, about some materials I'd written:
"I found the story collection template and accompanying notes which came earlier this year really helpful. They gave me a structure that seemed to clear a bit of a fog and when participants digressed I felt like I had something concrete that I could use to bring them back and could use to dig deeper in their stories to find what was most significant. I got to really enjoy the process." (Celebrating Age arts project, 2019)
"I always find Lorna such a pleasure to listen to, therapeutic even! These days it's easy for people to just read from a script without any feeling or compassion, but she does not come across like that at all. She is very engaging and such a great speaker. I would rather listen to her, someone I don't know, than my GP or nurse, who I feel are judging me before we even start a conversation!" (Webinar, corporate client, 2020).
"Lots of helpful information. Non-judgemental. Really felt like the speaker totally understood what it's like to be a carer. I honestly feel like I am completely alone and people look at me blankly when I turn down yet another social invitation as I have to take one or other of my parents to a medical appointment or attend an LPA related meeting but this made me feel like I am normal." (Webinar, corporate client, 2019)
"I found the session on Thursday very helpful. The fact that Lorna is experienced in caring both professionally and personally means that she has a very real understanding of the challenges. So valuable when talking with people who are in the depths of the caring role." (Participant in facilitated discussion, staff group for carers, 2018)
"You have saved me hours and hours of research, trawling on the internet but not understanding what I need
to look for." (individual client, 2015)
“You have a knack for explaining difficult things very simply, and not many people can do that.” (Social worker attending Care Act training, 2015)
“Many thanks again for your time and wonderfully helpful, well-informed and supportive input in facilitating the Staff Carers’ Group discussion yesterday. I think it’s really helpful for colleagues – including me - to have the opportunity to come together, and take a bit of ‘time out’ from our busy working days to talk about more personal issues, relationships and caring responsibilities – with all the human complexity and sometimes unsatisfactory imperfection that this can often involve. Your role as a very sensitive, caring and compassionate facilitator is critical to enabling us to even have these kinds of conversations, so I just wanted to acknowledge how valuable your input is. The way in which you also inject a bit of much-needed humour, from time to time, to lighten the tone a little, is also very helpful!” (Diversity & Inclusion Manager, Age UK, 2014)
This page isn't a gimmick: a lot of my work involves finding out about people's stories so it makes sense that anyone looking at this website should be able to see that people are comfortable working with me. After all, it's unusual in story work to be exploring stories with people who already know me - we might come together just for an hour or two in person, in villages, towns and cities anywhere in the UK or in Ireland; or, we might just meet for the first time to talk on the phone or in an online meeting, anywhere in the world.
I've included testimonials that go back several years just to show that those experiences are consistent across very different work, and with a wide variety of people and organisations.