The stories project

This project was initiated by the Personal Outcomes Network (PON) which exists to provide a space for people working across services to connect, share knowledge and experiences and to influence policy in ways that keeps the focus on what matters to people. A multi-agency co-ordinating group plans activities and engages with wider policy agendas. Before COVID-19, we hosted quarterly meetings to focus on themes identified as important to our members, including personal planning, conversations, communication support needs, staff supervision and working with carers.

From March 2020 the co-ordinating group started to turn attention to the changing context of service delivery in the pandemic. We asked members to contribute stories of how they were staying focused on outcomes during a time of great challenge. This included outcomes for supported people and unpaid carers, as well as for staff, as represented in our heart diagram. It is important to acknowledge that these stories are not intended to be representative of all staff experiences. We sought examples where people were able to keep focusing on outcomes, despite the challenges. However, while these stories, therefore, lean towards more positive experiences, and the intention was to promote ways of managing, coping and achieving outcomes at this difficult time, the challenges and difficulties come through strongly too.

All stories can be accessed from the Personal Outcomes Network website.

Methods / phases

Phase 1: April 2020 - August 2020


  • Story template developed


  • Call for stories to PON members and on Twitter

May - July

  • 39 stories collected. 24 people recorded their own story and 15 chose to be interviewed, have their story written, retaining editorial control. The majority of storytellers were happy to have their names on their stories, with only a couple asking to remain anonymous.
  • Stories were tweeted daily as a way of sharing practice timeously.
  • The first stories were analysed thematically to inform a presentation hosted by NES as part of a webinar held in June on wellbeing in the pandemic.

Phase 2: September 2020 - November 2020

  • Updated template developed and shared with storytellers
  • 20 stories collected with 11 people recording their own stories and nine co-produced as before. These were also tweeted daily.
  • Second stories analysed thematically to inform a second webinar, Meaningful conversations in a virtual world, hosted by NES in November.

Phase 3: December 2020 - March 2021

  • Agreement to produce an online resource to share learning about practice and outcomes, with some final stories to collect.
  • Eight storytellers were approached to be interviewed and provide updates. They were selected to represent diverse sectors, genders, roles, and approaches.
  • Online PON workshop hosted in February to check priorities for the resource and to collect wider stories and examples. The 30 participants included 25 network members, including several of the storytellers and the network co-ordinating group. Attendees came from the health and social care sectors and from across Scotland including Shetland, Fife, Falkirk, Dundee, Glasgow, Inverclyde, the Scottish Borders and the Lothians.
  • All stories revisited and data from new interviews and workshop notes analysed.
  • Draft resource shared with storytellers and PON co-ordinating group for feedback.
  • Production of the final resource.

Where did the stories come from?

The following sections provide a breakdown of the stories by sector, place and role of the storytellers. This focuses on stories gathered using the templates during phases 1 and 2.


Stories came from across the sectors of the PON membership, predominantly from those working in a very diverse range of third sector organisations.

Story origins by sector: Unpaid carer 1,Public body 1,Private company 1,Independent Care Home 1,Government agency 1,Education 3,Statutory agency 6,Health / NHS 6,Third sector 19


Stories were submitted from people in a range of roles including:

  • Unpaid carers
  • Frontline practitioners working in social services, social care and health
  • Staff supporting adults, young people and children
  • Volunteers
  • Directors
  • Managers
  • Trainers and coaches
  • Educators
  • Community workers
  • Improvement advisors


This map shows where the stories came from geographically and includes some of the locations of workshop participants.

Story origins by location: Stirling 1,Shetland Islands 1,Renfrewshire 1,North Lanarkshire 1,North Ayrshire 1,East Renfrewshire 1,Dumfries and Galloway 1,Aberdeen City 1,Falkirk 2,East Ayrshire 2,Inverclyde 2,Midlothian 2,South Lanarkshire 2,Dundee City 3,Fife 5,City of Edinburgh 5,Glasgow City 11

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