We were super happy to receive this article written by freelance journalist @EstafanSheryl. It really captures how we intended our Making Sense Of Podcast to come across. We intended to somehow squeeze the personality, passion and experience of the team into one hour podcast episodes… and wanted to ensure that we were doing so in the same way we run our courses – making them exciting, accessible, thought-provoking and stimulating. No mean feat! According to Sheryl, it seems like we’ve done a pretty good job. 

Glass against the wall

Podcasts are trending and you may be wondering what to binge listen to next. Although have you ever thought about what made you a binger in the first place?

Understanding addiction is what Foundation for Change are all about. Founder Bob Bharij says that when it comes to seeking funding FfC hovers in the ‘grey mist’ between therapeutic and educational services.  

The charity offers educational programmes in Psychological theory.  Participants are invited to accept or reject what they learn but not before they have reflected on how theory may apply to their own life stories about recovery from addiction.

Listening to the ‘Making sense of ….’  podcast series is like putting a glass against the stud wall of the office next door and hearing teammates chat after they’ve pushed back the swivel chairs and agreed who’s doing the coffees.

If you appreciate being around people who clearly like and respect each other and you find comfort in a bit of conversational swearing then these podcasts are for you.

If you want to learn what ‘cognitive dissonance’ means, listen to Tonya fess up to smoking a lot more at the start of lockdown whilst knowing that “I needed my lungs”.

In the ‘Critical Thinking’ podcast the team talk about how their younger lives were shaped by belief systems within their families and wider society.  Everyone shares how they came to understand the power of asking questions and what it means to critique not criticise.

Heather came to it through music when she heard politics in songs. She realised that there was life outside her village and everything is “not just what you’re told”. Bex also learned this from music when she became a goth and discovered that authority could be challenged.  Katie reveals she loved learning as a child and even asked her mum for a briefcase from argos. She got older and realised that the internet was an alternative source of information and you didn’t always have to believe what you saw on the news. FfC co-founder Liz started to question mainstream values from her sense of ‘otherness’ as a lesbian. Bob began to question his religion aged 7 when it was against his religion to ask.

324 people have attended courses including ‘Psychology for Change’ and ‘Feminism for Change’ since the charity started in 2014.  74% of participants have graduated.

As well as reflecting on their own and other people’s beliefs, attendees are asked to consider how society’s values and social inequality has impacted upon them. Many graduates have gone on to opportunities in volunteering placements or meaningful employment.

 Since FfC adapted to remote working, current attendees and graduates are offered virtual seminars linked to the podcasts. There is no ‘them and us’ at FfC. The team collaborate with attendees and share their own stories of recovery.

As podcasts go, these engaging chats feel like just the beginning of season 1. Will we get to find out whether Katie lived in a big house as a child? And if she did, is her tapestry briefcase still in the loft?