Our Story

Founded by professional storyteller, Gemma Gillard, the TBT curriculum was commissioned by the Church of England in 2015 to revive a community playgroup.

But, passionate about reviving communities, Gemma has now adapted and expanded it to benefit all the generations. TBT has been running in the care home context since January 2019 with results and demand exceeding all expectations, even winning the prestigious Cinnamon Network Project Lab 2019 competition for innovative, community-led social action projects that are making a difference to the health and wellbeing of their communities.

New Beginnings

Gemma has always had deep compassion for the elderly and had despaired that her life had been too busy to help in anyway.

In February 2017, her family we moved from London to Poole. Their new house in their new town was directly opposite a care home, something that from the outset Gemma believed was no coincidence.

So, one day, I popped over, introduced myself and told them about my idea. They graciously allowed me to launch a pilot and TBT was up and running.

“Every night since we moved, I’ve stood in my son’s room and closed his blinds. As I cover them, I look out over to the care home directly opposite and I wonder. Who lives in those rooms, where the blinds are always open, and what stories could they tell me?  I’ve watched the ebb and flow of life going on around it, but not a lot of life goes in.”

Our Purpose

We believe the church is God’s beautiful display of family, of intergenerational love and devotion, and TBT exists to show everyone that they’re invited to belong.

Our Vision

Storytelling for life.

1.  Joyful life – exuberance for everyone:
“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
Psalm 118: 24 (ESV)

2.  Family life – a place and a purpose for everyone:
“… all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
Psalm 139: 16 (NIV)

3.  Full life – restoration by God’s love for everyone:
“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts…”
Psalm 95: 7-8 (ESV)

Our Mission

TBT will be the most tested, trusted and transformative intergenerational activity in care homes across the UK.

Our Manifesto

TBT is an intergenerational project that takes joy and life into residential care homes. We equip churches with the resources, training and support to deliver storytelling groups that benefit 0-4s, their parents and residents.

We aim to restore intergenerational community which will improve the mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing of everyone involved.

Our Values

We believe our vision and values can permeate the work of many churches to transform communities across the country.

Intergenerational

We are interested in everyone in the room.  It’s always intergenerational.

Belonging

We create a place for belonging.

High Quality

We provide a high quality creative experience.

Joy

There is joy in this place! 
Then freedom will follow.

Simplicity

Our simplicity gives imagination
free reign.

The Research

Addressing dementia and loneliness

Many recent research studies have highlighted the growing impact of dementia and loneliness amongst an ageing population in the UK.

people live in care homes in the UK.

Care homes market study. (CMA Nov 2017, on gov.uk)

%

of all UK deaths are due to dementia

Dementia has overtaken heart disease to become Britain’s biggest killer – this has more than doubled over the past five years.

(ONS Nov 2016)

minutes per week of social interaction

A large-scale trial showed that just one hour a week of social interaction improves quality of life for people with dementia in care homes, reducing agitation and aggression.

(Exeter University 2018)

people of all ages in the UK suffer from chronic loneliness

A growing number of people of all ages in the UK suffer from chronic loneliness.

(ONS App 2018)

as likely to feel severely lonely

Care home residents are twice as likely to feel severely lonely than older people living in the community.

(Christina Victor 2012)

The Stakeholders

TBT primarily engages with three groups of benefactors; churches, families and care homes. Within care homes, it is further broken down to benefit the care home, the care workforce and the residents.

TBT benefits everyone who gets involved and has a huge impact on care home residents, measurably increasing in six levels of assessment:

Awareness

Engagement

Interaction

Integration

Impact

Lasting effects

PLUS

  • It’s not just about children and older adults. TBT mobilises the ‘parent’ generation, creating a community that travels with them to the care home.
  • It’s not just a voluntary venture. There is a social enterprise element for the Storyteller. Everyone benefits from and contributes to the success of the group.
  • There’s power in story not just benefit in songs. There’s space for everyone to share experiences, to imagine and reminisce.
  • It’s not just the power of any story. TBT has Christian roots and references. Stories are bespoke and tell of God’s lavish love.

For Churches

Are you a church interested in accessing quality resources and training to replicate the TBT project locally?

For Care Homes

Are you a residential care home interested in launching a Truth Be Told Group?

For Families

Do you have children aged 0-4 and are interested in attending an intergenerational storytelling group?

Testimonials

We believe the church is God’s beautiful display of family, of intergenerational love and devotion, and TBT exists to show everyone that they’re invited to belong.

“I love TBT, it’s gold dust!”

Director of Care Services

“It was great to be with you and actually see the amazing impact the project is having on our residents.”

Care Home Chaplain

“There’s something very special about TBT.”

Activities coordinator

“My favourite moment was seeing everyone, especially the residents, bouncing balloons to each other with such joy and coordination.”

Toko (Parent)

Awards

TBT has been running in the care home context since January 2019 with results and demand exceeding all expectations.  We are excited to have won our first award, which has launched TBT to expand and grow our Storytelling adventure.  We’re looking forward to an exciting future with many more accolades to reward our hard work and commitment.

Winner

Project Lab 2019

Cinnamon UK

“Through the process, I’ve become even more sure that the church network is a solution to a very big problem.”

– Gemma Gillard