Hospice Biographers: helping stories live on

Hospice Biographers

When Barbara Altounyan realised her father was terminally ill, she postponed her career as a reporter, "borrowed" a BBC audio recorder and set about recording his entire life story on audio.  

Many years later and after a career in broadcasting she started to volunteer her professional audio services at her local hospice. After 18 months of volunteering, one of her patients suggested she spread her services to hospices everywhere and the concept of The Hospice Biographers was born.

The Hospice Biographers was founded in 2016 and is launching its first public campaign on October 10th. The charity plans to offer terminally ill patients the chance to have their life stories professionally recorded on audio. This will give people the opportunity to “tell their stories” to help them make sense of their lives as a whole and to create something that will be cherished forever.

These days we’re used to keeping family photos, but very few of us have voice recordings to remember people by. And yet nothing is more unique and meaningful than listening to the voice of a loved one.

The charity’s service will be free of charge and will be offered to 200 hospices across the country within the next five years. Interviews will be conducted by volunteer journalists, hospice staff and communications professionals, who will be trained by the charity in regional clusters across the UK.

Secure hardware will be used that has been custom designed for the charity by Coomber Electronic Equipment. After being interviewed, patients will be given a USB memory stick containing their audio recording. Thereafter the interviews will be securely uploaded to an online digital database hosted with the cloud storage company Box. The audio life stories will remain strictly confidential for a minimum of ten years although patients will be able to give their friends and family access to their recordings.

Marketing Help Needed

Over the last few months the charity’s founder, Barbara Altounyan, has been working with a marketing volunteer, Jenni Hughes, to improve their website and their social media presence in preparation for their launch next month.

The charity has also won the support of Ed Sheeran and David Suchet who’ve both made films for their media launch next month.

And they are now looking for pro bono marketing support to help engage volunteers across the UK, promote their free service and to secure funding support. They are particularly looking for help with their social media marketing and bid writing. Are you up to for the challenge of supporting The Hospice Biographers’ work to help stories live on?

If you’d like to contribute your marketing expertise to The Hospice Biographers please email Anna Mullenneaux, Chief Matchmaker at Pimp My Cause.