Working on a live project with a team at Glasgow School of Art Innovation School and a care/education provider for vulnerable young people, we were given the brief:
“How should the unmet needs within the educational, and other key systems that directly impact the work of [care provider], be addressed in order that service provisions are enhanced or newly imagined to provide experiences that meet the needs of both staff and the young people engaged there?”
Through research and engagement with young people and staff at [the care provider] and experts in social care, we discovered a potential development area during a young Person’s time transitioning from care to independent living.
Statistically, care leavers are more likely to experience poor mental health, unemployment and financial difficulties than those who are not care experienced. This can affect their ability to sustain education, employment and housing resulting in social isolation and pressure. These barriers are present UK wide, where some young care experienced people expressed some disappointment with a lack of expectations from the care system in their abilities to go on to successful adult life, discussing lack of inspiring materials used in residential care.
So What Did We Do?
We defined the design challenge ‘How might we introduce young people to the external services available to them, to help them feel better equipped for independent living?’
We designed the service, Loop, that can be implemented by care providers for young people in care, based on the co-design approach, by working with consistent feedback from young people to inform the service deliverables. In this case, workshops, online content and a monthly magazine.
The weekly workshops are centred around the key barriers to independent living, to build confidence through skill and knowledge development. The workshop content would be informed by the young peoples’ wants and needs via feedback forms, where they can anonymously express topics they wish to explore further such as cooking, finance and careers/further education advice.
The website signposts young people in care and care leavers to relevant external organisations, information on upcoming workshops via a calendar and provides a space for conversation among care experienced young people.
The monthly magazine provides an ‘offline’ format of the website to ensure accessibility to those without access to digital tools or the internet.
Loop was designed by engaging, learning and listening to young care experienced people and staff at a care provider for young people, as well as with experts in this field.