Well today was all about ideas!!!!
We started off by introducing ourselves as there were some newcomers – they were included in our ‘who and where’ diagram. We then continued to work on the journey map that we started last week. I think it is fair to say it took a while to get back into this activity and provide feedback, however the discussion certainly warmed up by the end of the workshop, with ideas flying about thick and fast.
The outcome of the map was that several ideas and problems were identified and posted on post-it-notes. We split up into two rooms – care leavers in one and practitioners in another – and each person was invited to take two post-it notes – one idea note and one problem note back to their group (the picture below wasn’t the post-it-notes we used, everyone was too quick off the mark to take them off the wall so I didn’t get a photograph in time, but hopefully provides an idea of the process). We then discussed in our groups how we could respond to the problems we had chosen.
Care leavers group
In our group, it was hard to talk about ideas because we were constantly talking about problems. I think this is a natural thing to do as everyone seems to experience quite a few problems and has energy around discussing their effects. Smaller groups were a good place to find out about what those experiences had been. We had to remember to get past talking about problems and thinking about what we could do to respond to those problems – how would we like it to be instead so we were able to explore our ideas.
Our group didn’t really follow the post-it-notes we had taken off the wall. We used them to start a new conversation after we felt one idea had been worked up, but generally we were able to identify enough problems by just talking about experiences.
One of the main topics of conversation was around money – how much people got for working, to live off, how to pay bills, how to travel to see friends and family after being placed miles away from where they live, and how to access or earn more money. This was interesting for me because the project is focused around social and emotional needs, but it seemed that for the young people, knowing about and having money was really important as it dominated the conversation. As a result, a couple of our ideas looked at how we could make information about money more readily available, what kind of information this might be, and how care leavers would access or find it.
That is just a snapshot of one of the ideas, I’m not going to share any of the others as we are yet to share them with the rest of the group. Next blog post will reveal all!
Similar to last week, I am only able to talk about one group as I wasn’t in the other. Pamela from the Forum has kindly agreed to add a comment to this post to share what happened in the practitioners group.
Sharing our ideas
As we had worked in groups, we reconvened to share our ideas. The practitioners presented their ideas to the young people who were able to comment on them, and the discussion led to a fleshing out of each idea from a concept to how it could work in practice, as well as things the young people would change about the idea and how these changes could become part of existing services.
A really interesting discussion was held around the inclusion of young people in conversations that involve decision-making about their lives, more information being shared between practitioners who do not work with care leavers on a regular basis, and services being more proactive about keeping in contact with care leavers.
There was some really interesting debate and perspectives which the group was actively involved in and willing to share. Not everyone agreed on all points, so there was a lot of discussion around the ideas, their possibilities and potential. I was really pleased with the honesty and willingness of people to share their thoughts and am looking forward to the progression of these ideas next week.