6th workshop

Start of the day

This workshop followed quite a similar format to workshop 5. Everyone got together at the start of the day and fed back what they had learnt about their idea in the intervening week. They also discussed and what they would be working on in their group.

Some of the groups had been able to meet with young people who were/had left care, others had not so the feedback was mixed in terms of being useful when taking the ideas forward to respond to care leavers needs.

Working in groups

After this everyone started to work in their groups, developing the idea, making changes and having new ideas.

Family and Friends pack


Where is my free Internet
















Digital Pathways

Evaluation of ideas

Each of the groups were also asked to fill in sheets that related to evaluating the development of their idea so far in order to reflect and track this information.

They were also asked to consider how they would evaluate their idea in the future as well as discuss barriers they might experience in the ideas development and how these could be addresses.

Example of evaluation sheet


Pitching the ideas

To finish the day (and to round up the last workshop) a ‘Dragon’s Den’ was created where each group had to pitch their ideas to the Dragons, explain why it responded to care leavers social and emotional needs, and explain how it was going to be developed. This was a way of sharing the work that had been completed that day with the rest of the group, and also a fun way of rounding off the session that placed care leavers voices about the quality of the ideas and hope for their development at the fore. Unfortunately we only had 1 Dragon that was a care leaver, so three was a a lot of pressure to provide thoughts on each of the pitches but the feedback was welcomed by each group.

What next..?

At the end of the session we all had a chat about how the people that were involved would like to continue to take the ideas forward and to work together on their development. Some people wanted to continue to work in the same format but meet less frequently and ensure care leavers were more involved, others were keen to use the more traditional format of a working group at which care leavers are represented.  After discussion the group decided to work in the traditional format.

5th workshop

Start of the day

To start the day we all start together and shared what had happened after we had taken the mocked up version of our ideas out of the room and tested them with care leavers. Someone from each of the 4 idea groups was asked to feedback on what had happened in the last two weeks using the mocked up idea, how this made them feel and what they thought they needed to get out of todays’ session to move the idea forward. The group at this stage supported one another with support, advice and suggestions.

Unfortunately no young people were able to make this session so feedback and discussion (although useful) greatly missed their voices. This also had an impact on the rest of the day as practitioners were not so keen (rightly so) to develop the ideas without care leavers feedback and perspective.

Catch up on the ideas

Talk Talk (formally known as ‘Proactive not Reactive’ and ‘Link’)

 This team was lead by a Service Manager so the testing involved one staff member from each of the 6 area teams identifying care leavers who had used/were using their service. They had arranged to call them once that week and see how they were going in their new place. Each time someone phoned they had managed to speak to a young person.

The Service Manager felt he had had a positive response from service staff around the idea and said no issues had been raised by young people they had spoken to on the phone. On reflection he thought care leavers may speak to through a Throughcare and Aftercare worker if they did have any issues. Other comments from people in the room were that just talking to a young person is good enough, and should not be undervalued, whether they had something to say or seem to appreciate it should not matter too much.

Some things to note about this idea from the testing were that it was felt the success of the communication would depend on the young person and what stage they were at in their life. However it was noted this was just the beginning of the testing phase and through it was a useful idea both to keep lines of communication open with care leavers so that they don’t feel isolated and well as help to develop the service using their feedback.

Lots of ideas were given to this team by people round the table around taking the approach and other services developing it too, however there was some concern that each care leaver may be flooded with calls which some people thought might not be necessary, however others thought that even if a young person does not pick up at least they know you have called and through about them that day.

My Family Pack

A Throughcare and Aftercare worker spoke about the Family Pack. She said that she had worked with one young person from the project on the pack, and shown it to other care leavers to get their feedback too. She had found this difficult as care leavers are located all over Argyle and Bute and she was disappointed she had not been able to develop the pack further in the past two weeks.

She said she was disappointed with the feedback she had received. Most young people had said that they thought they had outgrown doing this kind of work with their Throughcare workers and that he/she would already know a lot of the things covered in the pack, so they found it rather repetitive. However interestingly when the pack was shown to residential workers they seems to think it would have a place in children’s homes to support young people to think about contact with their families when they are first taken into care. Also one care leaver on the project had mentioned to a residential worker where she lived that the pack she was working on would help her get the access she wanted with her family.

I found the feedback from testing this idea interesting as it was one of the most popular ideas in the workshop, so goes to show the important the of testing an idea quickly is before it is developed further.

The feedback received about this ideas may also be due to the fact that Argyle and Bute have 2 Throughcare and Aftercare workers for the region. Therefore it may be understandable that workers may already know this information. This may not be the case in other regions of Scotland where young people can have several Throughcare and Aftercare workers due to local authority boundary changes, restructuring and staff turnover.

Where is my free internet

This group were unable to test the idea out with any care leavers but did speak to a number of young people. One member of the group mentioned that she had found it hard to bring up the idea in conversation or ‘tag it onto the end of a conversation’ they were having in relation to the service she was providing.

Some of the feedback was that service staffs seemed to think this was a good idea more than young people, and it seemed to be a tool that could be used once (as the towns in Argyle and Bute are relatively small), so once internet resources had been identified the tool may not be used again.

However what seemed to happedn (possibly as a result to fthis) was that other resources were included in the map, such as a the community centre and library. It was also used to ask young people to make their own networks with in the towns.

This groups felt quite disappointed that their idea had not taken off once it left the workshop space, but saw opportunities to learn from the ‘mistakes’ or assumptions they had been engaging with, and were pleased they had more time to develop it more.

Digital Pathways

This group seemed to take a more traditional approach to developing the idea with more research and connecting into the working groups that are established in Argyle and Bute to develop ideas. They had been working by email in the last two weeks to create a pitch for their idea, planning a testing site for the work and identifying possible funding streams.

 Working on ideas

So afte the fedback session everyone broke up to work in their groups.

Developing Talk Talk

Developing the Friends and Family Pack

Developing ‘Where is my free internet?’















Developing Digital Pathways


Whilst working on developing their ideas and getting them ready for the next two weeks of testing each of the groups were asked several questions, the answers to which they would be able to use to tell someone outside of the workshop about their ideas and why they were developing them. The questions were:

  1. Describe your new product/service
  2. How does it relate to the social and emotional needs of care leavers
  3. How is your product or service different from what already exists
  4. What are the three main barriers to the implementation of your product/service across Scotland?
  5. How could you bets introduce your new product/service to your colleagues?

 Finally each group was asked to start thinking about evaluating their idea sand it’s development. To do this they were given a sheet of paper with four columns which they were asked to answer the questions – I want to understand…, The way I will I do this…, Explain what success looks like in week one…, Explain what success looks like in week two…


Thanks go to Snook for the photography

First workshop


The first workshop was held at the 3 Villages town hall in the beautiful setting of Arrochar. Argyll and Bute local authority covers a large geographical area, spanning the islands of Coll, Tiree, Mull, Islay and Jura, as well as the mainland town from Campbeltown in the south to Oban in the North. Arrochar is somewhere in the middle of the west of the region and we were really pleased that people were able to make it from all the different areas.


The first workshop had a great turnout – 4 young people and 12 workers/managers from services such as throughcare and aftercare, social work, social care, education, health and housing, and from both the public and voluntary sectors.

 What we did

The session lasted for 3 hours. We split into two groups and were introduced to a lot of thinking about designing services and new ways of working.

Firstly, we were able to explore what prototyping was and (although I can only speak for my group), discovered that is is just a word for doing things differently from the way we normally do things so we can test it out. So for example, a woman in my group spoke about using a ham haugh in her soup instead of a stock cube (which she didn’t think was successful, and won’t be doing again). Another woman spoke about trying out new outfits for a wedding – which I am happy to say was a success!

We also discussed what we feel like when we prototype. Thoughts (from my group again) can be seen in the photo below.

Then everyone had a go at prototyping by choosing two objects from a selection and figuring out what kind of services we could provide using those two objects as inspiration. Everyone then shared their ideas and we voted to choose an idea that each group could work on.

This was when we were introduced to the idea of blueprinting a service, which involves telling a story about a service through the eyes of someone using a service. This is assisted by breaking the service down into stages and exploring how a person feels at each stage. We took each idea and told the story of someone using this new service, made notes about this person’s experience and placed them on a large sheet of paper, which broke the experience for a person down into stages (see below for an example).

Working through this with everyone aimed to share a process of working together that explores and works-up new services for people. These methods of working are going to be used again in future sessions but will be more relevant to leaving care services (rather than being conceptual about how people can design services together). This first workshop seems to have given everyone an experience of how to use these ways of working together for future sessions.

What people thought of the workshop

At the end of the session we asked everyone involved to provide feedback – what was good and not so good about the workshop, and what we could do better next time.

Some of the things that people found good about this session included: the group interaction, that it made people think, created a relaxed atmosphere where everyone contributed and were able to come up with creative ideas, and that it created the opportunity to meet new people. It was also considered lively, interactive and interesting, and participants enjoyed the challenge of speaking in front of people. They also liked the idea of designing a service, and thought it was a creative way of explaining the process we will be working through in future workshops.

Some of the more negative comments included: not enough time for introductions, the acoustics in the room made it hard to hear and was distracting, and there was too much sitting around and too much listening. These are issues that will be addressed in the next session. Including more breaks, being more active, encouraging everyone to get hold of the camera/video camera to take their own photos/videos, and having plenty of fizzy juice (!) are also on the next agenda!

Reflections on the workshop

These are my reflections and I’d like to encourage others to add their own, as well as share their point of view about the process we all experienced.

From my perspective, the people that came together to work with us on this project don’t often get the chance to work together practically. They mostly work in a consultative form with each other and/or young people. This project works differently in that everyone is in the same place at the same time to create something together. This brings with it challenges as well as opportunities. Working together is not as easy as doing something on your own, so the group dynamic and relationships are really important to focus on. However, there is also a real desire from the people who are involved in the project to try this process out and create something that will benefit young people.

Following on from that point, the opportunity that comes from working together is that having so much knowledge in the room, be it experiential, service or process related, means that there are many possibilities, lots of perspectives and boundless ideas that we can think about and work through together. An aim of this process is to flatten any knowledge hierarchies so that everyone’s ideas – because they are coming from people with experience of providing or receiving leaving care services – are just as valuable in identifying ideas and coming up with ways of responding to people’s experiences.

All comments are welcome,