By: Lauren
Posted: 14/08/2014

Designing from the inside out: six months inside a charity

Snook are currently working with Includem; a charity that does incredible work with young people who have often been excluded from, or find it hard to engage with, more mainstream services. With regular contacts with familiar workers, and a 24/7 helpline available – they provide a unique service of support.

Their approach is flexible, personal and tireless.

For six months, Snooker Keira will be acting as an “embedded” designer within Includem. She is working closely with the small and fearless Transitional Support Service Team. This squad of seven workers (three in Glasgow, three in Fife and one manager) work with young people aged between 14 and 26. The young people they engage are faced with a range of issues, whether that be pending convictions, drug or alcohol misuse, homelessness or mental health concerns.  At this age many young people struggle to find the support they need – as they often fall in the cracks between “child services” and “adult services”. Includem’s policy of “stickability” means that they never give up on a young person, ever. “We believe that no young person is beyond help” is the first principle Includem work to. In any given contact, Includem might help a young person with applications for education, employment or accommodation, take them to any other services they need to engage with, sometimes acting as an advocate on their behalf in meetings, or just check in with them to see how they are getting on, to help prevent crises from arising. The main aim of the Transitional Support Service is to help young people to move safely and successfully from “child services” to adult life.

“They help rather than painting me as the bad guy” one young person told us this week. Another commented, “They don’t pressure me into doing stuff. They help me do it at my own pace. And they give me structure through the week, like with a job.”

Includem have hired Snook to help them reflect on what they do brilliantly and where they might make their service even better in the future. They are a creative bunch and there are already a host of ideas bouncing around. Keira hopes to help shine a light on some of the best and make to develop them into tangible realities.

As per the principles of both Includem and Snook, the young people who work with Includem are at the heart of this project. Having spent some time shadowing the Transitional Support workers during a variety of contacts, Keira has started working with Includem young people to help them share their stories and experiences of the service. As the experts in Includem’s services, it’s vital that the young people involved see that their voices are valued and listened to. In the coming weeks Keira will continue to work alongside these young people, and others, to explore possible new or enhanced facets to the service, developing ideas together along the way.

In October the young people who have participated in the project will have the chance to present their ideas to the staff of Includem at their annual conference, alongside a take away newspaper showing what they would like to see from the service in the coming years. Keira hopes to work with them to develop skills towards employability, confidence and self esteem throughout the project. Acting upon problems identified and solutions created by these young people will, with any luck, empower them and clearly show them that their actions and effort can make a real difference.

In addition, the Transitional team and Keira will be undertaking a series of regular “Away Days”. Adapted from Snook Studio life, all usual work will be set aside for a day (unless a young person needs support from a worker).  During these sessions, the team will have a chance to develop their own ideas and to share their professional strengths and knowledge.

We are excited to have the opportunity to work in partnership with and contribute to such a forward thinking service, which is so highly valued by many young people across Scotland.