Recently, alongside a team from across Includem, I attended a one day hack event, hosted by IRISS (The Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services). The Relationships Matter Jam brought together 5 organisations from across Scotland to explore ways in which young people can continue to be supported as they move away from child, support and care services.

In attendance were representatives from Care Visions, Falkirk Council, Hot Chocolate Trust, Includem and Kibble.

Includem focused on a barrier that had been identified during the initial phase of our project. When young people exit Includem’s service, they are always reassured that they can still use the Helpline – a service which is available to provide support to young people 24/7.

However, experience shows that in practise, young people are reluctant to do this. Even those who have made good use of the Helpline whilst working with Includem fail to use this service after exit. We wanted to understand why this might be, and how Includem can best support young people beyond their initial service delivery, whilst not imposing on the independence (or interdependence) of the young people in question.



We were able to bring together a great pool of Includem brain power on this issue: two young people who have been working with Includem in Fife; sister/brother team Alana and Gavin, their Transitional Support worker Kathleen, frontline Core worker in Glasgow Kim, Briege who has been undertaking PhD research with Transitional Support and myself, Keira, Includem’s embedded service designer from Snook.

Alana and Gavin had helped me look at this issue during the first phase of our project, and took this opportunity to share and discuss their experience of the issue with the wider group.

Fuelled by pastries, tea, coffee and Parma Violets, we delved deeper into what some of the underlying reasons might be that young people are reluctant to pick up the phone at the very moment they need help most.


The Jam gave us the opportunity to reach a little deeper into the issue – we began investigating all of the hurdles or aspects of the current system which might be discouraging young people from calling the Helpline. We even spent some time analysing the word “Exit”, which is currently used to describe the disengagement process from Includem. Young people and workers indicated that this word seems very final; “You don’t go back in a door marked ‘Exit’” as one frontline worker put it.


In the end, the solution we developed was the same one that had been identified during the first phase of the project; but now we were confident that it really was the most supportive and progressive way of preventing young people from slipping after regular support has stopped. There is a commitment now to offer some young people “Helpline only support” as they exit Includem, on a prototyping basis. As always, they will be able to call the Helpline if they need a little more support, or aren’t sure where else they might find support for a particular issue. Additionally, Includem will commit to a series of call-backs, as necessary to each young person – to check that they are still doing as well as when they exited Includem and to give them reassurance that they can always access the service again if they find that they are slipping back.

With one of our team members, Gavin, currently studying acting at college, it was only right that we put our ideas across to the rest of the Jam with a short play, which will be available soon (check back here!)


At the end of the day, IRISS also made a commitment to keeping the conversation going between all of the organisations in attendance. Most were concerned with supporting young people after they exit from care or other support services, and recognising the very real relationships young people build with the workers who care for them. A variety of ideas were generated, which lay within a wide range of feasibility and completion. We look forward to learning how these ideas have grown within each organisation over the coming months.


Thanks again to all who attended the event, and to the organisers who kept us filled up with sweets and soup and made it such a success.