Includem, a charity that support some of society’s most troubled and vulnerable young people, this month hosted their annual staff conference in Cumbernauld. Since May, I’ve been working as an embedded designer at Includem. Sarah and I headed along to the conference to share some of the things young people and workers have been helping me work on over the past few months.
Around 90 members of staff were in attendance for a jam-packed day of talks, workshops and the highly anticipated buffet lunch (note to self: tacos do not assist engagement in sophisticated conversation). Guest speakers included Dr Carol Craig, CE of the Centre for Confidence and Byron Vincent, poet and comedian, who reflected on his own experiences as a young person in “various northern sink estates”.
The conference saw the launch of our newspaper, which hopes to answer the question “What is Transitional Support?” and presents some of the ideas proposed and developed by young people and workers over the past few months. Staff received a copy of this in their delegate pack, and the young people involved will receive their own copies this week.
The conference was also the platform for the premiere of our “Now Including” film, in which four young people and three Transitional Support workers share some thoughts on the Transitional Support Service.
We took this opportunity to facilitate a workshop with staff; “From Where to Here?” With some gentle guidance from Sarah and I, participants mapped a spectrum of “transitions” of young people they knew or had worked with. By exploring a wide variety of journeys, we hope they were able to learn from the real scenarios they investigated together and some of the ways in which challenges were overcome.
Participants were also able to appreciate the immediate benefits of creating simple visual stories as a way of quickly documenting thoughts, insights and ideas as well as the advantages of “doing, not talking.” Creating quick and simple visual versions of events leads to far more valuable discussion and the ability to move ideas forward.
In a very short workshop, attendees had told the story of a young person’s transition, identified particular highs and lows, and thought about how some of these were tackled at the time, or could be supported in the future. We hope they feel confident in experimenting with these methods in the future and can use them with young people or within team development etc.
So what next?
On November 28th, Transitional Support and I will be presenting our film to the Scottish Transitions Forum – at an event exploring their seven principles of good transitions from the perspective of young people and parents. It is hoped that we can support a young person to attend this as well.
I’m excited to begin developing and implementing prototypes from proposals put forward by young people and outlined in our newspaper. I’m looking forward to working on this in collaboration with young people and workers from Transitional Support again.
This week I’ll be meeting with Includem’s Development Team to discuss some ideas regarding plans for team training, development, sharing and learning, with the aim of giving Includem the tools they need to practice this sort of thinking in the future.
I’ll also be taking a look at “Your Views” – Includem’s current feedback platform, and helping to develop this into a tool which encourages greater participation. There are already some exciting proposals on the table for this, so hopefully we can develop these in a series of prototypes with young people and workers. Alongside this, by reflecting on some interesting insights from my time at Includem thus far, I’m hoping to help implement a strategy for engaging young people in a meaningful way in the future, which benefits individual young people and Includem as a whole.