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Newark youngster backs council’s award-winning app

Posted onPosted on 7th Aug

Nottinghamshire County Council has won a national award for the way it has introduced a new range of apps, designed for and by young people who are supported by social workers.

And one of its users, Newark youngster Cristal, has recommended that other young people in care take a look at it.

The council scooped the Swiftest Implementation Award at the national Mind of My Own awards. Judges praised the council for getting the apps up and running quickly and for getting a high volume of use in a short space of time.

Hundreds of children and young people receiving support from the council’s Children’s Services team, including those who are looked after, have been benefiting from the app as an additional way to share their views, thoughts and feelings with their worker.

The apps, known as Mind of My Own, were co-designed by young people and available to safely download to a young person’s phone so in their own time and words they can tell their social worker – who are able to access the app – what support they need and the things that are important to them. The app has already been used almost 1,000 times in this way.

Cristal, from Newark, who is one of around 300 young people across the county who has been using the app since last summer, is encouraging other looked after children and young people to try the app.

“I recommend the Mind of My Own App for people who are like me, in care,” she said. “It helped me when I recently had a meeting and I could send a message to my social worker to help put my point of view across. It’s very easy to use.

“Ask your social worker about how to access and download the app.”

Coun Philip Owen, chairman of the council’s Children and Young People’s Committee, added: “In these difficult times, I’m delighted to hear that this innovative project has been recognised nationally and more importantly, is proving to be very helpful for young people like Cristal and is growing in popularity across the county, shown in the high number of times the app is being used.

“This technology is helping our social workers get more insight into young people’s daily lives and emotional wellbeing. This will help us give them better care and support.

“We will continue working with young people to develop and improve this range of apps.”

Social worker Natalie Bontoft, one of 650 workers across the county who are supporting children to use the apps, commented: “I have found this app really helpful, especially when working with two, quiet young children. Via the app, I had information to hand which provide me with a good conversation point and helped promote wider discussions with the children.”