uHub

uHub

Company: uHUb

Website

We are both fully qualified counsellors, registered with BACP and with specialisms in cognitive behavioural therapy, life coaching and working with children and adults with autism or those who have experienced trauma or bereavement. We also have years of experience working with adults suffering from anxiety, depression, phobic anxieties, trauma, bereavement issues and other mental health issues.

We are a fresh thinking and innovative social enterprise in North Down. Our uHub will provide a space for talking therapies, life coaching, CBT and also holistic therapies and yoga which will provide a complement to our talking work.

Damgeo
A capture all Digital Learning Solution provider that maximises learner retention and impacts the intended behaviours.

The Challenge

To create a digital mental health support platform to:

  1. Collect symptoms of emotional distress and risk assess
  2. Address lack of knowledge of the community, voluntary and private services by geographical area
  3. Provide a self help hub of resources to empower the user to take action to improve their mental health
  4. Signpost user to the right service at the right time
  5. Provide a hub of psychoeducation at each stage to inform the user, reduce anxiety and virtually hold the hand of the user as the platform encourages them to move back into their community
  6. Reduce wastage of community, voluntary and statutory resources by properly signposting and educating user

The Solution

The problems we were trying to address through the Techies in Residence Programme are:

  •  Loss of life by suicide in NI and increases in self harm (social). We have done this by providing a hub of resources to empower the user to take steps to better understand themselves and improve their mental health by encouraging self-help strategies and ideas.

    We have used a variety of medium to do this including videos, books, blogs, animations and downloadable resources. With psycho-education throughout the whole site, virtually holding the hand of the user and supporting them, as they make choices about what they feel they need to improve their mental health.

  • Misuse of statutory services (economic). By providing a signposting hub, where local community and voluntary organisations can
    advertise their services in a user friendly way, thus lessening the burden on statutory services such as GPs and hospitals. The psycho-education throughout aims to help users select the intervention that is appropriate to them at the time.

Lessons learned
Due to volume of content, this website will need moderated regularly and updated. This is time consuming and difficult practically when it isn’t generating a revenue to pay for our time.

We also learned that we need to apply our time and resources in a strategic way to ensure that the website can generate an income in the future. And in considering this project on these terms we have had to prioritise where we invest time and money, which we hadn’t considered before.

Children’s Law Centre

Children’s Law Centre

Company: Children’s Law Centre

Website

The Children’s Law Centre was established in September 1997. It is founded upon the principles laid down in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Keith Maxwell

The Challenge

Over the past 20 years the Children’s Law Centre (CLC) have changed lives for 1000s of vulnerable children and young people,
e.g. securing support packages for children with special educational needs, multiple disabilities, mental ill health and homeless young people and using youth led research and policy work to achieve positive change in law and policy impacting on the lives of all children and young people in NI. However despite being in existence for many years CLC are concerned that many children and their families who might benefit from our services are prevented from doing so because they are not aware of who we are or how legal interventions can significantly improve their lives. Recent research also shows that many children are not being taught about their rights in schools or where to go to seek advice when their right to access the services/support they need have potentially been denied. In response to these challenges CLC are now exploring innovative ways of both promoting our legal service to ‘hard to reach’ children and
their families and providing child accessible information/advice on children’s rights to support them to self advocate for the vital services they are entitled to.

Our youth advisory panel, youth@clc, have told us that their peers are more likely to engage with information/advice on rights through social media and online portals. As CLC lack ‘in house’ expertise in using social/digital media as a promotional/educational tool or the financial resources to employ a Communications Officer, we would benefit greatly from having a ‘Techie in residence’ for 10-12 weeks.

Being able to work with a mentor would enable us to develop the communication tools we need to reach and help more children and young people to overcome barriers in their lives preventing them from thriving and achieving their full potential in life.

CLC’s advice line – CHALKY deals with 3000+ legal issues annually mostly from adults on behalf of children.

The problem:

  • When CHALKY is contacted many children have reached crisis point.
  • Children have significant unmet legal need
  • Children don’t know they have rights or that CLC can help
  • CHALKY needs to go digital to reach children directly
  • Many vulnerable young people who don’t know their rights and don’t have adult support, are not receiving services
  • Young people need accessible legal information and advice made available to them online
  • When young people receive legal advice their lives change

 

The Solution

The user research group youth@clc, CLC staff and the Techie refined what the prototype needs to do:

  • easy to find online and use,
  • help young people solve their problems
  • easy for vulnerable young people to find solutions to their problems before they reach crisis.

The digital solution – a Microsoft Chat Bot, ‘Chalky Law Chat’,  provides:

  • Level 1 basic accessible legal information on  NI law relevant to children
  • Level 2 quick, easy pathways to bite size chunks of legal info and advice in pdf format for children needing more specific information about their particular circumstances
  • Connecting young people with complex legal enquiries to CHALKY, other agencies and/or to emergency services

Changed

  • Went with web based for proto-type because of Facebook “scandal”/privacy issues
  • Prototype needed to focus on 2 areas of law to test functionality of the Bot

Lessons Learnt:

  • The huge potential of the solution to enable CLC to provide support to the most vulnerable children
  • The Bot will change the way CLC delivers advice directly to children in the future, requiring significant organisational change and restructuring
  • The replicability of the model to other advice agencies
  • Need for buy in across the organisation
  • Need to develop a good business plan to secure future funding/sponsorship

Functionality we’ve developed include:

Checklists
The checklists guide tenants on what questions they should ask. They are:

  • Before you take on a tenancy – 12 things to check
  • Viewing a property – external
  • Viewing a property – internal
  • Your tenancy agreement – what to check for
  • Questions for your new landlord

Tools
The tools will help tenants prepare for the different stages throughout their rental journey. There is:

  • Housing Benefit calculator – Calculate how much housing benefit you could receive
  • Contact your landlord – email/letter template generator
  • Make an inventory – track the items in your house and their condition

 

Shelter NI

Shelter NI

Company: Shelter NI

Website

Shelter Northern Ireland was formed in 1980. Its Memorandum and Articles states that it is established to play a creative part in the life of Northern Ireland by relieving human suffering irrespective of colour, creed or class or religion and for the following 3 purposes:—

1. To relieve hardship and distress among the homeless and among those in need who are living in adverse housing conditions.

2. To make moneys available to housing associations and other bodies (whether corporate or not) whose aims being charitable are the relief of such hardship and distress.

3. To relieve poverty and distress.

Zoo Creative
We design and develop websites, branding, print, illustration, collateral / signage and take photographs.

The Challenge

Many people today are living in accommodation which for various reasons no longer suits their physical and social needs. Their homes require modifications to enable them to remain independent, safe and secure there for as long as possible. Unfortunately, for some, not even major adaptations to their properties will address their needs and they will need to move, but this is always the last resort for most.

For people in Northern Ireland living in the private sector (owner/occupiers & private tenants) whose homes can be adapted to suit their needs, there is very little practical support available when it comes to engaging the right people to do the work. In some situations, an Occupational Therapist will make recommendations on the works necessary and the NIHE will pay for the work if the person meets the eligibility criteria, through a grant, but when it comes to getting the works completed there is no information that helps the householder to find, select and engage an appropriate trade.

Shelter NI identified there was a real issue, years ago when we witnessed vulnerable people suffering at the hands of rogue traders. The problems they experienced included:

  •  Being overcharged for work
  • Paying for work they did not need but were convinced was necessary
  • Bad workmanship
  • Unfinished work
  • Intimidation

 

We know this is a more general problem for older people from the research done by the Joseph Rountree Foundation around the UK.

To address this need, Shelter NI developed a process approximately 7 years ago and has been delivering it since. It is currently all done through email, post and telephone, is administratively cumbersome and takes many hours to resource it properly. It includes:

  • Vetting traders to ensure they are bonafide
  • Monitoring them against performance indicators our users have told us are important to them
  • Collecting customer feedback
  • Comparing like for like prices

Using this process we can now demonstrate that

  • People are empowered to select a trade that will complete the works they need
  • The process is fair and transparent
  • It provides safeguarding measures for users that did not already exist
  • It is well monitored
  • It produces consistently high satisfaction rates

 

The Solution

Through the TiR programme, as our project developed we recognised the need to be absolutely clear and precise about the processes that are essential to ensuring that basic software will deliver a workable product. Through discussing the best way for users to search for trades, and the algorithm best suited to produce and display search results to the user we began to develop the idea of building in a map feature to display tradespeople in terms of proximity to the user. This feature is planned for our next phase of development. Throughout the process we also developed our ideas regarding monitoring and reporting, and recognized how crucial this would be to us in managing the scheme effectively. Subsequently, going forwards we plan to develop enhanced reporting systems. Many of our original ideas were able to be successfully realized, or improved due to frequent and open communication and collaboration with the Techies.

We are firmly convinced our Trusted Trader Scheme platform has huge potential to create a safe place for our clients to select a Builder or Trade specialist and be very certain that they will not be ripped off or harmed. Our easy to understand and user-friendly tool will help vulnerable people in particular to obtain the information they need to choose trades that best suit their requirements, thus empowering them to make the right choices for themselves, and live fulfilled lives. This will reduce strains on the health and social care sector too, as entirely preventable falls, injuries, hospitalizations and early entry into care or residential homes will be reduced through making people’s homes safe and suitable for them.

Drake Music

Drake Music

Company: Drake Music

Website

Drake Music is the leading national organisation working in music, disability and technology.

Oin Interactive
We have been in the Website Design / Multimedia business for over 12 years. We are based in Newry, but work with clients from all around the world. We deliver high quality services in several different areas, Whether the project we undertake is for an individual, a small or big business, we will work closely with you during the design process to better understand your products/services and help you solve problems and achieve goals.

The Challenge

Drake Music NI – signposting for support

We want to merge the world of assistive technology properly with mainstream platforms and afford true integration to the digital world for people with disabilities. We want this app to give support channels to the very wide variety of people who need access to technology advice, companies, repair options, compatibility advice and support.

On the route from a good access switch that a person uses to the successful independent control of a piece of software by that same person, there are many specialisms, choices, training, tech steps and peer hints and tips that can be read and found useful, indeed critical to the successful choice of an integrated and well supported solution for that person with disabilities. Once the access is sorted and the switch and the platform are married well, there is the need for continued support, repairs, maintenance, training and that is where access to training, companies of suppliers, workshop choices, peer association and therapy associations can all feed in – and all be accessed through this app.

Wider than a signposting app, we want to eventually support a forum for communication, questions, discussions and peer advice and association, for professional advice and communication. We aim to provide evolving content, as the technology develops, and new and exciting options and interfaces become available for the community of users who have disabilities and rely on good quality functioning interfacing to interact with their world, on social media, on creative platforms, gaming platforms, communications platforms, employment software environments, medical interventions etc.

The scope for integration of this app across many professional teams, therapy professions, teaching and learning, transport access and back to work support networks and peer learning is very exciting and could easily be grown across professions, sectors, age groups and languages seamlessly and without huge cost barriers.

The challenge for the Drake music project is to have a place where all their users can find transparent and independent access to solving problems, answering queries, getting actual support, advice and communication from a wide variety of sources and resources available in the app which can signpost, inform, support, list training and workshop opportunities and act as a forum.

The Solution

We have worked to streamline the action of fact finding, for people with disabilities and their peer and support network. This has resulted in us developing frameworks for how people with particular natures of disabilities search for information. We have developed threads for actionables for people with learning disabilities, threads for people with sensory disabilities, threads for people with physical access issues, threads for support workers who have a very different and time precious search protocol. The complex and at times intertwined ways that different people with very varied cognitive pathways and expectations of websites use them has been a challenging learning curve. We met with a test group and immediately our workload tripled when we listened to the expectations, frustrations and very unexpected ways that our user groups and their peers and support network have to go about finding the resources, products, support and activities that they seek.

We have aimed very high in terms of accessibility for the presentation and thread tracking on our site, and also for the colour aspects of roll overs and shading, considering the effect on our visitors with sensory issues.

Potential:

Because of the commitment we have made to full accessibility in terms not only of access, but content revision, content categories and research discussions, we are confident that our site will enhance the lives of our users, and community of support, professionals and peer visitors to our site. The ‘conversational’ element of the site, which we plan through forums and community signins, will support review, comment and feedback aspects; will continue to develop and organically grow to become one that users can access, review content, easily submit content for consideration, and will all in turn derive quality information and signposting with critical and managed peer reviews and updates.

Belfast Unemployed Resource Centre

Belfast Unemployed Resource Centre

Company: Belfast Unemployed Resource Centre

Website

iTeam

The Challenge

In recent years the Belfast Unemployed Resource Centre (BURC) has become an access point for many adult foreign nationals (including migrants, refugees and asylum seekers) for their orientation, inclusion and integration as they seek to make a successful transition and to build new lives for themselves and their families. We want to design and deliver an app in several languages, plus related podcasts, which will help them to understand as quickly as possible the practicalities of day to day life in a new country:

The Solution

Ideas developed

  • A website with a substantial bank of first thoughts, guidance and links to relevant statutory bodies, communities, groups and charities, that can provide up to date information on areas of interest to foreign nationals coming to live in our community

  • A community of practice in which both providers and beneficiaries can share knowledge, understanding and experiences in three different languages (currently Arabic, Polish and Somali)

Potential

The model that has been developed as a prototype and proof of concept in the Belfast environment is being recognised as one that has potential for use in other geographical areas:

  • Locally in Northern Ireland
  • Nationally in the British Isles
  • Internationally, especially in countries where there are significant numbers of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers.

The concept can be disseminated through the development of online resources, related face to face training and mentoring so that other organisations can become aware of what has been done in Belfast and can design, document and deliver localised solutions to similar challenges that they encounter in the community where they work.

In addition, the BARTER concept has been identified as a possible model for further development. Based on an amalgam of the TIMEPEACE concept under development in London and TIMEBANKING developed by Volunteer Now in Belfast, there is an opportunity to create an App through which individuals can exchange skills, experience and knowledge; for example, English Language practice in exchange for music lessons, Cooking in exchange for help with the garden. Preliminary discussions have indicated that an innovation of this type has considerable potential to build harmonious and sustainable relationships among members of both local and migrant communities.