Children’s Health Scotland, a leading Scottish children’s health charity, wanted to create a space for children and young people with long-term health conditions living in Scotland to come together and connect with each other in a safe and secure online environment. Driving social inclusion and improving the health and wellbeing of children and young people with health conditions was at the heart of this project.
The vision for the digital platform was to connect children and build confidence through accessing information and developing skills that could help them with their health conditions.
The platform’s purpose was to:
To facilitate the above, the online space needed discussion boards, messaging and video call functionality, as well as accessible resources. Importantly, it needed to meet the needs of different age groups.
Key to the ultimate success of the project was listening to the children and young people themselves from the outset and involving them from early development through to post-launch, to build and evolve the programme to meet their needs.
Digital Bricks Learning partnered with Children’s Health Scotland to build the programme within our dynamic moodle based learning platform.
We had to be sure that the users would be comfortable with the technology and understand what would benefit them most from a digital resource. By engaging them in the design process as co-creators, this helped plan the online space and map out the content and activities.
The design was as important to us as the content and technology. We know that good design increases uptake and keeps people logging in. The platform needed to be easy to use and navigate, colourful and friendly, simple for small screens, inclusive and accessible. It had to engage the user so that they wanted to participate and learn. The design we created was fun, informal and friendly, with vibrant colours, icons and illustrations.
Together with Children’s Health Scotland, the digital solution we delivered gives an online six-week group programme which seeks to improve confidence, self-esteem and communication skills through health and wellbeing discussions, games, relaxation and peer support.
Two programmes were created, one for children aged 9-12 and another for young people aged 13-17. Each programme consists of two one-hour sessions delivered each week.
The online sessions have an informal atmosphere with a mixture of interactive activities to help each participant get to know other young people on the programme in a safe, secure space. Content was developed for the coaches to deliver a range of topics including:
The SMS:CONNECT Programme was launched across Scotland in 2020. Feedback from the young people who have participated in the Programmes to date has been hugely positive, particularly around improved communications skills, confidence, self-esteem and social inclusion.
The programme won the Digital Innovator Self-Management Award at the 2021 Self-Management Awards organised by ALLIANCE.
This self-management system continues to connect children all over the country to support their health and wellbeing.
Find out more here: www.childrenshealthscotland.org/service/smsconnect/