Nebula Labs has worked with South Tyneside Council (STC) to develop digital solutions that help improve the lives of some of the most vulnerable groups. Two projects have been delivered after working closely with clients and user groups to develop appropriate, accessible solutions.
STC commissioned Nebula Labs to develop a solution to help people with learning disabilities and social workers communicate, with the aim of strengthening the voice of the client.
‘Natternotes’ was developed in collaboration with social workers and clients, providing an accessible, 2-way communication tool, using text, video, audio, and images - allowing easy, informal communications that improves results and outcomes.
Natternotes enables people with learning disabilities lead more engaged, rewarding lives, helping them participate more fully in decisions that shape their life, resulting in better outcomes and a reduced engagement with health and social care services.
In the wider context Natternotes can potentially be developed to support other areas of social work e.g. dementia care.
STC also identified a need to provide a more effective method of handling children in care’s memories and life stories. Young people in care may find themselves in multiple placements over a number of years which can result in possessions, including a physical box of memories, being misplaced or damaged.
Young people and Foster Carers were inspired by the concept of a “virtual memory box” – a secure digital space to hold photographs of occasions, achievements, people, their voices or videos, and places that have meaning from a time in their life. Foster Carers and Social Workers also identified an opportunity to use the content to better understand the child they are supporting, and to initiate discussions.
The solution developed by Nebula Labs provides a structured online solution to allow “memories” to be saved. There is a chronological timeline to scroll through, or users can search through key thematic “tags”.
Foster carers and social work staff help build the memory box, uploading content, providing narrative and responding to comments from the young person.
There is potential for the Virtual Memory Box to be introduced into adult social care environment, benefitting people recovering from brain injury or suffering from Dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Nebula Labs, with South Tyneside Council, are now working on scaling up the digital solutions with a view to increasing accessibility to users locally, regionally and nationally, so other local authorities and partners can benefit, with the potential of helping make a positive impact on many more vulnerable people’s lives.