Council invests in new app to help young people make their voices heard

Aberdeen City Council has formally adopted a new app to help care-experienced young people make their voices heard.

At an event today (Wednesday 31 July) at Westburn Resource Centre, staff and young people were among the audience giving their feedback on the Mind of My Own app which has been on trial since March.

The app enables young users to make their voices heard and make decisions on their lives by saying how they are feeling, what support they need and to tell their care worker about the things that are important to them.

Councillor John Wheeler, Education Operational Delivery Convener, was on hand to see the app in operation. Councillor Wheeler said: “Participation and joint-decision making are at the heart of our engagement with the city’s children and young people and underlines why we are striving to become a Unicef Child Friendly City.

“It was great to see how the Mind of My Own app will really help our care-experienced young people to shape their futures. We have invested in technology and staff training to help improve still further our engagement with the young people in our care.

“I understand that initial feedback has been excellent and that both the young people and our workers are finding Mind of My Own easy to use, with immediate positive results being shown”.

Aberdeen City Council’s Integrated Children and Family Service joins over 75 organisations from across the world investing in the pioneering technology which has been co-designed with children and young people including young people in Aberdeen.

The app which uses child-focused language and design to encourage young people to share their thoughts using a tablet, phone or games console, is a world first and gives children and young people the opportunity to share their views at times when there may not be professionals available to talk.

One young user was full of praise for the Mind of My Own app and said it: “‘has really helped because often when I have a problem, I need it fixed now but it can't always be because my workers are busy or off, or it's a weekend.

“So even if I'm having a tough day and feel like it can't wait, I can rest easy knowing that my worker will see the report I sent, via the app, first thing in the morning or when they get to work and then it can start to be sorted.

“It also helps me because sometimes it's hard for me to describe what's happening or why I'm struggling. I may have a gift of writing and words but often it's tricky for me to say my problem, so writing it for someone to read makes it easier. The emojis help too because expressing how I'm feeling is something I find hard. I tend to hide it until I can't cope anymore. It's nice to be able to tell my worker roughly how I'm feeling with faces and it's handy that you can pick more than one.'

Mind of My Own director Jill Thorburn said: “It’s fantastic to be working with Aberdeen City Council to bring Mind of My Own to the children and young people they support. We’re driven by our vision of ensuring all children’s voices are heard, so we can’t wait to start seeing how we can help children and young people using social care services in the area make a difference in their lives.”

Photograph shows: Councillor John Wheeler (centre) with Children’s Rights Development Assistants (left to right) Tiffany Burnett, Megan Rhynd, Jason Urquhart, Megan Pirie, (Lead Champion for Mind of My Own Implementation) and Renee Bertram.