Our scope of work spanned three phases, delivered over two years:
First, we co-designed the LifeLabs brand with the young people, and, through primary research and workshops, established the need for an online “video-based toolkit” of independent-living resources in five areas: DIY, managing money, reducing energy consumption, batch cooking, and mental wellbeing.
Second, we designed this portal with them, and produced 18 videos covering these themes.
Lastly, we developed a collaborative exhibition in IKEA Exeter: a chance for the young people to be seen and heard, and a celebration of skills learnt and friends made throughout the project.
With clear direction from co-design sessions with the young people, we developed an online portal which was a mobile and video first design; set up to stream videos that would be housed in YouTube; with a busy, vibrant look and feel which incorporated black and white images; and structured to allow for supporting back stories to be told through video and text.
The final phase was a collaborative exhibition in IKEA Exeter: a platform for care-experienced young people to be seen and heard, and to celebrate the skills they’d learnt and the friendships they’d made during the project.
The exhibition involved workshops and creating behind the scenes videos, which were streamed as part of the exhibition and also added to the portal along with supporting content about the young people’s personal journeys.
* The co-creation process had a huge impact on the care-experienced young people involved. They formed friendships and grew in confidence as they learnt new independent living skills.
* Within six months, there were over 1,200 unique users of the portal and over 1,100 views across the videos – from a 800 person target audience.
* As a result of the positive impacts delivered from this pilot project, Barnardo’s supported by IKEA are expanding it to a nationwide programme – with the potential to reach 150,000 young people in or leaving care.
* For the first time, a care-experienced young person has been employed by Barnardo’s to help co-ordinate the expansion.
* Systemic change: the project was aligned with key findings from IKEA and Barnardo’s 2021 research report which highlighted the difficulties young people face when they leave care. Recommendations were presented to the Government in response to the England care system review.
* Minimised carbon emissions: despite the length and scale of this project, a large portion was worked on through the Covid pandemic. Travel was therefore restricted and so carbon emissions were kept relatively low as the majority of the project was managed virtually.
* Due to early success from the co-creation approach, Barnardo’s corporate partner IKEA decided to support the project with £75,000, which enabled the creation of the online portal, videos and supporting content, and the exhibition.
* Following the project, IKEA extended their corporate partnership with Barnardo’s by 12 months, donating an additional £70,000 to support this expansion.
*IKEA’s additional £70,000 will help LifeLabs to:
– Recruit a young care-leaver to a new role to lead the roll-out
– Develop the portal’s functionality
– Create new content for the portal
– Run skills workshops with groups of young care-leavers across the country.