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Project kick off meeting with our new friends from @sandwellcouncil today - looking forward to getting cracking!, posted 17 days ago

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To Facebook or not to Facebook!?

To Facebook or not to Facebook!?

Yesterday I attended a training and consultation workshop on Social Software and Promoting Participation with Young People, hosted by Katie Bacon (what a great name!).
 
We went along with CERNIS our new partners (see previous blog ) to find out more about how social media platforms such as Facebook can be used safely, in particular for sensitive projects such as ours which is in relation to child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS).
 
Primarily we were looking to understand what measures can be put in place with regards to managing the posts and comments yet still facilitating an environment where young people can participate freely.
 
The session was great, very informative, interesting and interactive.  We looked at how youth workers can manage their own social networking site (SNS) and the advice that can be given to young people. We discussed the implications of creating an online community and how you can facilitate a balance between functions that enhance the content but also functions that protect the members from harassment.
 
We’re looking to use a virtual platform to support the workshops with young people that are being carried out by CERNIS across the country – where information and feedback can be shared and participants can monitor the progress of the project and see feedback from other sessions. We’ve decided to use a blog called More Thoughts as the main platform but were also considering a Facebook profile page to help to communicate with the young people when new content is posted (as an alternative to email) and to generate interest. All of the tools seem to be available for controlling who see’s, edits and moderates the content on the page, however the one big stumbling block that we could not see a way around was the inability to be able to hide the friends list from the profile.
 
However, even though on this occasion we have decided not to use Facebook in particular, lots of other ideas and suggestions were made on how to generate interest and bring our blog to life with free tools that are available online. We’re going to include a video introduction to welcome people along, we will also look to include videos from the sessions (creatively preventing anyone from being identifiable), use Google maps with points to show where Anna and co are holding their workshops as well as photos and progress so far, and other little features such as a Wordle to make the content more interesting.
 
There’s a lot to do as the first workshop begins in Norfolk on Tuesday!

Created on Friday August 06 2010 08:45 AM


Tags: blog google youth young-people online-tool cernis facebook social-media


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A great weekend at Bristol Harbour Festival

A great weekend at Bristol Harbour Festival

Had a great weekend at Bristol Harbour Festival this weekend - the weather held out (apart from a small down-pour on Saturday night!), there were some great acts and loads of stuff to do for young people.

Highlights for me included beat boxer extraordinaire Vid Warren, Kid Carpet (always good for a giggle) and the bizarre but incredible youth theatre production Run (on King Street on Saturday afternoon), organised by Bristol Old Vic's Young Company.

A couple of our clients were out in force too - namely Go Places Do Things and Go Places to Play, who were there to promote Play Day 2010 - taking place this Wednesday 4th August!

All in all, a brilliant weekend showcasing Bristol's talent, and best of all, it's completely free!

Thanks Bristol City Council - had a great time!!




BCC and Focus join forces for the ENGAGE_YOUTH workshop

BCC and Focus join forces for the ENGAGE_YOUTH workshop

I have had the pleasure this morning to support Les Compton of Bristol City Council with presenting our website Go Places Do Things at the Engage event at the Watershed.

The workshop was arranged to discuss digital tools for participation and active citizenship with participants from the UK, Germany and Denmark.

ENGAGE is a continuing professional development programme for European youth workers who wish to understand the new ICT-enabled culture and explore how web 2.0 and social media tools can help to extend and enhance their practice.

Les and I went along to talk about our participation with young people while developing and evolving the GPDT site, as well as discussing the challenges that we have faced and the plans for the future. We discussed the access we have given to youth workers and other activity providers for adding their own events and direct feeds that have been set up from the BCC events online and 1 Big Database.

After Bristol the programme will move to Aarhus, Denmark and then on to Hannover in Germany where participants will continue to develop their understanding of how developments in ICT and online technologies can amplify and extend the voice of young people in European society.

The session was really interesting and we had the opportunity to discuss the other online solutions that people have set up, as well as talking about how to get young people to participate and engage as young editors on website content.

I will certainly be following the progress of the programme via the Engage website and will be looking to keep in touch with some of the participants at the workshop.




New partnership and project win

We are very excited to announce that we have joined forces with CERNIS Ltd an independent London based company specialising in the development and improvement of children’s services and we have gone and won our first tender!

We will be working together to develop a new online tool to assist with evidencing the impact of young people’s participation on the mental health services that they receive.

The direct engagement of young people has been central to policy in recent years as a means of informing commissioners and service providers. This has been influential in delivering improvements to practice and lasting outcomes. This programme will build on previous work in this area, but by introducing a web based platform, far more young people will be able to become involved.

Workshops with groups of young people will be taking place across the country to gain their feedback on the look, feel, features and functionality of the tool and how it should be used. The application is scheduled to be launched in early 2011.

We’ll keep you posted on progress!

Created on Tuesday July 13 2010 04:17 PM


Tags: participation young-people online-tool cernis


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Life in a Day - one of the biggest user generated content experiments ever!

Life in a Day - one of the biggest user generated content experiments ever!

Google and Youtube announced one of the most far reaching and ambitious (and ruddy exciting!) user generated content experiments yesterday.

Life in a Day is a film project, asking people the world over to upload a film of a day in their life - specifically July 24th, 2010.

The idea is to get as many people as possible to upload their films, which will then be sifted through by such illuminati as Ridley Scott (no less!) and edited down to a feature length film to take to the Sundance Film Festival.

Never ones to shy away from a challenge, we'll be weilding our acting / production / general 'luvvie' skills and winding up to the big day on 24th July.

Keep you posted with any storylines as they take shape, and of course any news of irreconcilable artistic differences!

Any ideas of what we should do, or if you want to submit something for us to include, get in touch!

Created on Thursday July 08 2010 04:11 PM


Tags: youtube video google film lifeinaday


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Learning Partnership West website live

Learning Partnership West website live

As we announced previously Connexions West of England is now called Learning Partnership West and we have just launched their new website.

This is the first phase of the project set up to promote the new brand and services. Additional phases are in the pipeline that will see the introduction of user accounts for access to additional features and a whole new area for the Shared Commissioning Services.

You can see the website here and LPW would love to receive your comments on the site and/or questions about their service.

The new Connexions West website (a delivery branch of LPW), which will be purely tailored towards their young service users, will be launched at the beginning of September. It will include a new website design and tools such as an online CV builder and eConsultations – making the organisations online offering far more interactive.

Created on Friday July 02 2010 10:40 AM


Tags: corporate-brand connexions website web-design


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Two beautifully executed ideas that have nothing in common

Two beautifully executed ideas that have nothing in common

Whilst we normally write about matters of the web, we think it's sometimes good to pause and reflect on other creative disciplines that can inspire our general life. 

Here are two short pieces that are brilliant and worth seeing no matter what you're interested in. Thank you to Creative Review for spotting them first.

 



Parkour flipbook animation:

 

Amnesty International: Death to the Death Penalty:

Created on Thursday July 01 2010 01:52 PM


Tags: video animation


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Top 4 sites for live world cup scores

Top 4 sites for live world cup scores

If you're like me then you get very excited about the World Cup for a very short amount of time, and it's a great way to feel patriotic and part of something bigger than your daily life. 

So in honour of the possibility of England staying in the World cup long enough to give us something to shout about, here's my 4 favourite websites to see live scores (especially when you're at work during the matches):

No.1 : Yahoo Sport

Colourful and bright, this is a good option if you want photos and articles to distract you once you've glanced at the scores.

 

No.2 : Soccerway.com

Whilst the live matches are clearly laid out and pleasant to look at, the rest of the information on the page is a bit oppressive.

 

No.3 : Flashscores.com

Minimal and clean, this layout gives it to you on a plate...if you don't mind ignoring all the advertisements.

 

No.4 : Google.com

Last but not least, Google have been kind enough to reward anyone searching with anything relavent to the 'World Cup' the latest scores for matches on at the moment.  With a clear and instantly readable layout, good old Google have sneakily given us everything we've ever wanted....again.

Created on Tuesday June 22 2010 03:00 PM


Tags: website ux fun


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Easton Arts Trail 2010

Easton Arts Trail 2010

Originally started in 2006, the Easton Arts Trail (Bristol) is proving to be 'one of those community things' that actually works.  This year, the Easton Arts Trail 2010 took place in 30 different venues, including open houses, local churches, community venues, cafes and pubs, with over 55 artists and arts groups exhibiting artwork, performing and running workshops and other activities.

Focus' Simon M. and Emily B. were two of hundreds of people who followed the trail through small start up studios, hijacked pubs and peoples living rooms.  Simon M. also took the opportunity to exhibit some photos from his brother-in-law's front room, which were well recevied.

With councils cutting budgets left right and centre, this is one project that seems to have really made the sun shine in Easton and Bristol would be a lesser place without it. Check out their website for more information: www.eastonartstrail.co.uk

 

Created on Monday June 14 2010 09:21 AM


Tags: grass-roots bristol


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Bristol's Deputy Lord Mayor helps to launch Bristol Parenting Hub!

Bristol's Deputy Lord Mayor helps to launch Bristol Parenting Hub!

As part of National Families Week, Emily went along to the launch event for Bristol City Council's Bristol Parenting Hub website last Wednesday, and met the Deputy Lord Mayor!

The site, designed to signpost parents of children and young people of all ages to key pieces of information regarding their children's upbringing, had a great response, and we hope to see user numbers grow over the coming months.

We're always looking to add to the information carried on there, so take a look and let us know what you think!