Co-creating with students in Scotland
In Scotland, the Fife Society for the Blind works to make life with sight loss easier and allow people to be as independent as possible. To do this, they rely on volunteers with everything from helping with befriending services to fundraising and administration.
During the In For Care partner meeting in Dundee in March 2018, students from the Abertay University (Scotland), UC Syd (Denmark) and the University of Agder (Norway) sat down with Stuart Beveridge, a blind person representing the Fife Society.
"In For Care is all about finding new mechanisms for informal care. The idea is to help the younger generation of students to contribute to the volunteering work of the Fife society", says Dr. Kenneth Scott-Brown, senior lecturer at Abertay University.
Many volunteers, but hard to discover
According to numbers from The Coalition of Carers in Scotland, there are an estimated 759.000 carers in Scotland. The care that they provide is valued at over 10 billion British pounds each year. This is more than the entire health and social care workforce and private sector agencies combined.
Stuart Beveridge from the Fife Society talking with In For Care representatives at the partner meeting in Scotland.
In 2016, Scotland took a major step towards extending and enhancing the rights of unpaid carers with the introduction of the Carers (Scotland) act. The act is to ensure that carers are better supported in their caring role, and to ensure that they know their rights and get the help and support they are entitled to.
"There is a lot of appetite for volunteering in Scotland, but since there a lot of different agencies, the opportunities can be hard to discover. We want to make linking volunteers and and agencies as simple as possible", says Scott-Brown.
By working with a trusted brand like the Fife Society, the students get the experience and confidence of working with specialist user groups.
Here is Professor Daniel Gilmour explaining why Abertay University is part of the In For Care project.
Combining psychology and technology
The students presented ideas for two different apps during the workshop. One of them is a training app for volunteers working with people with low vision, the other one addressing the process of administering volunteering.
"We have gathered end users, the third sector, the public sector, academics and students. Two of our students are qualified carers as well. We combine psychology and technology to come up with novel solutions", says Scott-Brown.
Students and stakeholders working together with In For Care in Scotland.
After pitching their ideas and getting feedback from the In For Care project team and the Fife Society, one or both of the ideas can be developed further together with the Fife Society.
"Either way we will have learned something going on from this project. We might use techniques from the gaming industry and apply them to service redesign, says Scott-Brown.
At the same day of the meeting in Dundee, Abertay University was for the fourth consecutive year ranked best in Europe for their computer gaming courses.