23rd July 2018

Team up for award after app puts vulnerable children in control

Somerset County Council’s use of a new piece of technology that helps alleviate young people’s anxiety has put it in line for a national award.

Mind of My Own is an app used by children in care, care leavers and their social workers to share good news and sort out problems.

It allows children to be at the centre of their care as they can speak up anytime and anywhere they want – using a phone, tablet or computer.

Messages sent through the app can be picked up and responded to by any of the team providing support to the sender.

The Council has now been nominated for the ‘Most Creative MOMO Comms’ award by MOMO and one of the Council’s young champions, Ryan, will be giving a presentation about his experiences at the ceremony in Birmingham later this week.

The Council’s Children’s Service signed-up for the programme in May 2017 and created MOMO Champions, including young people who had campaigned for the app.

Take up in Somerset has been excellent and it has quickly become one of the top MOMO-friendly local authorities in the UK. There are now an impressive 130-plus children and young people using the app across the county.

“MOMO gives children looked after and care leavers control in their lives by giving them the opportunity to get things off their chest which could be very personal to them,” said Ryan.

“It also gives them the chance to let issues go, no matter what time – for instance if they had a problem at 3am and couldn’t sleep, they can send a MOMO and get it off their chest.”

Frances Nicholson, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Families said: “‘Somerset’s children in care and care leavers have made real use of the MOMO app in the last year.

“Being able to speak up anytime, anywhere really helps the children and young people to solve problems and move forward. It is also an essential part of Children’s Services’ improvement journey.

“Hearing children’s voices is crucial to making sure children really are at the centre of their care.  I am very proud that Somerset has been nominated for a MOMO award, and of Ryan for being up for presenting at the ceremony in Birmingham.  I wish him every success on the day.”

The team in Children’s Social Care works with social workers, leaving care teams, the fostering team and all other relevant support groups to make sure they use MOMO with their young people whenever possible.

This hard work has led to the team being shortlisted for the award.