A team from Barnardo’s, the UK’s largest children’s charity, supports young people at HMP and YOI Polmont, situated in Falkirk, Central Scotland. The Barnardo’s team also support vulnerable young people in the wider community of Falkirk, Scotland. Nine young people attended the workshops organised by Project Soothe, seven of these individuals expressed an interest in taking part. From this, five young people formed the team ‘Time Oot’. Although the team managed to design their tool, the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns unfortunately meant the team did not manage to pilot and evaluate their wellbeing tool. However, we talked to our Young Citizen Scientists on the Time Oot team about the creative and exciting design of their tool.
How did you come to design your tool?
Firstly, we explored research about different ways people feel relaxed and less anxious, with the help of our project co-ordinator. After researching this, we decided we would design and create a chilled-out room for 1 person to use at a time for approximately 15-20 minutes. The idea for this room is to help people and to give the person somewhere to go when they need a bit of time to themselves. With this being the idea, we decided to name our project ‘Time Oot’. We decided on a two-part programme that combines a peer support group session and an individual soothing ‘themed’ experience.
Can you describe the two parts of the programme?
Of course! The Group Time Oot sessions will include two young people from the Time Oot team, who will facilitate a peer support group session with the support of Alana, Liz and Angela. The session will be a ‘light-touch’ supportive space for young people to talk about their mental health and wellbeing. At the beginning of the session participants will be asked to complete a brief questionnaire which rates their mood and wellbeing. They will also be asked to complete a similar questionnaire at the end of the session to capture any changes in mood and wellbeing elicited by the experience. During the group time participants will take turns to have individual ‘Time Oot’ in the immersive experience room. There will also be 15 minutes at the end of the session for tea, coffee, and biscuits. At the end of the session, each participant will be provided with a pack of 50 Project Soothe photographs based on the theme of the session, to keep and use in their own time to support their mental health and wellbeing.
The Individual Time Oot sessions will involve each young person spending 10-15 minutes in the themed room with the support of one of the Project Champions (Alana or Liz). The theme of the room will either be Garden, Forest, Seaside and Summer. The room is designed to soothe all five senses: sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste.
Can you please describe your tool and the themes?
Our room will have 4 different themes and every day it will be different. The 4 looks/themes we have chosen are: summer, seaside, forest, and garden. We have decided to focus the Time Oot space around the five senses. In the room we will have different scents for each different theme, and it will be sprayed before someone enters and we plan to use a sensory spray originally developed for people with dementia to elicit memories. There will be different objects to feel and touch, such as pinecones for the forest theme, and shells for the seaside theme. Pictures and photos from the Project Soothe database will be shown on posters, with mood lights to complement the themes. There will also be paper and pens/pencils to use while in the room, as some people find drawing and writing soothing. We thought that taste could be explored by including snacks relating to the themes, such as a popsicle or lollipop for the seaside theme, or berries for the forest theme. For touch, there will be items in the room for the young person to explore, such as pinecones for the forest theme, and shells for the seaside theme.
In this ‘Time Oot’ room, there will also be music or soundscapes to create the sound of the day. Having music and mood lighting will also allow the room to be very calming for the individual using the room. We have also chosen to have beanbags in our room. Beanbags will let the person relax and be comfy. At the end of the sessions there will be feedback forms to be filled in anonymously to allow our group to work on or change anything to our room if needed. The feedback forms will also allow the person to ask for a peer mentor if they feel they need they need more support after leaving out ‘Time Out’ room.