A digital annual report that puts people at its heart. A project that helps students into digital careers.

Mental health charity the Restoration Trust has collaborated with digital storytelling agency Muddle Up and Medway-based social enterprise futureCodersSE to create A Year of Doing and Making, a digital annual report. The report uses audio to give a voice to people with mental health problems, and has given student software developers valuable work experience. It seeks to build an engaging connection between the public, funders, and the people they work with.

A Year of Doing and Making features audio interviews with participants on Restoration Trust projects as well as staff and partners. Participants speak freely about what they enjoyed about the project and the impact that it has had on their lives. The audio files play throughout the report.

The Restoration Trust helps people engage with heritage, art and culture so that their mental health improves. Projects at Stonehenge, Norfolk Record Office and Norwich Arts Centre are co-produced with participants, so it is appropriate that they describe their experience directly to the public and funders who support the charity’s work. Director Laura Drysdale says: ‘we wanted our annual report to embody our values, so it is inclusive, accessible, and pleasurable. We have to produce an Annual Report, so why not make it engaging and beautiful?’

A Year of Doing and Making was built by the budding developers at futureCodersSE, with some mentoring from Google volunteers. They have created a web-based, digital interface that makes use of browser-based programming and implements extensive photo galleries, audio playlists, video and evolving graphics. Building the report gave two students, Anthony Funai and Jamie Knott, an opportunity to work on a software project from start to finish, to take part in Agile project planning, team-based code development and review, and a variety of testing methods, including unit and regression testing. Karen Scott, Founder and Director, explains the importance of the project for the students.

‘Young people who are leaving full-time education, but not planning to go to university, find it very difficult to get a foot on the career ladder in the software industry. This is often because they lack experience, confidence and a network of contacts in the industry. After over 20 years of teaching some talented programmers, I set up futureCodersSE to help students to gain experience, confidence and a personal network. This is more effective when delivered outside the education setting.’

A Year of Doing and Making was designed by digital storytelling agency Muddle Up. “In constructing A Year of Doing and Making we sought to address participants’ concerns that so often people with a mental health diagnosis are not listened to. Audio interviews have ensured that people’s stories are told in the way that they want them to be. Their words have not been changed, or taken out of context.”

The digital report project was born through the RSA where Laura Drysdale (Restoration Trust), Zoe Tipler (Muddle Up) and Karen Scott (futureCodersSE), are all fellows.

futureCodersSE

futureCoders exists to provide high-quality, meaningful, project-based, work experience for young people aged 16–19, and so to produce skilled and confident software developers. Our projects enable us to create affordable, much needed software to help charities increase their digital presence.

We work with our young people, and volunteers, to build skills, confidence and personal networks. We help to improve the potential for a talented coder to get a foot on the ladder of a career in software development, without necessarily going to university. Our programme of activities includes: working with colleges, schools and youth centres to encourage and identify suitable students for work experience; working with employers to develop work experience programmes and to make assessments of young people’s skills; running monthly networking events for students and software professionals.

Working with charities and non-profits

We are keen to work with more charities to identify software needs and to develop exciting projects to help with their work. For more information karen@futurecoders.org.uk or visit http://www.futurecoders.org.uk

Restoration Trust

The Restoration Trust works in partnership with heritage/arts and health/social care bodies to provide ‘culture therapy’ for people with mental health problems.

‘Culture therapy’ helps people with mental health problems enjoy heritage, art and culture in a safe and effective way. We deliver projects in partnership with heritage/arts and health/social care bodies using resources and expertise from archives, archaeology, the historic environment, museums, visual art, music, creative writing and digital arts.

https://restorationtrust.org.uk

Muddle Up

Muddle Up is a digital storytelling agency founded by journalists. We work with charities and NGOs to develop content that helps them tell the story of their impact. We collaborate with the people organisations support so that they have control over their own story and the way that it is told. As a social impact storytelling agency our goal is to create content that bridges the communications gap between donors and beneficiaries. Our content drives new audiences and raises public awareness.

https://muddleup.com

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