Pop Out is our idea is to support families in Lambeth and Southwark who lack confidence to engage with new services and visit new places and do not have social networks to turn to. We want to encourage families to make the most of what their immediate neighbourhood has to offer. We have had success in reaching isolated families through the delivery of our ‘Parent Champions’ programme, a peer to peer support model that uses volunteers to encourage parents to take up early learning services.
We would like to build on this model by recruiting ‘Pop Out’ Champion: volunteers that encourage other parents, perhaps by going with them in the first instance, to use both the formal (e.g. early learning, library) services and those less prescriptive spaces (e.g. parks and other green spaces, places to train spot, things to climb, buggy friendly cafes). Pop Out Champions, supported by print and online resources, would develop parents’ confidence and capability to explore their neighbourhood and encourage them to build on the experiences together with their children once back home.
So that is our initial premise and we’ve been doing a lot of thinking, talking, reading, flip-charting, questioning, photographing and filming over the last few weeks as we begin to test and further shape the Pop Out idea. We have posted online questionnaires through various local fora, conducted face-to-face questionnaires with parents at East Street Market (freezing!) and at school gates (hectic!) , got families to mark their favourite places for play on a local map, talked to parents at an Eid event organised by Lambeth Parent Champions and had really interesting conversations/shared the panic with fellow Knee Highers.
We have been genuinely delighted with the positive response to our idea, people could see the need, particularly for families that were newly arrived in the area or where parents were feeling particularly isolated and lacking in confidence, but also for families that just needed some inspiration and motivation to explore opportunities for play inside and outside the house. They confirmed our assumptions that different parents would prefer different communication and information channels so that we would need varying resources from Pop Out Champions meeting other parents, to signposting to activities, to hard copy materials to online interactive platform/s.
Highlights for us included a wonderful sunny Thursday last week where we conducted some in depth interviews with three parents, Maria, Maurice and Janine, extracts of which we have used in our film. We had great fun mapping and snapping formal and informal places for play within a half mile radius of where Janine, one of the stars of our film, lives.
We also had a really useful meeting with Frontier Economics who got us excited about some of the fun ways we could involve and incentivise Pop Out Champions and parents through ‘gaming’ their participation and drawing on their sense of competition and community simultaneously.
With only a few days to go before the deadline, we now have nearish final versions of our presentation and video and are just working on the final tweaks with the designer we have asked to help us – thanks Abbey.
It’s been an intense process so far and we’ve sometimes found it tricky to balance the time we want to spend testing our idea with the time we need to spend in creating the film and presentation outputs. We have learnt a whole lot and hopefully our video and presentation capture enough of this.
The families we have talked to have all been so passionate about the life enhancing experiences they have had when they have embraced the opportunities for play in their local neighbourhood we just want to get Pop Out Champions out there, spreading the word!
Thank you for giving us this opportunity.
Helen, Family and Childcare Trust