We have been proud witness a whole range of achievements over the past couple of months; Tracey from Kids Connect, presenting un-phased to a room full of stakeholders with baby sick all down her top; Tom from Pop-up parks has been working with Nesta on their Rethinking Parks project; Plus the very creative Tea Ladies from Creative Homes managing to convert a stubborn 3 year old to tooth brushing in just 2 days!

We saw many exciting collaborations form within and between teams. The sharing culture was fantastic to see too; teams where sharing new knowledge, local who’s who and how to’s.

Then, the close of Stage One of the Design Challenge was swiftly upon us. The efforts from the 25 funded teams were, no less than inspiring. Each team submitted a 3 minute film and presentation that communicated what they had learnt through rapidly prototyping their projects in Southwark and Lambeth. We had followed teams into libraries, parks, shopping centres, children’s centres and homes, as they gained feedback and insights from local families and professionals which then aided the development of their proposals, whilst helping us get a fuller sense of what they were trying to achieve and how they were going out about it.


In mid December, the selection panel watched, read, rated and debated each project. Following a consultation with our board of Advisors, a decision was made on which teams with the most potential to impact the lives of children under five in Southwark and Lambeth.

The final set include ideas that span a range of approaches and are all at different stages of development. Stage Two will ask the teams to begin to build business models and use different types of testing to ensure they are having the greatest possible impact.

The teams are:

  1. Cook & Meet is a new program that supports and trains migrant parents to deliver People’s Kitchens in their local areas. The Kitchens aim to build family networks, employability and integration with local services and uses food from shops and markets that would otherwise go to waste. (Delivered by The Stockwell Partnership and Brixton People’s Kitchen)
  2. Creative Homes is the brainchild of a team of artists and designers. They aim to create an advice service as well as a range of productsthat promote interactive play within the home, and relieve day-to-day stress within a family. (Delivered by Tea Dance for Little People)
  3. FortyFi is a service that aims to help parents build and strengthen their social networks during pregnancy and mobilise this support in the postnatal period. (Delivered by Sally Walker, an entrepreneurial nanny)
  4. The Good Enough Mum’s Musical. The Good Enough Mums’ Club is a musical theatre production that aims to inspire parents to change the way they think about themselves, as well as empowering them to share their experiences and seek support and advice in more effective ways.  (Delivered by Emily Beecher in association with Spin Arts)
  5. Kids Connect is an online tool that offers accurate, relevant, and up to date information of local activities for parents. It aims to allow parents to plan journeys, share invitations and build confidence to access activities locally. (Delivered by entrepreneurial parents Hannah White, Tracey Gilbert and Ben White)
  6. Leapfrog Bus is a converted London Bus. This aim of the project is to provide an interactive & engaging travel experience for under 5s using effective spacial design to welcome and inspire families. (Delivered by Sara Tilley)
  7. Character Builders is a free digital service that builds self-regulation in young children through encouraging parent behaviour change. (Delivered by Character Counts and Save the Children)
  8. Crafty Explorers This enterprise is based in a high-street shop, providing families with stimulating missions that turn the outdoors into a world of discovery for parents and children. (Delivered by Mission:Explore, Lambeth City Farmers, Geography Collective)
  9. New Moments are looking at the challenges of early bonding between parent and baby. This service uses Video Interactive Guidance to provide parents with positive feedback on the relationship they have with their baby. The aim of this service is give parents every chance to form a strong bond with their baby in the first weeks and months of life. (delivered by The Mental Health Foundation)
  10. Pop-up Parks Intelligent Space is an enterprise looking at transforming neglected outdoors spaces. They aim to co-design pop-up-parks with local families in under-used outdoor spaces to encourage those who don’t use green spaces to play during their everyday lives. (Delivered by Tom Doust, Intelligent Space)
  11. The Dad Project The NSPCC aim to improve the emotional wellbeing of families with young children by providing more timely and relevant information and advice especially for dads. They aim to ensure all dads have the confidence to be as involved in their child’s live as they want to be. (Delivered by NSPCC)

Make, Take & Explore5

It is really important to us that we support and encourage teams that have not been taken through to push on with their projects outside this challenge. The panel recognised there is an incredible amount of potential in the ideas that have not made it through both the selection stages, and agree that offering some level of support for those projects would be very worthwhile. Additionally, and really excitingly for us, there has been some initial conversations from a couple of those teams about coming together to share what they have learnt and work on something new together.

Looking forward, we need to be encouraging each other to have the same level of energy and excitement about the next stage whilst ensuring difficult issues are being untangled and addressed through strong design and strategic thinking.

If you would like to get in touch with any of the teams, to offer advice or support, please email kneehigh @ designcouncil.org.uk