The Fostering Network is the UK’s leading fostering charity. In 2016, as part of the Inspiring Voices campaign, we worked with them to create a tool that would enable young people to reclaim the term ‘in care’, changing public perceptions of what being in care really means.
User research, digital and campaign strategy, user interface design, mobile development, graphic illustration and social media development.
There are 64,000 children living with 55,000 foster families in the UK. Every 20 minutes a child comes into care, needing a foster family. The chances are you’ve heard about young people who grow up in foster care being more likely to go to prison than to university, but have you heard about all the fantastic things that people who grow up in care achieve? Probably not.
We set out on a mission with The Fostering Network to create an online strategy and user-generated content campaign that would challenge stereotypes, address stigma and create inspiring stories. We Reclaimed Care.
The Fostering Network are passionate about the difference foster care makes to children and young people. Transforming lives is at the heart of everything they do. They work to ensure all fostered children have a positive experience of family life, have high aspirations, overcome challenges of their early lives and achieve their best.
The Fostering Network’s Vision:
That all children in foster care enjoy the very best life chances and have the opportunity to achieve their full potential.
In March 2015 The Fostering Network launched a year long initiative called ‘Inspiring Voices’, working directly with Young Ambassadors aged 18 to 25 who have left care. The project aimed to encourage a broader range of young people with care experience to play a part in shaping the design and delivery of services which impact on their lives.
It was identified that the main things that we can all do to give every child in care a chance to have their voice heard is to create conversation, inspire voices and ideas to become action and to cultivate understanding about what being in care means.
In Spring 2016 we created a platform which did just that.
The Reclaim Care campaign aimed to share the positive achievements of young people who are, or have been, in care by enabling them to share them, however big or small.
The goal? To demonstrate that these people can achieve many things in life and to enable them to reclaim the term ‘in care’ so that it’s viewed in a positive way.
We developed a strategy to enable young people to share their stories in a style and manner that they are proud of, with an audience of their choice. Their voices needed to be unified and powerful to change attitudes and behaviours. Everything needed to be underpinned with consideration and attention – their interests and challenges became ours.
“Through our work with LEWIS we were impressed with how young-person centred the design was and had positive feedback from young people, foster carers and fostering teams. I am really happy with the reach of the campaign and felt privileged to share and read the moving stories of so many of the people we work to support.”
The Fostering Network
It was clear from the research that young people admired the creative tone and messaging in campaigns such as MTV’s ‘Someone Like Me’ and ‘Join the Fight’ for World Aids Day; short statements and bold imagery without any personal images. We put the power in their hands and developed a meme generator they could use to tell their story.
The process to generate the meme was simple: select whether you’re in or have left care, type in an achievement and the feeling that it created. The generator then selected one of 44 pattern options and applied one of five colours to create a unique and inspiring piece of content. Pressing ‘regenerate’ changed the pattern and colour to give users the option to find the combination that most resonated with them.
All memes were shared using the hashtag #reclaimcare which enabled us to see the conversation around the campaign. This could be done directly from the website or downloaded and shared via other methods, such as WhatsApp.
The generator needed to be secure, safe and easy to use. We worked with The Fostering Network to ensure it met with their safeguarding policies and that it worked across all devices, was easily shareable and perhaps most importantly of all for the audience… didn’t use up all the data allowance on their phones!
No paid media was used to promote the campaign as it was targeted at a small audience of care leavers in the UK via Young Ambassadors. The activity surpassed the 10,000 target audience reaching 17,500 people - a reach of 175% of the target.
The objective was always to inspire a change in attitudes and it’s clear the campaign has set a strong foundation and started a conversation to create a future in which the stereotypes attached to growing up in care no longer exist.
Our clients’ success is our success and this was evident in the two commendations we received for Online Campaign and Digital/Social Media Strategy at the Scottish Creative Awards 2016.