In 2013, the Care Inspectorate got together a group of young people involved with Who Cares? Scotland and Aberlour Childcare Trust to revamp the original Meet Sid website. We wanted to make it more up to date and useful to young people. We also wanted to produce some films about young people’s experiences in care and to develop an on-line computer game.
Some of those involved take up the story
Nikita, who grew up in care, explains…
“We worked as a group to talk about our experiences and to scope out the project. We wanted to do something a bit different with the films and film producer Rob talked with us about doing something a bit more abstract, using our real voices and stories. We audio recorded some of our sessions. It was quite good to hear everyone’s stories about how they came into care and what’s happened since. It was quite emotional at times too but we felt more together as a group because we’d been through similar experiences.”
David, explains where the Far From Home game came from …
“We were asked to come up with concepts for a computer game – loosely based on young people’s rights and the Care Standards to encourage young people to visit the new Sid website. We did some group work sessions to come up with ideas and a concept and what we’d like to see in the game and sent our concept to the students at Abertay University. The guys came back with some great ideas and showed us designs and it all came from there. The guys have been brilliant and really open to consultation. And Sid’s awesome!”
Kirsten, support worker from Who Cares? Scotland talks about the website…
“The young people met in between the group sessions to talk about the original website. They discussed what they liked, what they didn’t like, what they wanted changed, new features and just generally to discuss ideas for the future. The end result is really good. It looks great!”
Gavin, support worker from Aberlour talks about the young people’s involvement…
“The project’s worked really well. It’s not easy for some young people to talk about their experiences and to get involved with things like this. It’s helped to build their confidence and given them new skills in group working, project work and so on. The game is fantastic – I’m really impressed. The films are powerful too. And we all love the new website.”
Some thoughts from the group…
“It was a dream come true to be involved, as I’m a gaming fanatic. I thought it was great and I had loads of ideas. At the beginning I wanted to give the game a Grand Theft Auto theme and atmosphere – but after a couple of the workshop to talk with others about how we could develop the game – I came back with a million ideas. The game looks brilliant.” Sean
“Rob and Sarah came down to Ayr and we went out in the car to visit where I’d grown up, places that meant stuff to me. It was good because although I was mic’d up it wasn’t like a formal interview with a camera – which can make people nervous. It was a good experience, and it was good to see the films come together – bringing everyone’s voices and stories into them.” Alex
“I wanted to get involved because I wanted to use my experiences to help other young people. We got involved in filming, and had flip cameras to shoot what we liked, and didn’t like – just to show Rob what we were thinking and what meant things to us. When I first saw the first cut of the film, it came as a real shock. I didn’t expect it to look like that and I got upset when I heard my own voice describing my experiences. But Rob the camera man listened to my concerns and he changed it a bit. Now I’m really happy with it. The films are great.” Bernice
“I think that what the Care Inspectorate is doing just now with this project – the website, the films and the game – is a really good way to reach out to young people. The Care Inspectorate may come out and inspect aspects of young people’s lives – but it shows that they’re reaching out to young people directly when they do projects like this. Long may it continue.” Ashley
Abertay University, Dundee
The fantastic online game Far From Home is the result of stacks and stacks of hard work by a dedicated team of student artists, programmers and designers, collectively known as Linear Curve Games and all studying Gaming at Abertay University.
The 12 strong team were:
- Production – Luke Culbert (Producer/Designer), Fiachra Sheridan (Producer).
- Art – Josh Henderson (Character Artist, Jack Evans (Technical Artist), Artyom Seminov/William Mitchell (Environment Art), Thomas Miller (Interface and UI), Liam Hutchinson (Sound Producer).
- Code – David Edwards (Programming Lead), Brandon Lee/Ian Thomson (Gameplay Programming), Angus Macleod (Programming and Technical Art)
Thank you guys, you were brilliant and good luck with your future careers!
Finally on the subject of Abertay, special thanks to Dr Iain Donald, Head Lecturer at Abertay, for his support. Notorious for not giving a huge amount of praise, he really kept the team on their toes throughout the project. Since quoted as saying “The team have worked really hard and done fantastically well. Everything that they’ve done has been at a level that I would expect of industry – and what they’ve produced is of release quality.”
Rob Page – Schedule D Productions
Rob Page brought a new way of thinking to the group. His engagement with everyone was very positive and everyone involved is really pleased with the new films.
Thank you to all of those in the group representing the interests of the many young people currently living in care in Scotland. Sharing your stories is sometimes not so easy but together you’ve done a great job in helping others in care and for helping to break down stereotype views in the wider world. Special thanks to Alex, Ashley, Bernice, David, Nikita and Sean for publicly sharing your experiences in our latest films.
Wideopenspace is a web and communication design company and has worked with the Care Inspectorate from the very start of the Meet Sid project. Their recent work has been to the redesign the Meet Sid site. We would especially like to thank them for giving Stuart Lindsay, a Graphics student at Dundee College, a summer placement to specifically work on Meet Sid.