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Council works with tech company to implement software to enhance life story work

South Tyneside Council is working with a Newcastle-based tech company to launch the Virtual Memory Box app to protect memories for children in care.

23/05/23

Council works with tech company to implement software to enhance life story work

A new app has been launched to improve life story work and protect memories for children in care.

Children’s social care teams in South Tyneside Council worked on the software with Newcastle-based tech company Nebula Labs to give young people in care a reliable, secure way of saving their memories.

After research showing that young people in care can find themselves in multiple placements over a number of years, resulting in possessions being misplaced or damaged, South Tyneside Council identified a need to improve how children and young people can retain these memories and life stories using technology.

Dylan McKee, CEO of Nebula Labs, said in an interview with Planet Radio how moved he was by some of the “heart-wrenching” stories and by hearing how people had lost memories and parts of their life.

“It was a real tech-for-good endeavour, for us to get involved in and it's been focused and built around the young person as the end user - and how it can benefit their life.

“We looked at how we could apply technology, and use technology and digital solutions to deliver a digital product that could basically solve that, and store everything safely and securely in the cloud - in a way where it's accessible and private but is always there for them and it's not going to disappear.

The Virtual Memory Box enables young people to navigate a ‘living timeline’ of visual, audio and text memories displayed in a scrapbook style, with a chronological timeline to scroll through, or users can search through thematic tags.

Cllr Adam Ellison, Lead Member for Children, Young People and Families at South Tyneside Council, said the app is an “exciting” additional way for children and young people to store and then access key moments from their childhood in a safe and secure way.

“Too often children can lose special photos and mementos and by storing them digitally this enables protection of things that are important and help young people understand and recall what happens to them.

“We are committed to ensuring children understand their life story and have access to memories and the virtual memory box is another fantastic way of doing this.”

As part of Foster Fortnight, 15th-28th May 2023, Nebula Labs and South Tyneside Council are holding a free online workshop on 26th May for anyone involved or interested in fostering to learn more about how this tool can help them and the young people in their care. Find out more and sign up here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-virtual-memory-box-improving-life-story-work-tickets-636393549237

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