KidsConnect is a new web application that connects parents and carers with accurate, comprehensive and easily accessible information about activities and support available for kids under five living in Lambeth and Southwark. This is to ensure that no child misses out on activities because their parents or carers lack knowledge or networks. The aim is to help parents to access information so that they can decide what is right for them  and to reduce the number of parents being stuck on their own at home. 

There are around 60,000 parents and carers of children under five in Lambeth and Southwark, however the app proactively targets young parents, migrant families, male carers and families on low incomes. 

I wanted to be pulled out. I don't want to sit in here, I want to be pulled out. Stress had stopped me leaving the house, they took me out and they helped me out.

Mother of young child in Lambeth

KidsConnect is a new web application that connects parents and carers with accurate, comprehensive and easily accessible information about activities and support available for kids under five living in Lambeth and Southwark. This is to ensure that no child misses out on activities because their parents or carers lack knowledge or networks. The aim is to help parents to access information so that they can decide what is right for them  and to reduce the number of parents being stuck on their own at home. 

There are around 60,000 parents and carers of children under five in Lambeth and Southwark, however the app proactively targets young parents, migrant families, male carers and families on low incomes. 

Some families suffering stress, health problems, or other difficulties may not be accessing support available to them, and children are missing out on opportunities that would aid early development.

KidsConnect: How we went from prototype to app KidsConnect founders, Tracey Gilbert and Hannah White on taking a paper prototype and turning it into a real mobile app KidsConnect founders, Tracey Gilbert and Hannah White on taking a paper prototype and turning it into a real mobile app

Opinion — 29/04/2016

The need for KidsConnect

Although there are a variety of services and activities available for under-fives in Lambeth and Southwark, some families are not accessing these due to various barriers. For example, a lack of social networks and understanding of what is available, low trust in information, low confidence in accessing new services, and a shortage of time to identify new activities. As a result, some families suffering stress, health problems, or other difficulties may not be accessing support available to them, and children are missing out on opportunities that would aid early development.

This is to ensure that no child misses out on activities because their parents or carers lack knowledge or networks.

KidsConnect have undertaken primary research with local parents and have found that they want to access more and better information. Market analysis found that there are some local services which offer parents information, but no one source offers accurate and comprehensive information on both publically and privately offered activities and services. For example, KidsConnect identified 75 activities and services in the six pilot wards in Lambeth -  but Lambeth Council Family Information Service held information on only 15.

Research undertaken by KidsConnect identified four needs of parents:

  1. Seeking inspiration because of inexperience or boredom
  2. Planning ahead for a specific time or to meet specific requirements
  3. Seeking an overview because of being new to an area
  4. Searching for a specific activity or service.

For providers of local activities and services, the cost (time and money) of keeping up to date information in multiple places can be a barrier to providing comprehensive information. KidsConnect found that 91% of those surveyed relied to some extent on word of mouth to advertise their activities. In addition, providers expressed a desire to access a rating and review system, so that they have a way of accessing data to help improve their provision. They also sought reassurance that any investment in advertising would lead to an increase in take-up.

KidsConnect: How we reached 4000 users in one year KidsConnect founders, Tracey Gilbert and Hannah White, tell us how they got 4000 families to use their app within one year. KidsConnect founders, Tracey Gilbert and Hannah White, tell us how they got 4000 families to use their app within one year.

Opinion — 29/04/2016

How KidsConnect creates change

KidsConnect provides users with accurate, relevant, comprehensive information about local activities, all of which are easily accessible on their smartphone. The KidsConnect app is based on five principles:

  1. Accurate
  2. Relevant
  3. Trusted
  4. User friendly
  5. Comprehensive

Critical success factors

The critical success facts that are unique to the KidsConnect model include:

A co-produced approach to sharing data

The app gives service providers the ability to update their information, offering a greater depth of information. Simultaneously, users can review and rate local provision, offering greater insight for other parents looking for local activities, and easily accessible feedback for providers to improve their service.

A user-friendly design

The design has been developed to ensure it fits into a busy parent’s life, allowing them to find comprehensive information in a way which makes sense to them.

A hyperlocal model

KidsConnect is based on a hyperlocal model which means parents can access information about services most accessible to them. It promotes local community assets and local people gaining knowledge about their physical and community environment. This should aid sustainability of the app.

Solutions

If you're interested in the outcomes of KidsConnect in terms of in terms of impact upon the health and well-being of children under five and their families please refer to page 12 of the Knee High Design Challenge: Solutions Paper.