Mac & Cheese

June 2, 2017

Tower and Scottish flagTeam Mind Of My Own headed north last week for our first tour of Scotland. Transport delays meant we rushed across Glasgow just in time to visit Celcis. We were excited to tell them about Mind Of My Own apps and that we have our first local authority, Perth and Kinross going live in Scotland next month. Having worked in Scotland previously Celcis stood out as a key organisation that we should speak to knowing the important role they play in ensuring participation for looked after children in Scotland is a priority.

We knew we had a full-on week ahead so had a big bowl of mac and cheese to keep us going that evening. It’s a Mind Of My Own favourite. One of the team even had it on our Christmas night out!

Mac & Cheese & NatalieHaving left spring-like weather back home our umbrellas were immediately blown inside out crossing the Tradeston bridge on the way to our accommodation.  We could be seen laughing hysterically at this in the sideways rain!

After a quick early run along the Clyde, and seeing the People’s Palace (one of my favourite places in Glasgow) we headed over to speak to the lovely people in Inverclyde Council to show them the Mind Of My Own apps. We heard some great views and everyone was keen to get ‘hands on’ and have a play.

Quarriers villageAs we had a little bit of downtime we went to meet a friend just down the road at Quarriers village. This was Natalie’s first time in the village, which is an amazing place full of history. We enjoyed hearing all about the great work carried out there these days too.  We went to their little restaurant and guess what we had to eat…yep mac and cheese! That night we were privileged to be taken on a tour in and around Stirling and saw the castle and the amazing Kelpies which we both absolutely loved.

Another day and a quick run along the Forth in Stirling where we caught a glimpse of the Wallace Monument before heading off to meet a great group of managers in Stirling Council who gave us lots of brilliant feedback.

Time was tight between meetings that day and summer had arrived. It would have been quite the picture if you had spotted the two of us running full pelt through Stirling dragging our cases to get to the station and across to Dundee. Arriving cool calm and collected both Angus and Dundee Council warmly welcomed us for a joint meeting and loved our presentation. There were excellent questions and debates. We heard some great ideas about how to ‘tartanise’ One and Express apps without losing what they are about.

Dundee WaterfrontHaving a few minutes to spare before our train we took a walk along the impressive waterfront development and took our shoes off for a while. This was the day we clocked up 22,000 steps before getting to our interesting Airbnb in Edinburgh. We weren’t sure whether it was an art installation or a cleaning oversight but there was a half-eaten biscuit on top of the TV. Who only eats half a biscuit? That evening, around the corner we found a great little restaurant and actually did not eat mac and cheese.

Our final day and summer had well and truly arrived. Having walked through the beautiful Meadows in Edinburgh we met with two lovely members of the Children and Young People’s Commissioner’s office to show them our apps. In return we were treated to some Tunnocks Tea Cakes which we loved. A real memory from my childhood north of the border.

Tunnocks tea cakesAs we had literally 30 minutes in our schedule we dashed round the corner from Waverley, past the piper, to catch up with the guys in Edinburgh Council and meet our new Mind Of My Own lead there. We were on the move again, enjoying our bus picnic, to Midlothian Council. Once again, we had a great meeting in the loveliest office we’ve seen set in an amazingly pretty garden to conclude our first tour of Scotland.

Tired out we headed back down the country reflecting back on what we’d learned. Every single person we met was totally engaged and embraced the fact that children and young people live in a digital world. Another key theme was that our apps fit beautifully with SHANARI and GIRFEC and we got a great sense that people in Scotland are totally committed to ensuring the child’s voice is heard.

48 people were immersed in Mind Of My Own over the four days and without exception they were willing to share their knowledge and ideas on how the apps would work so well to help children’s voices be heard loud and clear at all times.

Bag pipes and playerNatalie and I had a wonderful time and not a single regret about eating mac and cheese twice in less than 24 hours. We will be back Scotland. I learned that the word gets around really quickly north of the border and on the train home I received two requests from other organisations for us to speak to them.

So, part two of the Scottish tour will commence on the 8 August after you’ve enjoyed your long summer break. We look forward to this greatly.

We will be the ones dragging the wheelie cases, probably laughing and definitely seeking out the best mac and cheese in town. Look out for us!