Last summer a very creative and clever lady called Fran Farrar from Norfolk Children’s Services mentioned an idea about getting vulnerable young people and Councillors to use cameras to share their life experiences over the period of a day. Working with Fran we took the idea one stage further and developed Norfolk Life Swap. We used mobile phone cameras, supplied very kindly by O2, to take the pictures, caption them and send them in to the site which built over the day into a portrait of the lives led by this group of ten Norfolk people.
The results of this first event are undeniably powerful and moving. Whether the most impactful pictures are of Jonathan, who requires 24 hour care, or DannyBoy, who suddenly photographs an electronic tag belonging to a young lad he is mentoring, or some of the desolate shots of empty roads, buses and train platforms as Councillors and young people traverse a large and sparsely populated county – I don’t know – but they are certainly insightful into the lives these people are leading.
Everyone we’ve shown the site to loves it. Some relate it to Corporate Parenting (the concept that Councillors are parents to the children in care within their area), others as a way of giving young people a voice allied to the Hear by Right campaign.
Either way we are in the middle of letting Councillors know about the event through a marketing campaign to Councillors (Children’s Services Portfolio Holders) and Council Officers (Directors of Children’s Services and youth workers). Please feel free to let all and sundry know about the site.