Blog: The success of YOOF is based on the success of the partnerships

YOOF is a digital platform for children, young people and young adults from across Cheshire to view and share digital content.

The concept was born out of the pandemic when agencies supporting children and young people were forced to take all their services online and use zoom, teams and google hangouts. As with the whole country, organisations catapulted their confidence, ability and knowledge of video conferencing forward years in the space of a few weeks. YOOF monopolises on this experience and a newfound confidence that had transformed the way in which we communicate and interact daily.

Whilst the initial concept and driving force for the YOOF platform was developed by one organisation in the county, the success is based on the level of engagement and ownership that organisations across the county feel for the platform. To ensure that new digital content is being created and developed by organisations from across the county they need to be and feel connected to YOOF and recognise it as an extension of their offer to young people. One of the issues associated with the organisation that developed the concept is the name of the organisation, Warrington Youth Club, this would and has led organisations to the understanding that this is a platform for that organisation or just for Warrington and not for the whole county.

To try and mitigate this significant challenge, we have maintained a dialogue throughout the development process with organisations from across Cheshire and Warrington, this has included over 50 organisations attending online briefings. There have been 10 different briefing and update sessions provided to both organisations and young people from across the county over the past year. A group of four organisations from across the county were involved in the initial steering group that worked on the concept and spent a significant amount of time in the design sprint.

One of the key strengths of the programme and the essential elements is the recruitment of a central coordinator who will manage the different priorities and ensure that all the agencies work together to provide information, content and access for their members to the YOOF platform. The coordinator will need to be able to continually communicate the purpose of YOOF and the benefits to children and young people from across Cheshire.