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New app to give vulnerable Norfolk children more control and easier way of opening up

Cassie Hill and Norfolk County Council chairman John Ward. Picture: Archant

Cassie Hill and Norfolk County Council chairman John Ward. Picture: Archant

Archant

Vulnerable children and young people in Norfolk will be better able to share their feelings through two newly-launched apps.

The new MOMO app. Picture: Archant The new MOMO app. Picture: Archant

Norfolk County Council’s new MOMO One and MOMO Express will enable children in care, care leavers and those with social or support workers to share how they are feeling, good news, concerns and thoughts ahead of any upcoming meetings.

Though in the early days, the apps, which are used by 62 local authorities, are already being used by dozens of young people, with staff training taking place.

Those leading the training are care leavers Tom Lee, 18, and Cassie Hill, 20.

Tom said: “As a person who has grown up in care I wish it had been available when I was growing up. What I really like is that if they can’t get in touch with a worker it directs them to Childline, so there’s always support.”

Tom Lee and Stuart Dark, acting chairman of Norfolk County Conucil's children's services. Picture: Archant staff Tom Lee and Stuart Dark, acting chairman of Norfolk County Conucil's children's services. Picture: Archant staff

Cassie said: “Sometimes young people don’t always say what they want to say because they feel worried, but they don’t have to feel that way with this, they can just write it down.”

The apps, which the council hopes to translate into other languages and use as inspiration for similar initiatives elsewhere, can be accessed on smartphones, tablets 
and PCs.

Young people can use the app to prepare for meetings or visits, let their worker know if they want to change something, share positive news or raise concerns.

MOMO Express is for younger children or those with additional needs, and is designed for use alongside the child’s social or support worker.

Stuart Dark, acting chairman of the children’s services committee at the council, said: “Some young people find it more comfortable to communicate this way, rather than sharing their views face to face.

“Of course that doesn’t mean that they won’t still meet regularly with their social worker, or support worker – this just gives them more ways to talk to us and let us know their feelings and wishes.”

He said it was also “absolutely brilliant” to see young people like Tom and Cassie staying to work with the council and help drive forward new ideas.

“They say feedback is a gift and what better way to get it,” he said.

“It’s up to us to live up to their faith in us.”

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