Looked-after children get the red carpet treatment

An exclusive screening of this month’s ‘must see movie’ Robots heralded the launch of Merton’s ground-breaking new website for looked-after children.

The Odeon Cinema in Wimbledon kindly donated their facilities to host the event for the looked-after children as well as their parents and carers.

The website known as Awayahead was officially unvelied on Thursday March 31. It would have been easy for Children’s Services at the London Borough of Merton to have simply bought a catch-all package from the shelf, to provide a website for its looked-after children.

Fortunately for the children, Merton takes its corporate parenting responsibilities seriously and the Children’s Strategy and Development team, charged with developing this particular part of cyberspace, knew there must be a better way of creating something special for the children in their care. Debbie Peters, the Project Officer explains.

“The team were committed to making this website as relevant to the people who will use it as possible. We immediately saw that we could create something unique and ground-breaking that could really make a difference to the lives of our looked-after children.”

The first thing the team did was speak to potential users to ask them what they wanted and what information they could use. They were then invited to help design the look and feel of the site, immediately capturing their imagination and insight.

“The essential aspect was to provide the children, young people and care leavers in Merton with all the information they need to make the right choices whilst being looked after by us” explains Debbie. “How we got this information across was down to them.”

“We took all the feedback and design ideas to a local company Foresite, based in Wimbledon, who were able to put the ideas onto the screen. The logo (attached) is based on a map which we felt was apt as Merton is at the beginning of the Northern Line and these children are at the beginning of their journey in life.”

The result is Awayahead – a completely fresh and innovative website which is totally interactive and packed full of real advice and experiences that ring true. These include several articles from the children and young people themselves talking about their own experiences.


Press Contact:

Debbie is keen to share her experiences of putting this website together to give other local authorities the opportunity to create a unique place for their looked after children. To request an interview or gain additional information please contact Matt Rickard, PR & Pre