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New app designed to help young people

A new app has been designed by two students at Leeds Beckett University, which is aimed at supporting 16 – 24 year olds who are not in education, employment or training. 

Choices Connect app

The app – Choices Connect – will connect and signpost young people to local services and organisations offering support and affordable activities within West Yorkshire.

It was designed by Katie Phipps and Emily Suffield, who are both MSc Occupational Therapy students at Leeds Beckett. They came up with the idea while they were on a placement at St Giles Trust in Leeds – a charity helping people facing severe disadvantage to find jobs, homes and the right support.

Katie said: “Our placement, whilst at St Giles Trust, was to develop a sustainable, occupation-focused project for the service. We shadowed a number of people at the Trust and decided to work alongside the Choices project by creating a mobile app. We worked with both staff and clients at St Giles Trust to understand the areas of people’s lives that were important to them, but they often found difficult to access the related services and support. Areas covered by the app include:

  • Managing health (including mental health)
  • Practical advice and support (legal, benefits and housing etc.)
  • Relationships and family
  • Education, training and employment
  • Getting active
  • Expressing yourself.

“Once we had decided the content to focus on, we contacted local organisations and services which addressed these needs. We tested the app alongside clients and colleagues, taking suggestions and improvements into account. The project was really well received, and as well as being a valuable student learning experience, we felt the placement helped increase our professional knowledge and identity, confidence and communication skills.”

Dr Rob Brooks, Course Director for Occupational Therapy in the School of Clinical and Applied Sciences at Leeds Beckett University, said: “It is great to see Katie and Emily use their role emerging occupational therapy placement to create the Choice Connect App, which provides a new way to engage with young adults about their health and wellbeing. This is a good example of student innovation, and I am delighted that the St Giles Trust are taking the project forward.”

Chelcey Huxley, Yorkshire Manager at St Giles Trust said: “We have valued the opportunity to work with Leeds Beckett and are confident that the app will be a big help in linking young people up with opportunities and support.”

The Choices Connect app is available now on the Google Play Store.

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