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Midlothian 100 Day Challenge: Children and Young People Taking the Lead

A few months have passed since the People Powered Results team completed its first ever 100 Day Challenge in Scotland.

The Challenge focused on improving mental health and wellbeing for children and young people in Midlothian, and was designed to act as a catalyst for action within a broader five-year project funded by the National Lottery Community Fund. Nesta worked in partnership with Midlothian council and Healthcare Improvement Scotland’s Improvement Hub to support three multi-agency teams to think differently about the support currently on offer to children and young people.

The Challenge involved 42 team members from 19 different organisations, including schools, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), and numerous others from the statutory, voluntary, and community sectors - all working together in new ways to listen and respond to what children, young people, families and carers need.

The three teams tested out ideas that would help different groups: children moving from primary to secondary school, young people transitioning from secondary school to college, and care-experienced young people across Midlothian.

The Midlothian 100 Day Challenge team

Celebrating reaching day 100!

Children and young people’s voices at the heart of everything

What really stood out in this Challenge was the sheer commitment each team had towards genuinely listening and involving children and young people, their families and carers. All three teams based their ideas on what people felt would make an actual difference, and two teams also had people with lived experience involved as team members throughout the 100 days. This kept children and young people’s voices at the heart of everything teams did and helped to shape the Challenge’s direction in unexpected and helpful ways. For instance:

  • One team wanted to help young people moving from secondary school to college. They started by gathering insights from over 150 14-17 year old pupils to make sure that their ideas would be of benefit. In response to what they heard, they trained just under 100 trusted adults in Mental Health First Aid so young people know who to ask for support from when they need it. They also supported students to design and deliver mental health content for PSE sessions, with 59% agreeing that their knowledge about mental health had increased.
  • Another team tested providing dedicated CAMHS consultation time for kinship carers for the first time. They were able to agree a plan to trial and evaluate the impact of kinship carers being supported directly by CAMHS, leading them to be better able to support the children and young people they care for.
  • Another team asked one class of pupils aged 9-10 what they thought would make their classroom more likely to improve their wellbeing, then encouraged them to lead on redesigning it themselves. Giving children the opportunity to bring their ideas to life was a move away from ‘business as usual’, and helped them have a genuine say in shaping their learning environment. The classroom now has a designated quiet space, and 26 pupils created their own personalised emotional wellbeing toolboxes.

In total, 175 children, young people, families and carers were involved in Midlothian’s 100 Day Challenge and the experience has set a precedent for this to continue, so that people with lived experience are helping shape the programmes and services that affect them.

St David's School

Pupils have say on what would make their school environment better

People with lived experience are meaningfully involved

The learning from Midlothian has had a knock-on effect on the People Powered Results team in terms of our own approach to co-production - as we work to apply the same commitment shown by teams in Scotland.

We’re constantly evolving how we approach the design of 100 Day Challenges to ensure that people with lived experience are meaningfully involved every step of the way, from the initial design of 100 Day Challenges through to participating during the Challenge as members of the leadership group and teams. In doing so, we aim to forge new relationships between citizens, front-line practitioners and leaders – not only to help them re-imagine what’s possible for the future of health and care, but to build that future together.

To find out more about the work of the People Powered Results team read our report reflecting on five years of the 100 Day Challenge.


Robin Speedie

Robin Speedie

Robin Speedie

Programme Manager, People Powered Results

Robin is a Programme Manager in the Health Lab at Nesta.

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