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The need for a secure way of keeping photos and memories safe for young people in care came out of research carried out by South Tyneside Council (STC).

Since the gap was identified, bringing the Virtual Memory Box to life has been a project of collaboration and co-creation. Driven by South Tyneside Council, the project is supported by the Department for Education’s Partners in Practice Innovation Programme.

Wanting help to identify the best way to commission a solution and work with a digital partner, STC approached Digital Catapult North East Tees Valley (NETV). A business challenge was organised and digital companies were invited to pitch their ideas to a panel.

Local software house Nebula Labs was chosen as the digital partner to deliver their solution, the Virtual Memory Box. Working closely with STC, social workers, young people in care, and carers, Nebula Labs developed and launched the initial platform.

Since the launch and scale up of Virtual Memory Box, user involvement and collaboration has remained at the heart of the solution. With more users and local authorities coming on board, it is continually updated and improved from feedback of the young people and adults using the service.

Ryan, a care experienced person commented: “Having a virtual memory box when I was in care would have been brilliant. It would have provided a space to keep things to reflect on in the future, and particularly to help in understanding my own journey through the care system.”

You can read more about how it all started here in the North East Times