Pip’s Treasure Hunt - 1–16 April 2023

Faye Owens

Faye Owens, a parent champion from A Better Start Southend, details socio-emotional themed project – Pip’s Treasure Hunt that took place around Southend City.

Pip’s Treasure Hunt took place over the Easter holidays across Southend City and was an opportunity for local families to get outdoors, enjoy activity time together, explore the city and learn more about A Better Start Southend’s services. The main objective was that the activity was free and accessible to all, ensuring walking distance was achievable, avoiding the need for transport.

A Better Start Southend’s colourful mascot, Pip, has increasingly been recognisable to the community; Pip was created from the ideas of Southend’s young children, designed through a parent-led process, and ultimately made by a talented Parent Champion. The aim of the Hunt was to find Pip at various locations using an app, collect points, complete tasks and if the players were keen to, find themselves on the leader board.

The Social & Emotional themed project was an opportunity to celebrate our co-production practices. The Core Team to deliver Pip’s Treasure Hunt included the ABSS Parent Champions, ABSS Engagement Team with support from the ABSS Project and Marketing Teams, with the ultimate aim to share updates about A Better Start Southend in a unique, new way.

One of the ABSS Parent Champions, Faye Owens, impressively designed and populated the Hunt content using a license we purchased from app makers Actionbound. This involved uploading information about ABSS, locations, GPS codes, graphics for each stage, the leader board, and the all-important Terms & Conditions. The ABSS Engagement Team Lead, Michelle Gray, oversaw the project management through contacting local businesses and organisations, ensuring the project delivery was on time, collecting feedback from other parents on the app, co-ordinating the testing of the app with other Parent Champions before we went live and supporting Faye where necessary.

The ABSS Project Team was available to monitor the budget and approach any issues that needed escalating. The opportunity arose for the ABSS Marketing Team to share knowledge of the Trello project management tool where we were able to create check lists throughout the process across the Core Team along with developing a greater understanding of Canva for the apps graphics, location posters and advertising.

Regular Core Team Meetings took place during the lead up to the Hunt where issues were shared and as a co-production group, we were able to solve, feedback and rework when needed, along with meet ups during the two week Hunt to assess progress and flag any issues, along with follow up meetings after the Hunt to debrief and evaluate.

During the Hunt and after, we asked players to complete surveys. We did this through the app, on our web links, and through social media and newsletters. The process required close collaboration with a number of local venues, resulting in improved relationships with local businesses and organisations and enabling opportunities for connecting on future campaigns. Survey results indicate that 100% of venues were happy to participate and found the process to be manageable and user friendly. 80% of parents found the app easy to use and remarked that it was fun for the family. We have recorded an increase in newsletter sign ups, social media platform followers and a steep in website visits during the period of Pip’s Treasure Hunt.

Being a part of Pip's Treasure Hunt was an incredibly rewarding experience. Designing and populating the hunt content allowed me to unleash my creativity and contribute to the community in a meaningful way. Collaborating with the ABSS team and local businesses was inspiring, as we worked together to make the activity free, accessible, and enjoyable for all families. Seeing the positive feedback from parents and witnessing the joy on their children’s faces as they embarked on the adventure was truly fulfilling. Pip's Treasure Hunt has not only brought families closer but also fostered stronger connections within the community. I'm proud to have played a role in A Better Start Southend's unique approach to engaging with families, and I look forward to future opportunities where we can continue to create memorable experiences together in the community.

About A Better Start

A Better Start is a ten-year (2015-2025), £215 million programme set-up by The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK.

Five A Better Start partnerships based in Blackpool, Bradford, Lambeth, Nottingham and Southend are supporting families to give their babies and very young children the best possible start in life. Working with local parents, the A Better Start partnerships are developing and testing ways to improve their children’s diet and nutrition, social and emotional development, and speech, language and communication.

The work of the programme is grounded in scientific evidence and research. A Better Start is place-based and enabling systems change. It aims to improve the way that organisations work together and with families to shift attitudes and spending towards preventing problems that can start in early life. It is one of five major programmes set up by The National Lottery Community Fund to test and learn from new approaches to designing services which aim to make people’s lives healthier and happier

The National Children’s Bureau is coordinating an ambitious programme of shared learning for A Better Start, disseminating the partnerships’ experiences in creating innovative services far and wide, so that others working in early childhood development or place-based systems change can benefit.

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Visit the A Better Start website to find out more.