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A new project has been launched to help remote workers embrace innovation.

Social care charity Carr Gomm will work with The Service Design Academy to engage with staff who are working in isolation or in remote areas.

The academy offered charities across Scotland the chance to win training worth over £5,000 in a competition at The Gathering, which is hosted by the Scottish Council of Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), in February.

Charities were invited to share problems and the potential impact if they were not addressed. For the winning charity, a two-day service design workshop for 15 people offered hands on service design experience to gain knowledge and skills to drive innovation and change.

There was overwhelming interest in the competition with a wide range of issues presented – breaking down silos, improving fundraising, raising public awareness of services and the need to launch entirely new services.

From a difficult and extensive process of shortlisting, Carr Gomm was selected as the winning entry.

The charity highlighted many staff work in isolation and in remote locations, and this is a significant barrier to engaging staff ideas in shaping future delivery of services to adults with complex disabilities. Without this, many opportunities to reduce social isolation for vulnerable people will be lost.

Although the winning entry was selected before the full impact of Covid-19 and social distancing hit, the outputs from the workshops will offer invaluable learnings across the third sector and beyond.

The Service Design Academy consultants will work closely with Carr Gomm to work on the challenge in online workshops.

Service design manager Caron Sandeman said “We were thrilled at how much interest in service design there was at The Gathering and delighted at how popular our competition was.

“We look forward to working with Carr Gomm to support innovation across their team to ensure that all staff are empowered to make change to reduce social isolation. In these challenging times we also look forward to donating time, expertise and resources to other charities to improve their services. By keeping people at the centre of decisions, even in the midst of a crisis, they will be setting good foundations for sustainable and impactful organisations whenever we return to normal.”

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