How many ways can you squash a lemon?

For the duration of this project Gayle, Evelyn and Janet all worked hard at getting us to gel as a group. There were introductory games to every session, sometimes shared meals, a collective sharing of our favourite things, our guilty pleasures, from writing poetry to watching drag race and spilling the tea.

None were as much fun as the game where the team all had a piece of paper and they had a couple of minutes to draw how many ways they can think of to crush a lemon. Some of us quickly jotted down pictures of various tools being used to squash lemons and others drew elaborate pictures of parachutes and elephants and other contraptions. It is not often that I have had so much fun while working.

This game was to help us think out of the box, about developing prototypes, about getting your brain warmed up for the day and ready to think. I really loved these games as they were well thought out and fun. We had models to make and made up names for them on the spot, all the while letting the group see the various sides of our characters. Even during lockdown these games continued to keep the connections we had made and not let us lose the ties we had worked so hard to build.

I think the point I am trying to make is to show that being part of this project has been a voyage of discovery on so many levels. Not only are we building skills in system design and learning to create something new, but we are also investing in ourselves. We are showing a commitment to Falkirk Council and a real and tangible desire to help support better outcomes for the care leavers who come through the council system. We have heard testimonies from various people over the course of the project, none more important than the young people themselves.

Another aspect of the project that revealed itself was the feeling of being a team, working together, all the while being supported by people who know a lot about this subject. Their passion has shone through. I cannot remember a meeting where one of them did not ask how I was and checked in with each member of the project. They are a shining example of how good management can sustain staff, can bring out the best in the workforce. We have all come from different departments with a wide range of skills, but we are all going to leave as part of a team. We have developed a system that shows we care; we have nurtured each other, and I know I am coming out this end with a renewed sense of what I can achieve.