Children’s charity partnership launch innovative learning tool to help others


A UNIQUE partnership project that supports families on the brink of crisis, has launched a tool to support other organisations to learn from its success.

Dundee Early Intervention Team (DEIT) worked with Iriss (www.iriss.org.uk), a charitable organisation that supports the Scottish social services sector to make use of knowledge and research for service innovation and improvement.

The tool – a series of beautifully designed flashcards, each one acting as a prompt to explore a vital component of a successful partnership – is designed to support those all-important conversations that take place when establishing a joint project.

Titled Partnerships and CO: Conversation Openers, the tool was created through a collaborative project in 2017 between Iriss and DEIT, which is a partnership between Aberlour, Action for Children, Barnardo’s Scotland and Children 1st. The tool and other resources developed through the project were formally launched at a celebration event last week. [JAN17]

Service Manager Bianca Neville said: “We are delighted to be able to share our learning from working together as partners, in delivering family support as the Dundee Early Intervention Team.

“Part of our success has been in that we each bring something special and unique to our partnership that combined, makes us more effective in delivering early intervention support to families in Dundee.

“And while we each have our own specialisms, together we are stronger than the sum of our parts. We hope our learning tool will act as a helpful device for other organisations, who also wish to make an impact with a partnership.”

Established in 2012, DEIT works together with Dundee City Council, NHS Tayside and Dundee Voluntary Action. It was initially funded by the Big Lottery Improving Futures Programme, and has been funded by its Investing In Communities programme more recently.

An independent evaluation by Ecorys in 2017, found four key approaches were central to its success:

  • “social pedagogy” – families are viewed by experts and positive relationships between families and workers are critical
  • Flexibility – support is accessible seven days a week, 7am-10pm
  • Accessibility – one point of access for support
  • Building community resilience – building capacity within families and their communities


As part of the project, Iriss facilitated a series of conversations with families and their support workers to reflect on what they had found most beneficial, in accessing support. Discussions with DEIT practitioners about the team’s approach were also audio recorded. You can view these conversations and order a copy of Partnerships & CO here: https://www.iriss.org.uk/resources/case-studies/conversations-dundee-early-intervention-team

Iriss Project Manager Ellen Daly said: ‘It was really inspirational hearing from families about the difference support from the DEIT team made to their lives and working with the DEIT steering group and team to capture their learning. We wanted to take this learning and create a practical tool to help others to reflect on and develop partnerships to improve outcomes for those accessing support.”



For more information, please contact Head of Marketing and Communications on marie-claire.jones@aberlour.org.uk or 07528970553