Last week the Leapfrog team were joined by many of the participants who had contributed so much over the past two months to the Tackling Loneliness and Isolation project. We had gathered together for the last time as the project team to celebrate the achievement, reflect on the process, and to deliver an Advice Swatch, a collation of all the great insights gathered by our partners about approaches to tackle the issues of loneliness and isolation in later life.

After a short walk around the grounds of the GSA Highland campus on the Altyre estate, we gathered in the studio for a quick recap on the journey of the project before we broke away into the kitchen for an informal chat about their experiences of working with us on this co-​design project. While we have a formal process for evaluating the Leapfrog project, we felt that this was a great opportunity for us to gather as a group and together talk and reflect on the collective and individual experiences of the co-​design process.

First on our list of questions was what motivated the participants to get involved in the project in the first place. Collective the group all agreed that they wanted to be involved in the project at the start, so that they could have some influence on the outcome so that it would be something that will work for them. The desire to have a say throughout the process and shape the outcome was high on the priority list. We talked about being able to get give some of the ‘realities’ so the outcomes made sense in the real world. The participants felt it was about having the right people involved who are able to be honest, that there was space to be honest, and a freedom to say if things don’t work in the real world. 

When we moved the conversation on to the benefits of involvement in the project for the participants it very much focused on time, space, creativity and fun. They liked the fact that there was always something fun to engage with, the overarching ethos of the process. Participants talked about being inspired to be creative, by the process and by the physical space.

What was lovely for us to hear was that participants really value the opportunity to get out of the office and think differently. For them it’s about being in a new place and thinking differently, acting differently, using creativity, pens, drawing, being playful, it helps shift a mindset which was really important to the participants. 

It was great to hear lots of positive feedback about the project. Especially how going through the process helped participants get the time and space to think differently. We thank everyone for their effort and support for the project and for making it such a success.