Following a tool evaluation and evolution workshop a few weeks ago, the Leapfrog team have been busy re-​designing tackling loneliness and isolation tools based on the participants’ feedback, and this week returned to Forres for some final tool testing.

Formally known as ‘Top Prompts’, the ‘Common Cards’ tool was redesigned to be more visual, with photographic images and without the use of keywords. To support facilitators and encourage users to instigate a game on their own, the Leapfrog team devised different ways of playing with the cards and included these in the pack on instruction cards. We tested these out with a group of members and facilitators from one of the participant’s ‘Be Active Life Long’ (BALL) groups.

Highlighted in the previous workshop was the need for the cards to be flexible, adaptable, and custom. In the case of this tool testing workshop, the team created our own set of cards based on famous geographical and historical landmarks in the surrounding areas around Morayshire (where our participants live), but customisation will be built into the final tool template so users can make and download their own version.

We played a couple of games the favourite by far of which was ‘Steal a Story’. Here the team encouraged one of the BALL group facilitators to run the game, giving her the pack of cards and the instruction card. In this game, all the cards are spread out, face down on the table. Each player takes it in turns to turn a card over. If they can tell a story about that image then they keep the card. If another player can add more to the story or tell a different story then they can steal that card and so on until no one else can tell a story about that card. The last person to tell a story keeps the card and then turns over a new card. The winner is the player with the most cards at the end. It was great to see how organically and easily the participants picked up the game and just how much they seemed to enjoy it. Very quickly conversations were built up upon one another based on the card images, where connections were made through a chain of story-​telling. This way of using the Common Cards seemed a really effective way for people to get to know each other, and at times brought about much hilarity and personal stories. It was suggested by one of the BALL group facilitators that, when used in this way, the cards would be a great ice-​breaker for bringing new people together. The tool was a big success with our participants and did a great job at starting engaging conversations, described by one BALL group member as a brilliant game and the most they’ve laughed in years.

Going forward, the Leapfrog team will be developing the instruction cards further and the template for how this tool will appear online before being published to the Leapfrog website so anyone can download and use the tool to make there own engaging connections.