by Tania Russell-Owen | 22nd Sep 2022
ProMo-Cymru is pleased to announce that we have been awarded the contract to run the Meic helpline service, commissioned by Welsh Government for up to £2.3 million pounds. Based on review, the service will continue to run for another five years.
Meic is a rights-based helpline aimed at children and young people under 25 in Wales. ProMo has been running the service since 2009, delivering free, anonymous and confidential bilingual information, advice and advocacy 365 days a year. Trained Helpline Adviser Advocates are available between 8am and midnight daily through phone, text and instant messaging.
Meic is someone on their side, providing a safe space to turn. We enable children and young people to express their views, wishes and feelings and support them to make these listened to, heard and acted upon.
How does Meic work?
We use a secure virtual call centre which means the service can operate from anywhere. This was incredibly beneficial during the COVID pandemic as there was no break in service or a reduction in opening hours; the only helpline in the UK to achieve this. We also ensured that key messages and campaigns were being produced and disseminated in a youth-friendly format during this time.
Meic also has an accessible and youth-friendly website with many informative and helpful blogs. We run quarterly information campaigns through our website and social channels, focusing on specific themes often identified through our helpline contacts. In 2018 we identified a growing trend of coercive control in relationships. This led to a Healthy Relationships campaign where Butterflies, a spoken word poem written and performed by young people, won a Best Marketing Communication award at the Wales Online Digital Awards that year.
Information and key messages are shared regularly through various platforms, including the website, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and, most recently, TikTok. During the pandemic, we saw massive growth in online reach and engagement. Instagram saw an increased engagement of 1715% during 2020-2021. It also coincided with the redesign of Meic’s design and branding across all channels and platforms. We worked with the ProMo Communication and Multimedia teams to create fresh, attractive images and videos.
Professionals also find the Meic helpline service beneficial as they seek advice on how to support children and young people they work with, signpost to the Meic service and use the resources we have on the Meic website and lesson plans created for schools on Hwb.
How we operate
Our advisers are trained in the stop, start, change model. They incorporate a brief solution-focused approach and using exploration, challenge and action planning based on each individual contact and their issue. We encourage them to articulate and consider what change they want to achieve.
Meic operates within safeguarding parameters. We regularly receive contacts requiring referral to safeguarding authorities based on disclosure concerning themselves and/or friends or relatives.
We regularly pay young people for their time and insights and employ young people to work on Meic communication campaigns. ProMo has employed several young people, most recently in 2021, when a young person was responsible for creating an LGBTQ+ campaign, information and resources.
In the future
We will continue improving Meic through a Service Design approach and involve children and young people to achieve this. Our main priorities going forward with the new contract is to co-design and continuously include children and young people to develop and test technical innovation. Our immediate focus will be to improve the opportunities for direct messaging via social media channels as an alternative to the website.
We will continuously seek to refresh and innovate Meic branding and design to support a strong online presence on social media used by children and young people. A new TikTok channel was started recently. We’ve changed some of our designs to be more video focused and create content suitable for TikTok and Reels. We aim to continue to innovate and grow social media engagement among those that may not engage with traditional services.
We also aim to maintain and improve collaborative working relationships with existing stakeholders and develop and sustain new ones.
For further information about the Meic helpline please contact our Head of Social Action – Stephanie Hoffman.