About Lifelabs

About LifeLabs

What is LifeLabs?

LifeLabs is an online hub for young people in or leaving care, to connect, share and learn together. Created in collaboration with care experienced young people, the site features a range of informative and helpful videos, that put advice and support at your fingertips. Whether you’re looking for inspiration or practical help, LifeLabs has you covered! Everything about LifeLabs has been shaped by care experienced young people, so the content is relevant and useful. The Explainer Feed features fun videos with handy information on all kinds of topics such as:

  • Making delicious meals from leftovers
  • Simple ways to boost your wellbeing
  • Easy swaps you can make at home, to look after the planet
The Experience Feed showcases personal stories and advice. You can learn from others experiencing similar situations, like:
  • Tried and tested tips to start saving money
  • How education can help you get the future you want
  • Getting active to keep fit and meet new friends
Huge thanks must go to the team of young people who have helped create this site and to all at Plymouth Care Journeys. Without your awesome work this project would not have been possible! We are also extremely grateful to IKEA for their invaluable support in making LifeLabs a reality.

Why was LifeLabs created?

This project is part of Plymouth Care Journeys, a trailblazing partnership between Barnardo’s and Plymouth City Council. Launched in early 2019, the partnership puts the lived experiences of young people in or leaving care at the centre of its work. The project began by listening to and learning from care experienced young people. Barnardos worked closely with creative agency Leap, who helped support and facilitate this collaborative approach. Through a range of research, workshops and co-creation sessions, loneliness and isolation were identified as key concerns for care experienced young people, as well as getting the practical skills they need to live independently. As a national partner of Barnardo’s, IKEA came onboard with the LifeLabs project in late 2020. IKEA’s vision is to create a better everyday life for the many people and they firmly believe that home is the most important place in the world. They brought with them a wealth of knowledge and expertise about life at home. As well as generously supporting this project, IKEA co-workers have also helped shape and create some of the video content. Alongside their work on LifeLabs, Barnardo’s and IKEA collaborated on a bespoke research project that looked into and highlights young people’s experience of accommodation when leaving care. The aim of this project is to improve the system for care experienced young people, ensuring that they have the tools and opportunities to have the best start in independent living. The final report amplifies their voices with government and decision makers, to advocate for long-term change. Barnardo’s, IKEA and Leap believe that care experienced young people deserve the same opportunities in life as their peers. Together we hope that LifeLabs helps young people learn new skills, build confidence and find fun and community along the way. LifeLabs launches in IKEA Exeter in May 2021, with an exhibition showcasing young people’s experiences of leaving care. Find out more about this event here.

April 2019

Leap, Plymouth Care Journeys and Barnardo’s began working together with the brief for a project that “empowers care experienced young people in getting the right support to develop the skills needed to start living more independently.” The team began researching for the project with care experienced young people.

October 2019

The project began its ‘design phase’ working alongside care experienced young people to produce ideas as to how they can be supported when living independently.

February 2020

LifeLabs project was launched in the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth.

October 2020

IKEA comes on board with the project enabling us to broaden the scope of what it can achieve.

October 2020 – May 2021

Creating the video content for the portal.

May 2021

IKEA Exeter exhibition and the launch of the LifeLabs portal.