Launching CAKE: A recipe for self-care and individual and team wellbeing

L-R Kath MacDonald and Caroline Dickson at the launch

Kath MacDonald, Honorary Lecturer at Queen Margaret University and Director of ListenUpStorytelling

Everyone likes CAKE don’t they? Well this is a different sort of cake. A virtual CAKE. It’s been a labour of love for Caroline Dickson and myself, which culminated in our launch event at Queen Margaret University on 14 September 2023.

The story starts two years ago when we were lucky enough to secure a small grant from QNIS for a catalyst for change project. The project-initially called SEEDS-incorporated a series of workshops with eight community nurses to support them through stress and secondary psychological trauma. The project was designed in late 2019 and then Covid happened, which exacerbated their stress even further!

Using storytelling and practice development we ran five creative workshops with the aim of developing a co-designed resource to support individuals and teams with wellbeing. During the workshops we followed a process of: creating a safe space, sharing stories, reflecting and analysing the stories and creating action plans to consider how we might best tackle some of the issues raised. At the same time look after ourselves and each other. We evaluated each phase of the project using a range of creative methods.

CAKE was one of two outputs from the project. CAKE stands for: Caring for each other, Attending to what’s important, Keeping Connected and Engaging and empowering. CAKE is a free, simple to use, interactive, digital resource. It comprises 8 slices that contain a range of activities designed to help embed practices that promote team wellbeing and effectiveness. CAKE’s uniqueness is based on its storytelling methodology and its emphasis on supporting teams, not just individuals. CAKE v1, was transformed from a crude resource into something beautiful by a talented designer: Hamish Hanna, and was piloted across the UK with 17 healthcare teams. Feedback was really positive and led to the final stage of the project: digital CAKE.

CAKE v1 and CAKE v2

We have had the privilege of collaborating with the Scottish Tech Army and NatWest Bank to create digital CAKE. We’re really proud of our collaboration. It was wonderful to work with people with a different skill set yet a shared set of values. Thanks to Jonathon Love, Joanna Allen, Sheena Hales and Hamish we have co-produced what we think is a fantastic resource. And its free! Check it out on my Listenupstorytelling website.

Although we say this is the final stage of the project, I guess we’re really just beginning. Our goal now is to share CAKE so that everyone gets a taste. Why not try it out with your team and send us some feedback? We also offer bespoke facilitation sessions. Let them eat CAKE!

Kath MacDonald is an Honorary Lecturer at Queen Margaret University and Director of ListenUpStorytelling [email protected]

Caroline Dickson is a Senior Lecturer in Nursing and Paramedic Science at Queen Margaret University [email protected]

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