Teenage developers blaze a trail for young carers

Five teenage developersFive teenage developers who hit upon an idea to help young carers, have scooped a top award for their innovative app.

Hasan, Shayaan, Shakil, Itesham and Luay from Denbigh High School, Luton created the app which scooped the People's Choice Award at the Apps for Good Awards 2015.

Their app, weKonnekt hooks up young carers with resources and support in their local area.

Here the boys tell their story and reveal what they hope to achieve next.

What was the inspiration behind your app?

Our initial idea to help all young people was a bit broad, but when we did our research, we saw a gap in the market for young carers and we wanted to help them.

We were shocked at how difficult life can be for young carers, so we hope our app helps them socialise with each other, get the support they need and feel less alone.

How did the app come to life?

We were introduced to the Apps for Good programme and we went from there, making prototypes before entering the competition. It was exciting when the judges picked our idea to be funded and professionally produced.

Another fantastic opportunity was getting to work very closely with skilled developers for about six months using a social media like platform called ‘Base Camp’. We were given specific tasks to do and could all feedback on how the app was coming along.

It was pretty surreal so see our idea become a reality and now we’ve had more than 100 downloads.

What did winning the People's Choice Award at the Apps for Good Awards 2015 mean?

We weren’t expecting to win at all, so when our name was called out, we went crazy! It took about a year from concept to market, and about ten Beta versions before we signed off, so it meant a lot to us.

Where do you want to go from here?

Right now, weKonnekt is only available for Android devices. We’re looking for sponsorship to produce an IOS version so that we can help more young carers.

Setting the bar high

There’s been so much interest in the app, the boys have been invited to give various interviews and attend media events.

BabbleA particular highlight was WE Day, a global event at Wembley Arena, that brings together world-renowned speakers and award-winning performers with thousands of young people to celebrate their contributions in making a difference in their local and global communities.

Emma Darcy, Denbigh’s director of technology for learning, said: “The boys had an amazing time presenting on stage at WE Day and we could not be more proud of them. They spoke confidently about their app in front of over 12,000 people and this will hopefully help even more young carers become aware of weKonnekt.”

Liz Williams, director tech literacy and education programmes at BT says: “Young people are great consumers of technology but for them to thrive in today’s world they need to be able to be creative with it too.

The weKonnekt team have identified a real need and are demonstrating how, with insight and the desire to make a difference, today’s digital technology can be used to improve lives.”

For more visit the weKonnekt website, email the team or follow on Twitter @we_konnekt.

You can download weKonnekt for free at Google Play.

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