Ombea and Street Soccer Scotland Help Dundee Get Their Lives Back on Track

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“Street Soccer Scotland uses football inspired training and personal development as a medium to empower people who are affected by social exclusion.” - Street Soccer Scotland Mission Statement

In 2009, David Duke started Street Soccer Scotland with the intention of combating social exclusion through sport. David Duke himself went through a period of homelessness, where he experienced first-hand the crippling effects of social exclusion.

His recovery journey began when he discovered football. Knowing he had to train early the next day, David knew he had to change his lifestyle so that he was ready and become a role model for others. The friendships made on the pitch, and the palpable benefits of a healthier routine, encouraged David to continue. Eventually, being part of a team and getting physical exercise enabled David to take his life back.

Over the years, Street Soccer Scotland has established itself in the cities of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen and London. Some of the top players in the world of football have become brand ambassadors and volunteers, which has further boosted Street Soccer Scotland’s reach.

Striving to eliminate negative stereotypes, Street Soccer Scotland refers to its visitors as “players.” Each player can drop into any of the organization’s locations at any time, whether to play in a free drop-in session or just to find someone to talk to at a critical time.

The Dundee Change Center

The city of Dundee faces many challenges, including a drug death rate double that of the Scottish national average and stark differences between high-income and low-income groups. In this environment, drugs and alcohol are readily available and crime is rampant. Players in Dundee need additional guidance and support, which can educate them to lead healthier lifestyles.

This is why, in 2021 Street Soccer Scotland inaugurated its new Change Center building in the city. At the Change Center, players can play football, join a peer group session, and even get help with finding gainful employment. As players retake control of their lives, they can choose to volunteer at Street Soccer Scotland through roles that teach valuable life skills in an environment that gives back to the community.

And like any other Street Soccer Scotland location, they can drop in at any time of the day and someone will be there to help them.

In the October 2021, over 1000 visits were recorded at the Change Center from a range of different groups: Player, Volunteers, Partners, Visitors and Evening Bookings.

Giving Players a Voice

The team at the Change Center needed to understand whether they were helping players in the best way possible. However, this would pile more administrative work onto an ever-growing to-do list for staff. Plus, there was a chance players would resist responding to surveys for three key reasons:

  • Players may feel someone is watching them, or that their answers can be traced back to them. This would prevent them from giving honest feedback about their experience.
  • Players may have the impression that there is a “right” way to answer the survey questions in order to not be treated differently, further distorting potential survey results.
  • Having to think about grammar, spelling, and style may add further stress to players by making them aware of their shortcomings, possibly hindering recovery.

Scott Hollishead, Business Development Manager at the Change Center and self-described technology enthusiast, set out to find a solution that was anonymous, required minimum effort from players, and entailed negligible admin work.

What he found was Ombea.

Quick, Anonymous Feedback Across the Center

Ombea allows players to give their feedback as they’re entering and leaving the football pitch. With the ExpressPod smiley terminals, all players have to do to leave their feedback is hover their hand over the desired smiley. They don’t even have to touch them.

They can answer questions such as “How are you doing today?” or “How do you feel after playing football today?” without having to worry about penmanship or having to talk to someone directly. There is also no way to trace a particular player to a particular smiley response, further encouraging players to be honest with their feedback.

For the Change Center team, they get the immediate, honest feedback they need without any of the admin work. There’s no need to go over piles of paper surveys. If Ombea detects an unusual amount of sad faces, staff get a notification so they can act immediately. Otherwise, the system runs on autopilot.

More Detailed Player Feedback for Peer Sessions

The peer sessions at Dundee help participants face the obstacles to their recovery and provide constant support for the not-so-great day. Because these sessions can severely help or hinder players, it is critical that Change Center management are aware if players don’t find them helpful.

With the Ombea ExpressTab tablet, Change Center staff can ask an initial question such as “How was your session today?” and then follow-up with an open-text question such as “Sorry to hear that, please tell us more” or “Great to hear! Want to tell us why it was great?” depending on what smiley face they pressed in the initial question.

This gives participants a safe space to report exactly how they felt during the session, whether or not it was useful to them, or any other aspect they’d like to comment on. Because the data comes in real-time, management can quickly implement changes before small problems become bigger ones.

Street Soccer Scotland also uses Ombea’s anywhere module to capture feedback from other non-physical touchpoints. One of the ways the Change Center generates revenue is by renting out free space for events or other activities. During the online booking process, a web widget appears asking users if everything is OK so far. When the user gets their booking confirmation email, they’ll see embedded smiley faces which, upon clicking, lead to a quick online survey.

Conclusion (For Now)

Why Ombea? Scott and his team assessed the market were evaluating other competitors, but Ombea proved more cost-effective and provided more coverage for different touchpoints. As the partnership between Ombea and Street Soccer Scotland develops, Scott is satisfied with the level of communication and the degree of customer support received, further convincing him that he made the right choice.

Over the next months, Ombea will continue to work side-by-side with the Street Soccer Scotland team in Dundee to make sure each one of their goals is met (no pun intended).

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