How

vOUCHers Logo

Began

The idea for the vOUCHers stemmed from a simple conversation with my 10 year old. At the start of the 2020 lockdown, I spent time talking through Internet safety with my children aged 10 and seven. Building on their school’s teaching, I thought I’d nailed it, ready for the online learning that was to follow. For three weeks all seemed well, until one night my eldest, as I tucked her up in bed as I routinely did every night, announced that she had something to tell me. Her look was of fear, her words shaky. All sorts went through my mind. “Go on,” I said, “I’m listening.” She took a deep breath.

“Mum, I went on a website I shouldn’t have.” I gave her silence and space to allow her to tell me more. She went onto explain that she’d accidentally clicked on a pop up site. I was relieved that as she told me, it transpired to be an innocent site. No harm done.

“Are you mad at me, Mum?” I hugged her and said no, and that I was pleased that she’d told me. It clearly bothered her. “When did this happen?” I asked. Last week she said, “But I was afraid to tell you because you’d told us the rules of being online and I broke them. I thought you’d be angry.”

This had worried her all week she said. She’d tried a few times to pluck up the courage – and I had no idea.

This led me to think. If my own daughter held this very simple and in fact, a very innocent fear from an action that in this case led her to no danger, what of others who have similar secrets, or indeed secrets of a grander, more serious scale. Potentially of trauma, fear and real danger, but who dare not tell anyone.

Having worked in children’s homes, as a class teacher and a special educational needs coordinator in school, and now more recently as a specialist teacher with an additional role of leading academic progress of children in care for an authority, I am fully aware of secrets that can be both small and innocent or be huge and trauma inflicting. How many are kept through fear because the person either does not get that chance to tell or does not have the space to disclose. So the idea of allowing any person the opportunity to tell a trusted person, without the initial use of verbal communication, that they want time to talk. To ask that someone not to judge but be there. Small or big, a chance to talk about what is happening or has happened no matter what it is. To allow the chance for them to talk without the fear of the other person telling them off. To feel that they have space and support. So they feel that they are no longer alone.

It was at this point I decided to speak to Mark, a fellow Samaritans listening volunteer and an experienced graphic designer, who has worked for the film industry and currently writes and illustrates both fictional children’s picture books as well as factual books. I shared the idea of a coupon type book that could help everybody get the emotional support they feel they need. Mark, loving the idea, felt we should name the project vOUCHers, which I felt was a great idea. He then set about creating the visual identity and style. We then, between us, wrote the book, with me creating the vOUCHers and Mark the introductions to each section.

This all resulted in what you see before you today, unique vOUCHers that asks the receiver something special. And the chance for the giver to be listened to in a safe space. We hope that by gifting this book to some you care about you are telling the receiver: “I am here for you. No matter what you tell me.”

Mark and I both hope this book and its supporting website will give everybody the opportunity to talk, feel listened to in a safe environment, where time and no judgement is provided. Therefore, fulling its purpose of providing support for any pain that is caused by an emotional OUCH!

Jennifer

September 2020

About

OUCHer Logo

OUCHer is a project that helps people meet their emotional needs.

Jennifer along with fellow Samaritan, Markus, created the vOUCHers books as a safe way to request for support by giving a simple vOUCHer.

The 'vOUCHers' books are complemented by online material, tips on how to offer emotional support along with useful mindful activities to explore.

Discover how the idea for vOUCHers came about.

Jennifer Dunning

Jennifer Dunning

Having initially worked in the care sector supporting children, Jennifer now works in education with a particular interest in special educational needs.

From both at work and volunteering with Samaritans, Jennifer is acutely aware of the impact trauma and emotional turmoil can have on everyday life. Jennifer believes that by developing a network of support and talking about these issues we can move towards feeling and ultimately easing our difficult emotions.

OUCHer - Markus Baker

Markus Baker

With his first career as a nursery nurse along with Markus’ current one as a visual communicator creates a perfect mix for unique ideas to come to life.

Markus has a broad view of society. This comes from his many experiences that include designing for the film industry, volunteering for Samaritans, qualifying as a psychotherapist and travelling the world, which included staying with a Taoist Master in the hills of South Korea.

OUCHer Logo

Supporting you

01

Gave icon

Help!

I gave a vOUCHer...

...and they have not got back to me.

02

Received icon

Help!

I received a vOUCHer...

...and I am unsure what to do.

03

Support icon

Help!

I need more support...

where can I get it?

vOUCHers Logo

New and replacement vOUCHers just for you.

Blank vOUCHers

Blank vOUCHers

Write whatever your need on one of our blank vOUCHers.

Replacement vOUCHers

Replacement vOUCHers

For those times you have an emergency and have run out of a specific vOUCHer from the book.

more vOUCHers

Suggest a new vOUCHer

Let us know if there is a vOUCHer that you would like to see in a future vOUCHers book.

vOUCHers
vOUCHers Logo

Helping you find the support you require to meet your emotional needs.

Home Edition Book
vOUCHers icon

vOUCHers

Each book has 24 vOUCHers that can be used to get the emotional support you may need. There are 12 different types of vOUCHers and the book has 2 of each.

Information icon

Helpful Information

Before each vOUCHer there is a short description of how the support being requested from a vOUCHer may be able to help.

Additional Support

Additional Support

Whether or not you have received the support you needed from the vOUCHer, you may feel you need some extra support. In the book, we list some organisations you may find helpful.

vOUCHers Logo

Helping students find the support they require to meet their emotional needs.

School Edition vOUCHer Book
vOUCHers icon

vOUCHers

Each School Edition book has 32 vOUCHers that students can use to get the emotional support they need. There are 16 different types of vOUCHers and the book has 2 of each.

Information icon

Helpful Information

Before each vOUCHer there is a short description of how the support being requested from a vOUCHer may be able to help.

Additional Support

Additional Support

Whether or not you have received the support you needed from the vOUCHer, the book shares extra support with a list of some organisations thay may be helpful.

vOUCHers Logo

Book Reviews

Let us know what you think of the vOUCHers book by getting in touch.

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5 Star OUCHer Verified Purchase Review

Louise

"I am a learning mentor in a school who also has a son aged 15 with ADD and who is also ASD, He struggled to vocalise his worries because even a small worry grew so fast that it resulted in a meltdown because it became too big to manage. We had Vouchers recommended and they have
worked a treat, now, even when he feels a little worry that he has no reason for he uses a voucher to let me know there’s something amiss and then I know to chat. Before vOUCHers, he would be worried about not knowing why he was feeling like he was and I would not know to ask.
What an AMAZING resource for families and children."

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5 Star OUCHer Verified Purchase Review

Stephen Parsons

Author of Language for Behaviour and Emotions

"I think your book is brilliant. Such a simple idea, well executed. From time to time many children will have things on their minds that they are not sure how to raise. In those unsure moments the Vouchers approach provides a bridge to asking for help this opening up the conversation. It is useful for every child, but is particularly relevant to the most vulnerable. I can see Safeguarding leads jumping on this."

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5 Star Amazon Verified Purchase Review

By Emma Walters

"Really pleased with the quality and thoughtfulness that have gone in to these. My 10 year old struggles to find the words sometimes to tell me what’s worrying her and is worried about being told off. These ouchers are brilliant in that she can hand one to me and I’ll know instantly that she needs me to stop and take time to listen - something I can be guilty off forgetting when busy."

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5 Star Amazon Verified Purchase Review

By Trish Hicken

"I cannot recommend this is enough. It is such a good idea. It consists of vouchers that a child or young person (or adult) can choose to give to a person that they would like help from. It allows a child to let go of something they are worrying about as it gives them permission to talk about it rather than bottling it up. Each voucher also has some supporting information as well which is a valuable addition."

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5 Star Amazon Verified Purchase Review

By Dad at home

"I bought this book as it was recommended by a friend to use with my children. Each of the vouchers have supporting information which made it so much more. It's been well received by my children who have already used some of the vouchers to talk to me on things that may not done in the past- it's like it gave them permission to talk to me. Completely surpassed my expectations. And if it saves my children therapy in the future by talking now, its well worth the £10."

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5 Star Amazon Verified Purchase Review

By KJ

"This is a great little book for communicating with your family members who may have gone quiet over the lockdown.
Give them this book and use the vouchers to encourage a positive relationship, during this difficult time or any time we have busy lives trying to succeed as a family, we often miss the signs. This will keep open the chat."

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5 Star Amazon Verified Purchase Review

By Sean Burrows

"Great book for children and their parents to communicate better, and helping children when they don't know how to handle a situation. Thoroughly recommended for anyone with children, tweenagers and teenagers."

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5 Star Amazon Verified Purchase Review

By Lois Daniels

"I work with children on a daily basis who struggle to verbalise their thoughts and emotions. This book gives children and young people an opportunity to seek support without having to talk about things. This is an amazing book and I couldn’t recommend it more. Brilliant idea!"

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