SUGRU – Child Development & Therapy Services

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SUGRU – Child Development & Therapy Services: Improving familial well-being by making quality psychological services accessibl

Athlone, Ireland
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$250,000 - $500,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Sugru provides contextual psychology services with an existential approach to individual therapies and offers consultations and workshops to parents, schools, professionals, and workplaces. As a further support for parents Sugru has initiated the positive parenting movement #100happydays4kids, consisting of a series of books/ebooks and an accompanying online support forum.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if parents had access to psychologically evidenced techniques that would enhance their fundamental parenting skills, their attachment, and their ability to engage their child in independence building activities – thus enhancing the well-being of chil
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

In Ireland, childhood suicide rates rank amongst the highest in Europe. Ireland's response to suicide targets harm alone and does not encompass a truly preventative model, one that starts with enhancing well-being and happiness from point of conception. Ireland’s present model simply is not working, with huge demand and consequent waiting lists for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services. As such, seven year olds voicing a desire to end their lives are nine before meeting a psychologist.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Sugru is devoted to fostering child and familial well-being from the point of conception, the earliest time for intervention, by providing a full service offering family focused, evidence-based therapeutic interventions. Each service is delivered by trained passionate professionals and guided by an inherent overarching principle - that a happy start in life prevents the need for expensive interventions later. Sugru is contextualized in nature, meaning that the aim is to address the issue on a number of levels, rather than only working with the individual. Having firm academic backgrounds, Sugru’s directors combine the most up-to-date findings from the literature with a flair for innovative passionate problem-solving capabilities to be at the fore of contemporary psychological interventions, which can be delivered to children and families worldwide.


Jan 2015 SCCUL ‘One to Watch’ Award in the Social Enterprise category; October 2015 Social Entrepreneurs Ireland’s Elevator Award; AprilA Mother contacts 2015 Women in Business Awards; 2015 Galway County Finals in Ireland's Best Young Entrepreneur Awards
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

A Mother contacts Sugru, looking desperately for help for her 8 year old daughter who is self-harming, threatening suicide, and violent to others in the home. Sugru’s Clinical Director Arlene meets with Mam in a parenting consultation to discuss the family’s needs. An assessment period of three family sessions are undertaken at Sugru with Mam and the three children (ages 1, 4, and 8). Combining play therapy, attachment therapy, and cognitive therapy Arlene works with the family for 12 sessions, with parenting consultations taking place with Mam every three sessions. The family sessions end, with marked improvement visible in the children at home and apparent in test scores taken. Parenting sessions continue at distance and family start #100happydays4kids remote intervention to build on happiness post therapy.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

For individual therapies, outcomes are measured via Goodman's Strengths & Difficulties evaluation tool, whereby up to four baseline questionnaires are completed by the child, each parent, and the school, identifying areas of strength and areas of potential difficulty for the child. The same tool is completed by the same people following the intervention providing comparable pre- and post- measures. The effectiveness of #100happydays4kids will be assessed using a mixed methods approach: it will be qualitatively measured by the blogs of parents on members' area and quantitatively by online questionnaire distribution. Longitudinal data collection is necessary to establish the overall contribution of this solution to the initially targeted problem, into the future. Presently, our solution is solving the problem, as evidenced by clients and families leaving our services feeling happier and reporting increased overall wellness.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Growth of service reach: grow individual client base by liaising with healthcare providers and insurers ⁃ Our aim is to put Ireland and our well-being services on the international map. This is achievable through the limitless capacity of the #100happydays4kids website and distribution of eBook. ⁃ We envisage affecting the lives of 10% of Irish primary school-aged children (51,000) through the sale of the book and through group- and individualized-led engagements in therapy, classes, workshops and camps. ⁃ Through the online support forum this impact can extend itself internationally with a progressive growth strategy in place.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Sugru is sustained by services being offered to clients, schools, and businesses at an affordable rate. As the reach grows the income grows, thus allowing Sugru to be sustainable into the future with service provision alone. However, passive income will come from the sale of the ebooks on and premium membership subscriptions to same. Any ‘profit’ made from this source of income will fund growth and development in service provision, geographical reach, and content.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Children’s charities deliver some similar services but by volunteers not trained in psychology and not contextually based e.g. supporting the child OR the parent. #100happydays4kids is unique, as there is no other evidence-based, psychologically-derived well-being tool for families that is accessible to parents today and that has an accompanying closed support forum. Other psychologists have developed parenting books, that take the more traditional format, including David Coleman and Dan Siegel. Many websites exist to provide a peer support forum for parents, for instance (run by Irish Psychologist Anne O'Connor). However, these are spontaneous in nature rather than an integrated facility to discuss directed positive parenting initiatives as with

Founding Story

The motivation came from an initial identification of public service provision whilst working within publicly funded positions. Seeing the continuous decrease in availability of psychology based services on one hand, and witnessing the increasing need for services on the other hand motivated us to make a change. We saw a simple solution to an ever-increasing catastrophe. One that is preventable with early intervention from trained and passionate professionals. Educating parents about how they can contribute to their child's overall well-being is as important as individualized therapy, as it complements the process. Seeing so many families suffering needlessly is heartbreaking and avoidable.


Clinical Director Arlene Naughten: National University of Ireland, Galway ⁃ BA Psychological Studies and Philosophy ⁃ PGDip Education ⁃ PGCert Therapeutic Play ⁃ Royal Holloway, University of London ⁃ PGDip Psychology The Open University ⁃ MSc Psychology ⁃ MSc Forensic Psychology and Criminology Presently: Doctoral Programme of Psychology with Middlesex University London Creative Director Lorraine Lynch National University of Ireland, Galway ⁃ BAPsychological Studies and English. Open University ⁃ PGDip Psychology ⁃ University of Ulster ⁃ MSc Health Psychology Presently Psychology Doctoral Researcher with University of Limerick
CO-CREATION IDEA: Please offer a brief description of how you imagine a win-win partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim to better serve unmet needs in health. (Hint: Please mention the underlying business model envisioned that would make such a partnership sustainable.)

A partnership with a healthcare provider is our target for this year as we feel this will provide a win-win situation with Sugru extending the implementation of well-being services for everyone; moving away from early intervention and towards actual prevention. With such a huge amount of physical health conditions being directly related to stress the gap between physical and psychological well-being services need to be bridged. Sugru has a long term solution to these health problems and that is invest in an international strategy to promote and support familial wellness from the point of conception, thus directly preventing post natal illnesses, childhood psychological conditions, and stress related difficulties across the lifespan.

NEEDS: Based on you response above, please specify which of the following resources, operations or expertise by Boehringer Ingelheim you imagine leveraging to actualize the proposed co-creation opportunity. Please check all that apply. (Hint: while financing is often critical to scale, we are also interested in understanding what other assets or expertise could be leveraged).

Distribution Channels, Research and Development, Specific Disease Expertise, Relationships/New Contacts, Marketing/Communications Support, Technology Expertise, Access to Capital.

EXPLANATION OF NEEDS: Please explain your choices in more detail.

Distributing #100happydays4kids directly to parents through health care providers grown impact significantly
2. R&D for the ongoing effectiveness is vital to meet changing needs of populations and cultures
3. Evidence on the specific stress related illnesses can impact to existing foundations
4. Forming relationships with others in the field has been key to Sugru’s success to date
5. How to target parents who need the support the most is important marketing knowledge
6. Technology is the core of Sugru having international impact
7. Financial assistance kickstarts growth for Sugru

OFFER: What are the main assets you may contribute in a co-creation partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim that would better serve unmet needs in health?

Deep understanding of an unmet need in a specific market/context, Access to and established trust with customers/beneficiaries, Insights into pricing and financing of health products/services, Insights into marketing, Insights into distribution, Insights into behavior change.

FOCUS AREAS: Which of the following best describes the main focus of your project? (select all that apply)

Improving the affordability of healthcare (e.g., microinsurance, reducing the economic cost of care), Increasing physical access to healthcare to people with restricted mobility or restricted access (senior people, people with disability, remote or difficult areas, etc.), Holistic solutions that work across the entire care continuum (including education, prevention, detection, treatment, management, follow-up), Models that engage other industry players (e.g., nutrition, athletic, mobility organizations)., Remote care solutions for health management, treatment, and diagnosis, Packaging of health products and services to address needs currently unmet.

Please share what your organisation and Boehringer Ingelheim will Co-Create together
Please specify what your Co-Creation will result in:

If you selected "other" above, please explain:
Please provide a 1-2 sentence summary of your Co-Creation idea
How does this project link to the core mission of your organisation?
Beyond social impact, how does this project link to Boehringer Ingelheim’s core business?
What are the specific inputs and actions that each side will contribute to this Co-Creation idea based on each of your unique competencies and experiences?
Please describe the potential revenue model for this Co-Creation idea.
What possible risks or challenges do you foresee?
Is there anything else you would like to share about your Co-Creation idea?
How much input do you hope to receive from Boehringer Ingelheim?

If you selected "other" above, please explain:
Besides Boehringer Ingelheim, what other types of partners might be valuable to carrying out your Co-Creation idea, and why?