Aiming to help out poo-rly kids.
Byline: Craig Thompson Health Reporter email@example.com
A RATHER unusual cartoon character is has been created in a bid to help children.
"Ollie the Poo" has been created by two designers who wanted to do their bit to help young patients struggling with constipation.
So IT developers Martin Dempster and Dean Tiffin, who both work for Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (NTW), have created an app called "Poo goes home to Pooland" featuring an animated character, based on a leaflet used by health visitors and nursery nurses to explain constipation and other toilet related conditions to children.
The lads, both senior systems developers at NTW, decided to make the app after noticing that the 'Pooland' leaflet was one of the most downloaded documents from the trust's Patient Information Centre website.
Martin said: "The characters were drawn from scratch using photoshop and then animated. We did the app in our spare time between projects. The project became a bit of a family affair as my son voiced the character of Ollie. Now he's always asking to see Ollie."
The Pooland story is about a troublesome 'Poo' characters and covers topics such as sharing unhappy feelings about how to recognise when you need a poo. Martin and Dean decided to bring the work, originally developed by the author Tamsin Black as a colouring book for children, into the modern world by bringing Poo to life.
Dean said: "Our aim was to update the story and we've made the character interactive and more fun.
"I've really enjoyed working on the app, it's been a great project to work on and we've developed some new skills." Poo is now a walking talking character which means children can interact with the story.
This will help to relieve the anxiety children feel around toileting and is recommended to suit children up to around seven years of age.
Darren McKenna, director of Informatics at NTW, added: "This is an excellent example of creativity and innovation from our talented staff. "As far as I'm aware, an NHS app aimed at children is the first of its kind.
"This is going to make a real difference to children who suffer from constipation and Encopresis and I'm pleased that we've been able to respond so positively to the demand for this type of information."
The app is free to download and can also be accessed from the Trust's website at www.ntw.nhs.uk/poo
The new children's poo app NHS developers, from left, Dean Tiffin, Martin Dempster and Jo Latimer