The Sunderland Way Digital Inclusion
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Contents 3 4 5 6 6 7 9 10 12 13 14 15 16
Introduction Community IT in Sunderland Supporting the local economy Community IT Services Environmental sustainability Community Electronic Village Halls Youth e-Champions Communities of Interest Websites Community Film & Media Community Health Information Points e-Mentoring Equipment Loan Scheme Flash Meeting & Hexagon
Contact Details: For further information on the Community IT Programme and Services in Sunderland: www.sunderland.gov.uk/communityit 0191 561 4884
Case Studies: 17 17 19 20
Supporting the Voluntary & Community Sector: WearAble Sunderland Voluntary Sector Youth Forum National Deaf Children’s Society
21 Engagement and Empowerment 21 Sunderland People First & Our Voice Our Say 25 VOME consultation 26 Community Electronic Village Halls (EVHs) 26 Gentoo Amble Tower 28 Lisa’s story 30 Community e-Champions 30 North Washington Youth Inclusion Programme 32 Community of Interest Websites 32 Disabled Children Website 34 34 35 36 37
ICT @ Home Kojo & Sabine’s Story Doreen’s Story Jean’s Story Katie’s Story
38 Equipment Loan 38 Michelle’s Story (Nintendo Wii) 39 The Carer’s Story
Introduction Community ICT in Sunderland The Community IT Programme in Sunderland consists of the councils core mainstream Community IT Programme and the successful Sunderland Partnership Digital Challenge Programme. Community IT actively promotes the use of, and facilitates access to, ICT within the City working closely with the Voluntary & Community Sector and other Partners. We encourage everyone regardless of age, gender, occupational or social status and ethnicity to make better use of the facilities within their communities. Our aim is to promote social inclusion by facilitating the participation of local people in a pro-active role, and to assist the development of community based community owned ICT provision. The programme’s ethos is that by engaging local people, providing access to new technologies and building community capacity we can help ensure everyone is given the means to access a world of information and knowledge. Our Digital Vision is one where individuals and communities grasp appropriate technology and co-develop their own methods of engagement and development. Through innovative facilitation and support, we develop networks of individualised ICT provision in the hearts of our communities – whether the community is one formed through geography theme, circumstance or common interests. Through our mainstreamed core Community IT Team we have developed and supported IT facilities in the places “where people go” or “where people want them” which is crucial for targeted engagement. This has empowered and strengthened our communities, promoting cohesion and diversity, enabling them to access multiple communication channels. People now engage in decision-making and inﬂuence the design of local services.
We have supported and empowered communities through: • The development of Community ICT Facilities – Electronic Village Halls (EVHs) in both traditional and non-traditional; settings including: Adult Learning Centres, Village Halls, Youth Clubs, Community Associations, Schools and Nurseries, Faith Groups, Voluntary Groups, Health Centres; GP Surgeries, Libraries, Sport Centres, Public Houses, Street Kiosks, Public Service Centres, Mobile ICT, and peoples’ own homes; • Developed the Community e-Champions Network, ensuring they represent a range of communities, in order to target and engage the hardest to reach groups; • Created the Community of Interest (CoI) Websites initiative, to provide a dedicated service for communities to build, own and maintain their own quality web presence and develop wider personal capacities, and to further cross-community dialogue; • Encouraged service providers to utilise CoIs to provide direct links to speciﬁc groups, which has enabled focused consultation, feedback and service bundling; • Provided sustainable technical support & development to build capacity at a community level. • Provided a crucial equipment loan & support scheme for Community Organisations. The Digital Challenge Programme is owned and lead by the Sunderland Partnership. The programme mandate was formed using the results from an extensive consultation process with members of the community. We have developed a communityled approach to support the Sunderland Strategy for the provision of community ICT across the city. Through our current engagement and digital inclusion programmes, we are ensuring that technologies are fully inclusive and accessible to everyone. This community development approach to project development has ensured community ownership and promotes sustainability
Introduction Beneﬁts of Community IT in Sunderland Council beneﬁts • More open and accountable processes • Planning services better to meet the communities needs and aspirations • Assists in prioritising services and making better use of resources • Provides access to a broader range of views and gives access to richer grass roots information prior to decision making • Enables council to work together with communities to achieve balanced decisions • 2 Beacon Awards (2003 & 2009), winner of Digital Challenge Competition (2006) and winner of Microsoft Britain Works Challenge (2010) has substantially increased the national proﬁle of Sunderland and the council as a national and European leader in the area of digital and social inclusion. Citizen beneﬁts • Increases the number of e-enabled people living in Sunderland from excluded groups • Raises aspirations through the development of skills and knowledge, resulting in social inclusion and an increased feeling of well-being • Potential to engage with education and the internal aspiration and motivation to do so • Increased employability • More social opportunities and the personal development associated with socialisation • Intergenerational beneﬁts to older people and youth groups • Ability to connect with others in their interest community, nationally and globally and the formation of communities on-line resulting in social beneﬁts • Awareness of, and participation in the democratic process and the capability to contribute to and inﬂuence outcomes which directly affect their lives Community & Voluntary Sector beneﬁts • Greater ability to inﬂuence and co-create service delivery; • Increase in skills, knowledge and experience of ICT across the sector and communities; • Empowerment, through ownership of both physical and intellectual property; • Increased capacity to participate in the democratic process; • The ability to formally network citywide – and beyond - in order to share knowledge and experience. This is crucial to the community groups; • Increased number of people with the aspiration/ability to volunteer.
Economic beneﬁts • The provision of a community IT programme helps to enhance local access to ICT skills which will provide an important step on the route back to work. This is critical for the development of an ICT-literate workforce, which is vital in supporting the continuing restructuring of the local economy. • The transformation of the city's image will make it an even more attractive location for inward investment. Educational beneﬁts • The community and voluntary sector will act as intermediaries, to engage those less likely to be intrinsically motivated and signpost to more formal learning opportunities. • Increased take-up of on-line and distance learning models, speciﬁcally in the areas of basic skills and citizenship – gaining skills for employment. • Increasing the ICT skill and educational attainment of adults will lead to higher attainment levels at GCSE and A Level of their children. Health beneﬁts • Provision of digital media in a variety of frequently used nontraditional community venues (e.g. heath centres, hospital visiting rooms, clinics, GP surgeries etc). • Provision of Community Health Information Points to enable citizens to information and in control of tracking and managing their health. • Enabling patients to be more informed and aware by promoting alternative channels for the access the health information on line. • Supporting independent living and the empowerment of carers and the cared for.
Introduction Supporting the local economy Background Sunderland and the North East have the lowest gross household income per head of all the English regions. In addition, the region has the lowest working-age employment rate in England as well as the highest rate of economic inactivity. Enabling Technology The Community IT Team have provided computers and connectivity to a range of recipients across the City. As well as helping to develop digital literacy skills it improves access to employment opportunities. We also established an e-Mentoring programme that helps young people and out of work adults. In addition, we have established a network of Community Health Information Points across the city that help residents to actively manage their own health free from the conﬁnes of normal surgery opening hours. Our equipment loan scheme provides short term loans for a range of technology that enables start up businesses and community organisations to access opportunities that would otherwise be out of reach. Beneﬁts Improved digital literacy and access to employment opportunities have helped to reduce the number of people in receipt of Job Seekers Allowance and other beneﬁts. The e-Mentoring Scheme, Equipment Loan and ICT@Home have helped to increase the number of people with an NVQ or equivalent qualiﬁcation. Community Health Information Points have provided an easy to access health check service in accessible community locations. This service is helping residents to monitor their health status and make positive lifestyle choices thereby reducing the number of non-working days and days on beneﬁt.
Introduction Environmental sustainability Background People across Sunderland access services at various locations, by bringing services together and making them available locally removes the need for residents to travel to access them. This is sustained as local communities come to rely on the services they have available to them locally, enabling them to gain information about, and access the service in their locality. Enabling Technology The Community IT Team has provided technology and support through a number of projects within the programme. Digital Communities and Community Health Information Points are just two examples of these. Digital Communities aim to provide residents with a range of services including; local health, education and also social groups. The team has provided these centres with computers and printers in addition to expert advice from technical support ofﬁcers, this has enabled third party organisations and partners to provide training and services at these community locations. CHIPs have been installed in many community locations. These machines allow residents in some of the most deprived areas to take advantage of health checks, such as blood pressure, weight and body fat. Beneﬁts • Reduced requirement for individual service points • Reduced requirement for travel to service points • Community based services support travel by foot • Communities become self servicing
Community IT Services Electronic Village Halls (EVH) The EVH network spans many of the most socially excluded and hard to reach groups in the city. Provision is developed in partnership with community organisations and at a pace that is appropriate to them – therefore stimulating ownership, empowerment and promoting sustainability. They are also a primary source of consultation and evaluation about the City Council website and the development of the councils eservices. Although each EVH is developed using a community led, needs driven approach, all offer a base level of provision in line with the councils guidance of IT safety and security. As each community organisation is unique and has different requirements additional provision is included where appropriate eg. language software, scanners, photocopiers. All equipment issued comes with full training and technical support including regular “health checks”. Equipment is installed with appropriate surf control software virus protection and steady state software. All beneﬁciaries are also given advice and if possible supplied, where required, with appropriate accessibility devices both hardware and software (e.g. text reading software, large buttons keyboards, keyboard extensions, mobility mice etc) Numbers of PCs and why they are needed may vary between communities; however the following are characteristics of a standard EVH: • Access to computers and the internet • Facilitated access to IT skills training • Access to specialist software for the visually impaired where required • Ability to access specialist disability hardware and software if required Additional services provided across the network include • • • •
Support to access public services English as a second language training Citizenship training Community Health Information Points (CHIPs)
Community IT Services Community e-Champions The Community e-Champions Project was designed to compliment the governments statutory e-Champions Initiative, where Central Government e-Champions and Local Government e-Champions are uniquely joined in Sunderland by a pool of community based e-Champions. e-Champions are community and voluntary sector practitioners who play a key role in engaging local people in the use of ICT. The Community IT Programme builds upon their effective community relationships and networks and encourages them to act in a facilitation role. They support other members of their community, to identify needs and requirements then use the ICT to help meet these requirements. This community development approach directly engages and encourages the hardest to reach groups to develop skills and knowledge, which enables them to access council e-service provision. A network of 200+ community mediators receive the following support: • Internet enabled mobile technologies • On-going technical support • Bespoke engagement support - capacity development and training • Website development Community e-Champions are situated in many of the hardest to reach and socially excluded thematic groups – they enable the council to target and tailor speciﬁc interventions and support relevant to those groups based on the support, advice and feedback from the Community e-Champions. Thematic groups currently supported by this service include (but not exhaustively)
• • • • • • • •
Youth groups Carers Looked after adults Older people Women’s centre Social housing residents Black & minority ethnic groups (BME) Disability support
An Independent external assessment of the programme identiﬁed the following outcomes: • Raised ICT conﬁdence and skills among the e-Champions • Improve information sharing within the community & eChampions network • Embedded and located ICT in neighbourhoods using a community development • Approach improved communication
Community IT Services Youth e-Champions The Youth e-Champions project works in partnership with existing community and voluntary practitioners who play a key role in engaging local communities in the use of ICT and digital technology. The project builds upon effective community relationships and networks and encourages e-Champions to act as facilitators - encouraging their peers and other members of their community to identify needs, requirements and aspirations then use ICT to help meet these requirements. Enabling technology The Community IT Team has enabled the expansion of this highly successful peer support and networking project to youth groups and young people from all walks of life across the city. Working with colleagues in the Voluntary Sector Youth Forum we have engaged with over 30 youth groups who support hundreds of children to identify the potential of digital technologies to engage those who are hardest to reach and to promote positive participation of young people. Managed by a Community Steering Group the project has, to date allocated 10 laptop computers for use in communities by young people and youth workers tasked with supporting them. Engagement Ofﬁcers are on hand to support users and to facilitate the “art of the possible”. In addition the project offers an equipment loan scheme and on-site support in the use of the technology required. The National Deaf Children's Charity, supported by the Community IT Team, recently used a range of video techniques to engage with young deaf people to draw out their needs and expectations for the provision of youth services within Sunderland. The result of this event will inﬂuence the Aiming Higher Programme. Sunderland is a national pathﬁnder authority for Aiming Higher. Beneﬁts • Children can get advice to make positive life choices • Children are able to share experiences with others • Children feel they belong to a supportive community
Community IT Services Communities of Interest Websites (CoIs) The CoI Service facilitates the development of on-line communities by working with groups, communities or individuals who are linked by similar circumstances, locations, themes or interests. The provision of these unique community web sites allows those involved to deliver content tailored towards the needs of their own interest group, which in turn supports the development of that community, strengthening its networks and providing a forum for peer-support. The service uniquely offers design, technical advice, marketing guidance and ongoing support within the Sunderland area. This support removes the technical skills required for a successful web site, allowing communities to focus on developing strong content and promote their community. The design of a COI web site follows the guidelines laid down by the Ofﬁce of the e-Envoy, combined with the skills and experience of the ICT Unit. This enables a bespoke process tailored to the needs of each community whilst ensuring that high production standards are maintained. It is these high standards and unique skills set which have resulted in the successful CoI model being adopted corporately as a standard from partnership project microsites. This service is now offered to our internal customers – the web development ofﬁcer will closely with Corporate Communications in order to ensure that sites have the appropriate levels of city and Partnership branding, whilst enabling each project a degree of individuality. A typical COI web site contains: • • • • •
Integrated simple and advanced search engines Easy to use navigation Search engine friendly design Visual styling to ﬁt community branding and design Very high level of access for visually impaired users through auto text enlargement • Complies with Web Accessibility Standards (DDA compliant) The service also provides training and builds community capacity in a wide range of related subjects, which combine together to allow communities to effectively market and manage their own site on a day to day basis. Subjects such as: • • • • •
How to write in a web friendly way Search engine marketing, what works and what doesn't Online and ofﬂine marketing and networking skills How to write a press release, catch the attention of an editor Creating and preparing images for the web, improve download time and presentation
Community IT Services Partnerships, Engagement & Empowerment Partnerships The best services are developed together, by service users, who understand what is needed, voluntary groups and statutory service providers, who understand how to deliver. The physical, social and economic development of the city continues to be taken forward by the council and its partners through the Sunderland Partnership. Partners are aware of the key issues facing local people and are working together to put in place responses designed to make a difference. The Programme recognises that social and digital exclusion is a multifaceted problem which requires a partnership approach. An example of the way in which the partnership approach can deliver more than the sum of its constituent parts is that of the development of community ICT facilities. Each Electronic Village Hall has been developed with as a partnership between the community and the council. The partnership arrangements are agreed at a level that is appropriate to the needs of the particular community. The community provides the location, the people and the equipment, the council supports the technology to the level required by the skills of the community.
with the community and voluntary sector to provide not only the technologies but the awareness, facilitation and training to use them. In this complementary approach to digital inclusion service delivery, our communities take the lead and set their own objectives and direction with the Community IT providing the facilitation and capacity building to empower on-going community ownership.
Empowerment Sunderlandâ€™s digital vision is an acknowledgement of the importance of REAL partnership and the crucial role of the community and voluntary sector in co-creation of services and provision. We demonstrate innovative community development approaches, putting local people and the community and voluntary sector at the heart of the decision-making process, this is a key factor in building cohesive and empowered communities. Nowhere is this more evident than the Our Voice Our Say website where Community IT have been working in Partnership with Sunderland People First to empower their group to tell their story. They are empowered because we help them to help themselves which in turn empowers them to help others in a similar manner. Digital inclusion is not about technology, itâ€™s about helping others to help themselves.
Engagement The driving force of the Community IT Programme is the active engagement of communities. The onus is placed on communities and individuals to identify issues, requirements and barriers â€“ it is this ownership and empowerment that will ultimately promote social and digital inclusion through community cohesion. Our innovative community engagement and digital inclusion programmes are rooted in mature, mutually respectful and trusting relationships, across all partners and sectors. We work
Community IT Services Community Film & Media Empowered and engaged communities realise the need for video and social content in a world where content is king and where a picture speaks a thousand words. Community IT Film and Media are a professionally trained, community focused, video and new media production team. The service offers bespoke content across a wide range of mediums as well as hands on multimedia training. Our way of working is always customer orientated. We understand that all communities are unique that that people come from diverse backgrounds, with very different needs and aspirations, and we tailor bespoke solutions that work brilliantly for them. Ownership of a community ﬁlm and media project is always placed ﬁrmly in the hands of the community itself. Our facilitative approach means that they can contribute content, steer the design, look, feel and messages whilst building their own ﬁlm and media skills and capacity. Film The team are experienced in the production of award-winning content for both the public and private sector. In offering support for ﬁlm projects such as dramas, documentaries, corporate videos, downloadable content and live event cover, communities in Sunderland can now produce their own rich content to compliment their services and provision.
Social Media It is not only the private and public sectors that embrace the beneﬁts of taking control of social media exposure, management and tracking. The Community and voluntary sector are increasingly acknowledging social media as an essential part of engagement and empowerment and is now regarded as an essential channel to reaching more local people.
Community IT help organisations to establish and manage their online social presence, assisting them to integrate other Community IT Services into new or existing projects. Community IT Film and Media service enables communities to provide their users with a rich, vibrant and memorable multimedia experiences, to stimulate and engage even the hardest to reach groups.
Community IT Services Community Health Information Points Background Sunderland has some of the worst areas of deprivation in the UK. Sunderland comes in at 33 on the list of all 354 local authorities in the UK on the Index of Deprivation 2007. This links directly to health, and the incidence of obesity and chronic health conditions is known to be higher in these areas. Sunderland has been progressing initiatives to combat this, for example in introducing the Wellness programme. Enabling Technology The Community IT Team installed health kiosks across the city in community locations. This allows residents in some of the most deprived areas to take advantage of health checks, such as blood pressure, weight and body fat. Beneﬁts • Community Health Information Points (CHIPs) allow the user to check their own health at a convenient location near to where they live. This puts the monitoring of their own health in their own hands • The equipment allows the user to check their health regularly and see any positive or negative changes. This can keep them motivated and informed in progressing any health improvements. • In addition it is expected that CHIPs will help to change parent’s attitudes to health inﬂuencing their children’s attitudes in the process
Community IT Services e-Mentoring Background Education Business Connections (EBC’s) pioneering ementoring project is being funded through Sunderland's award winning Digital Challenge initiative. 62 young people signed up to take part in the programme and were supported by dozens of business e-mentors from across the region, the students were from four local schools (Hetton, Springwell Dene, Barbara Priestman & Southwick Primary). Enabling technology The young people, including looked after children, are all now members of the ‘exclusive’ e-friends club. As part of the programme they complete a simple form aimed at ﬁnding out a little about them, their interests, hobbies, etc, and what kind of help they might need. eMentor Fraser McClennan said “The e-Mentoring project gives young and older people the chance to share experiences – their hopes and dreams, fears and concerns, and their failures and successes. It gives young people a neutral, nonjudgemental ear to turn to for advice and guidance” Based on this information the young people (mentees) are being matched with a CRB security checked business mentor who will provide on-line support, encouragement and guidance through a safe and secure portal. EBC’s e-Mentoring model offers a mix of activities and approaches for both the e-mentees and e-mentors involved in the programme. This is to ensure: • On-going communications is maintained to minimise the risk of self exclusion by e-mentees. • Support is provided to both e-mentees and e-mentors throughout the programme to safeguard their retention. • A minimising of the feelings of ‘exclusion’ or ‘isolation’ that could develop if pure e-communications was used. • The opportunity to meet others involved with the programme and to share experiences with them. • Provision of opportunities for parents/carers to ‘learn alongside’ the young people taking part in the programme. Approaches include: • Face-to-face work – induction training, ongoing e-mentee sessions and at large scale events • Group communications – from mentees to e-mentors (and a wider • audience) and vice versa • Virtual communities – for both mentees and mentors • Individual on-line mentoring – from e-mentors to e-mentees (managed by EBC)
Beneﬁts • Children can get advice to make positive life choices • Children are able to share experiences with others • Children feel they belong to a supportive community Feedback from pupils, staff members and parents involved: “Held children interest and make them think about different jobs.” “What my daughter enjoyed is how she thought about her future” “I have to work as a team gained a qualiﬁcation I enjoyed doing it because it’s something different” “I have learned how to work with others” Celebration Event All of the young people involved received an accredited qualiﬁcation with NCFE & Open College Network during a ﬁnale event in March 2010. This event was organised where the 62 mentees ﬁnally came face to face with their mentors they have been communicating with for a long period of time. Jordan Drury, 12, who attends Southwick Primary, got on well with his mentor. He said “I thought he was really funny, it was really good to meet him. He also helped me understand how to get a good job.”
Community IT Services Equipment Loan Background Access to high quality, safe technology on a regular basis can be very difﬁcult for many 3rd sector organisations. Resources are often stretched and new kit is often not a priority where there are limited resources. Community IT understand that it one-off, short term access to different new technologies can make a world of difference to enabling and empowering the voluntary and community sector in Sunderland. Enabling technology The team have established a pool of equipment that is available to all community & voluntary sector organisations within the city. Loans can be short or medium term; it can be regular or ad-hoc; and equipment can be loaned with or without additional facilitation and support from a member of the team. Technology on offer includes (but not exhaustively): • • • • •
PC & Apple Mac laptops, Data projectors, Digital cameras & camcorders E-Voting technology Nintendo Wii’s
This equipment is free of charge to all voluntary and community sector organisations and can be requested by calling a dedicated telephone number that is manned by a helpdesk team who will assist the caller immediately. The equipment can be loaned on a short term basis and can be used to assist with the organisational own objectives and needs. Activities that the equipment has been used for include: • • • •
Open days/fun days/fetes and fairs Consultation events Presentations Training sessions
Beneﬁts • Access to technology they otherwise don’t have access to due to ﬁnancial constraints • Flexibility to loan equipment on a short term basis without having to invest capital • Continuous engagement with the equipment including training and advice by the Community IT team
Community IT Services Flash meeting & Hexagon Flash Meeting The Flash Meeting Service offers a “by invitation only” online video conferencing facility. It allows a small number of people to meet, talk and chat online. The meeting is recorded and can be viewed back at anytime. Basic text, online voting, video, private messaging and playback are some of the main features. It is ideal for small online gatherings of people who would be unable to meet otherwise; this is a major beneﬁt for local groups and organisations. It offers an alternative to impersonal phone only which is limited to two people. Flash allows for one speaker at a time thereby ensuring a high level of democracy and eliminating the “loudest voice” syndrome. Flash features • Video and audio broadcast over a network or internet. • No download and installation - it works in a web browser with Flash 8 'plugin'. • Easy to use - click the broadcast button to start - click again to stop. • Indicate your intention to speak with a simple queuing system. • Public text chat - chat to others while watching the broadcast. • Private text chat - send private messages to individuals. • Share a URL - open a web page on all remote machines. • Shared whiteboard available to share text, drawing or photographs. • Vote and 'emoticon' options - share your opinions and feelings. • Countdown timer shows time remaining. • View participants either as a list of images or names. • Simple booking procedure to manage your meetings. • Secure and private meetings. • Low-data friendly (one broadcast stream at a time). • Record the meeting for easy web replay
Hexagon Hexagon offers an open community meeting place were up to 200+ people can congregate. It functions like messenger but has no technical security risk as it requires nothing to be installed on the users PC. Everyone can see all video images but only those “talking” can hear each other. This is used by the community and voluntary sector in Sunderland where they stay “logged on” all day. This enables them to remain networked and contactable and can reduce intrusive phone calls and emails, creating a more human connection. It allows for communities who are separated by great distances to continually engage with one another, strengthening their networks. It also enables remote working from home, or off-site. Remote working is not so remote any more.
Case Studies: Supporting the Voluntary & Community Sector WearAble Meet WearAble WearAble is a Sunderland based charity that offers a range of information and support services for disabled people, their families and carers. It was set up to support disabled people, raise awareness of disability issues and encourage disabled people to make choices about a healthier lifestyle.
allowing her to focus on developing strong content and supporting her community. Given the nature of the service WearAble delivers to its members, a high level of web site accessibility was required alongside the need to be able to update the site easily and quickly. Equipment Loan Scheme
Enabling technology & engagement It is the Community IT ethos to work with organisations and communities to ascertain their needs wants and aspirations. This intensive targeted engagement results in a personalised plan of support which often involves a number of our services. The result is a holistic approach to the facilitation of capacity building within the voluntary and community sector. Community e-Champions Kim, Disability Development Ofﬁcer at WearAble, realised the potential that the access to technology could offer not only for her as community development worker but also for her organisation and most importantly to empower the disabled community that she supports. • Internet enabled Laptop • On-going technical support • Bespoke engagement support - capacity development and training It didn’t take long for Kim to embed the use of the equipment into her daily working life and it wasn’t long before she had the idea of a WearAble website. Community of interest website Community IT supported WearAble to set up a Community of interest accessible website with which to promote their services and support their community. Under the CoI service WearAble received design support, technical advice, marketing guidance and ongoing support. The provision of this support removed the technical skills required for Kim to setup her successful web site,
The Brain Injury Group (BIG) is a group of adults with an acquired brain injury, their families and carers. The group have developed their own programme of regular activities and guest speakers and they meet every two weeks to share experiences and try new activities. The group members range from young adults to senior citizens, with many different levels of disability. They can often become frustrated with their limitations including loss of balance and coordination, paralysed limbs and short-term memory problems. Most frustrating of all is the memory of life before their injury and awareness of how they can be treated differently by society. Through working with the Community IT Team Kim was able to make use of the equipment loan scheme, to enable more physical activity for the group, using the Nintendo Wii in particular. The technical and engagement ofﬁcers facilitate the group in setting up the equipment and assists those members that need support to use the hand held remotes. The games are projected onto a large screen using a digital projector, which provides a better visual experience for the entire group. Beneﬁts Kim was able to build upon her effective community relationships and networks to act as a facilitator. She, supports her community, identiﬁes their needs and requirements, and, with the help of the Community IT Team uses ICT to help meet these needs and requirements.
Case Studies: Supporting the Voluntary & Community Sector Gaining access to detailed and much needed information on disabilities, beneﬁts, social activities and community news is a key element to feeling a part of any community. A highly accessible bespoke website provides a simple to use accessible platform from which information can be accessed by site users irrespective of disability a site visitor may have. Using the Wii can aid balance and coordination and wheelchair users can participate equally. It can help with the sequencing of events and tasks. The group support each other and enjoy the chance to compete. The sessions are enjoyed by the group members and the engagement ofﬁcers, who are usually challenged to take a turn. In her own words . . . . . . . “The use of the e champions lap top has enabled me to access emails and information when not in the ofﬁce. This can be of great importance when working with groups in the community, enabling me to keep up to date with what services, support and events are taking place so that I can share these with other people. The scheme itself has enabled me to meet knew people from a diverse section of the community who I might not have met in my day to day job. This has enabled me to build up a network of contacts across the city who I can contact should I need too. The support and information I have received as an e champion has enabled me to signpost Headway Wearside to services from yourselves to enable them to support people with acquired brain injury. This has been made easier with the development of a new Website, which is one of the ﬁve aims within the organisations ﬁrst year.” Kim, NE Regional Co-ordinator Headway Trust
Case Studies: Supporting the Voluntary & Community Sector Creative chlamydia event: Sunderland Voluntary Sector Youth Forum (SVSYF) Meet SVSYF Sunderland Voluntary Sector Youth Forum were charged to create an exciting, fun and empowering event to bring together the many youth clubs (its members) from across Sunderland. The event at the National Glass Centre will act as a platform to showcase their ideas and raise awareness of sexually transmitted diseases to a wide audience. www.svsyf.org Aims of the event on the day The day was aimed at showcasing many different ways to present information to other young people on the issue of Chlamydia, its causes, methods of protection and reason for infection.
Outputs from equipment used The Community IT Team, staff and the children all worked together throughout the day on the following activities: • One group needed support to ﬁlm some lip syncing footage which was then added into a video animation. • Two young looked after adults were supported to ﬁlm the entire event • A full length interactive DVD was produced from the footage taken throughout the day • One group had some Photoshop art created with the help of staff members. A short video of the event can be seen on Youtube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tj0OdMXfOYM&feature=ch annel_page)
• Continue to promote and raise awareness of Chlamydia and other STI’s to young people. This event helped encourage young people to have a voice by entering their own ideas to promote this important health message and ideas were showcased by over 86 young people from 12 organisations
Beneﬁts Young people were able to gain access to equipment and skills not available at previous events. The equipment enhanced the use of ICT, not only as a presentation aid but it also helped them imaginatively engage with others from across the city across the day. The DVD produced was later used to share the event with a regional collection of NHS medical specialists, and it was acknowledged as an effective and colourful way of engaging with young people in a non traditional method.
• To celebrate the achievements of everyone involved in the Chlamydia pilot (voluntary sector members) and partner organisations, and to say thank you to other projects for helping make the initiative a success.
Some feedback from the day “We want to make sure that all the marketing we do about Chlamydia is relevant to young people - that’s why it’s really important to ask them for their views and test ideas with them.”
The event was funded by SVSYF, GENTOO Aspire, Sunderland City Council Community Chest, and SNCBC (Sunderland North Community Business Centre)
Michelle Stamp, Manager of Northumberland Tyne & Wear NHS Chlamydia Screening Programme
The event had two major aims;
Enabling technology & engagement Some of the groups required technologies and other ICT equipment and support on the day to create and deliver their presentations. A request was made to the Community IT team in order to gain one-off access to specialist equipment and other technologies which the partnership did not have access to at the current time. Equipment used • 2x video and still cameras including associated equipment (young people were supported to take the video footage) • 1 video animation, needed to create a lip synched cartoon character • 1x DVD recording of the event • Projector and laptops
Case Studies: Supporting the Voluntary & Community Sector National Deaf Children’s Society Meet The National Deaf Children’s Society The National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) identiﬁed a need in Sunderland to consult directly with deaf children, their parents/carers to gain an understanding and awareness of how those from the deaf community were accessing local services from both voluntary and statutory service providers in the Sunderland area. The Aiming Higher Project The National Deaf Children’s Society and the Aiming High team held a consultation and activity event for deaf children in Sunderland, their parents and siblings at the Raich Carter Centre in Sunderland. Opened by Agony Aunt Denise Robson and local boxing hero Tony Jeffries, the aim of the event was to engage with young deaf people to explore their needs and how they access youth provision across the city. It also proved to be a critical platform for the public and third sector practitioners to engage directly with the young people involved. Aims of the event on the day The day was aimed at exploring deaf children and young people’s views on: • Access and opportunities to social activities • Identiﬁcation of barriers and how these can be overcome • What are the social issues for deaf children and young people who use different communication methods in Sunderland Enabling technology & engagement Unique “low sound” or “no sound” methods of consultation were needed to canvas the views of the deaf community. A request was made to the Community IT team in order to gain one-off access to specialist equipment and other technologies which the partnership did not have access to at the current time. Equipment used • 2x video cameras and associated equipment, • 1 set of interactive e-voting remotes, • Laptops, • Projector and screens, • LIAZE bus Outputs from equipment used Work on the day along with work done subsequently produced the following from the event: • Interactive e-voting session canvassing parents and children on a range of key questions
• A video ‘vox-pop’ interviewing area was set up where young people and adults could talk to specialist workers about their needs and concerns. All the recordings were taken with full permissions for later use in an interactive DVD which was also produced. • Sunderland’s Mobile Customer Information Centre (formally known as the LIAZE bus) supplied a range of information that highlighted the widespread availability of ICT within the city; they were also on hand to provide specialist information on how to adapt a PC for those with special needs. • The e-voting session provided statistical data on the delegate’s views and responses. This information was gathered in an anonymous fashion and the tool allows those with educational or language barriers to fully participate. Throughout the day workers from the charity worked alongside the Community IT staff in the use of the equipment passing on skills and knowledge they could learn and take forward to other future events. The data collected from the event directly impacted on the service provision of an Aiming High Pathﬁnder Programme. Beneﬁts Alongside other workshops throughout the day, the loan equipment allowed improved, target and appropriate methods of engagement by the volunteers and professionals on the day. Families leaned more about the local service provision whilst feeding back their needs and expectations. Some feedback from the day • “I found the event good and both my children and ourselves got a lot out of it.” • “Good centre, good day out for all family- often siblings are excluded.” • “ ‘L’. says ‘When is this going to happen again.’ It was really good, so my children liked it all day – more of them please!!” • “Encourage children to talk to each other and meet each other.” • “It was lovely to see my child having fun and playing with other deaf children, which she doesn’t normally do I learned a lot about services provided to deaf children and their families by the council and the national deaf children’s society.”
Case Studies: Engagement & Empowerment Sunderland People First (SPF) & the Our Voice Our Say Story Meet Sunderland People First Sunderland People First are a self advocacy group for people with learning disabilities, they aim to give a voice to the learning disabled population in Sunderland through training, campaigning and consultation. The group believe that, traditionally, people with a learning disability lead very isolated lives and receive segregated services, often separated from the rest of society. Sunderland People First believe that people should be full members of society and it is their aim to make this dream a reality. The group realised the power and opportunities provided by digital technologies and wanted to use them to help people who need to see visual representations or hear sound rather than rely on the written word. They realised that by harnessing technology they could achieve their goals. After talking with the Community IT Team a group of SPF representatives felt that access to the power of the internet would open up a world of possibilities, and that they could use the internet to help to support others to be more empowered and included. The Community IT Team worked together with Our Voice Our Say (OVOS) web team to empower them to group to tell their story. Empowerment has come from supporting the group to help themselves, and from supporting them to help others in a similar manner. Digital inclusion is not about technology, it’s about helping others to help themselves.
With the support of Community IT the group now have their own website – www.ourvoiceoursay.com each of their 34 group homes and two further meeting venues have PCs and equipment to enable them to network with one another and to manage the content on their website. They have created a website that is unique in the way it empowers people with a learning disability to share their stories and achievements through ﬁlm and sound. Whilst there are many websites for people with a learning disability none, both nationally and internationally, put the emphasis so completely upon real people and real stories. Enabling technology & engagement Community IT worked with Sunderland People First to design a website, providing a bespoke process tailored to the needs of the group. This removed the requirement for them to have the technical skill required to build successful website, whilst allowing them to focus on developing their strong content and promoting support and advice to their peers. This process involved, focus groups, working meetings, and training sessions facilitated by the Community IT Team. During these sessions the group members formed as steering group (The Website Team) to oversee all aspects of the design and build – ensuring that their requirements were being met.
Case Studies: Engagement & Empowerment As part of the e-Champions Project; 34 Small Group Homes were given PCs technical and user support and internet connectivity. They network with one another using the “Hexagon” secure on-line networking environment. The looked after adults, their support workers and their equipment are supported by a dedicated technical support and engagement/training Community IT Team. The team regularly visit to ascertain needs and support requirements. They also assist the residents to achieve speciﬁc tasks and personal goals. Many of the users meet for regular “catch-up” sessions with Community IT to discuss their progress, usage, requirements and to continue to manage their own website. Beneﬁts The Our Voice Our Say website provides information and social networking to help to reduce isolation and promote participation. It includes accessible information page, holiday reviews, social networking, events calendar, video news page, achievements pages with personal stories and a useful information written in an accessible image based style. All
content and media for the website is created by the people with learning disabilities themselves, with facilitation, and support from Community IT Engagement Ofﬁcers. Group homes residents are able to use their new equipment, skills and support to access the internet but also to network with each other using the Hexagon room on the Our Voice Our Say’ website. They communicate with each other through webcams, audio, and text which has had a signiﬁcant impact on their feeling of isolation, making it easier for them to network and develop their social lives. The process of working on the production of an accessible information guide and the website has had signiﬁcant impact on those involved – they have taken ownership of the advocacy and advisory role for their peer group in Sunderland. Empowerment and self-esteem at a high – they are proud of their expert status and of their achievements – they are champions of their own destiny, which is just they way they like it. In their own words... The following is a transcript of a presentation given by members of the Our Voice Our Say Website Team when they proudly launched their site at the Sunderland IT in the Community Conference 2009. Lisa Wilkinson – member SPF & OVOS Website team “Hello my name is Lisa and I will just explain who we are. We are a mixed group of people with a learning disability and some of the staff who support us with the development of our website. Together we have made up what we call our Website Team. Today is a really big day for us; it is the ofﬁcial launch of the Our Voice Our Say website. This is a website for people with a learning disability in Sunderland, about people with a learning disability in Sunderland, and ran by people with a learning disability in Sunderland. For us this is a really big deal, in fact it’s a huge Christmas mega deal for us, and I’ll tell you why. You can only really understand the importance of our website if you know a little bit about the history of how people with a learning disability have been treated. Our history has not always been great, and how we have been portrayed has often been a battle of dignity. We were the village idiots. When you see us in a Hollywood ﬁlm, its in things such as “Dumb and Dumber” or maybe the strange brother in “There’s Something about Mary”. But if you want some real history, we were the ﬁrst people killed in the holocaust and we are the ﬁrst people who are still locked away in unspeakable places throughout the world.
Case Studies: Engagement & Empowerment But take a deep breath, the horrible bit is over... For now the good bit – We have a different story to tell the world. It’s a Sunderland story of people with loving families, it’s the story of people who get jobs, it’s the story of people who live in all kinds of ways in all kinds of places just like you. And it’s the story of people who fall in love, get married, and just get on with our lives. This is the story we want to share with the world through the Our Voice Our Say website. We want the site to say this is who we are and this is our story. We want our website to shout out that we are all people ﬁrst. So let’s have a look at our new website and how it was developed. Kath – Support Worker, Washington Multipurpose Centre “Hello my name is Kath and this is Gillian. It only seems like yesterday that hardly anybody used their computer or the Internet, now everyone is talking about the internet. Googling, Twittering, Blogging, Friends Reunited, Facebook, Shopping and who knows what else.” Gillian – SPF member and OVOS Website Team “You know better than us about the digital revolution, but what we know is that with all new things there is a real danger that some people can be left behind. The people who can struggle with reading and writing and with complicated information, the internet can be a very different world. That is why we are so pleased to have worked with the Sunderland Digital Challenge team. Together we have looked at what can be done to support people with a learning disability to be part of the digital age. This includes providing over 30 internet connected laptops to homes supporting people with a disability, supporting a network of e-Champions who will support people to use computers and supporting us to make what we call an accessible website. So what makes our website accessible? Well it has to have as little writing as possible, all writing there is has to have an option of being sound activated, and most important of all the site must be driven by sound and ﬁlm. Beyond this we must make sure that people with a learning disability control the site and what goes on it. We are proud that the ﬁlm on our site has a real feel of people power. We did not want it to be about the best edited ﬁlm with the best cameras. That is why we won an award to buy nearly 30 very easy to use cameras; we all wanted a camera that gave people total control. The camera we use is the ﬂip camera – to work it we turn the ﬂip camera on, press the red button to ﬁlm, press it again to stop ﬁlming
and turn it off. Give it to somebody to edit or if you have the skills, edit it yourself. So you know why we think this is important, you know what we mean by accessible, now lets hear how our project got off the ground.” Ben Rosamond – “Futures” Transition Team, Sunderland City Council “It was essential from the outset that the Our Voice Our Say project was developed, designed and controlled by the people that will be using the site. Focused by this core intention the site was developed through involvement from a variety of people and groups from across the city. The team have carried out the search, held consultation sessions and gathered feedback to make sure that the site is put together in a way that is usable and accessible for all. With the focus of the site based around inclusion for all, it was essential that we involved as many people in the development of the site as possible. With continuing support from Digital Challenge and the local authority, the site will be updated and controlled by users, enabling people to learn new skills and have a true sense of ownership. There are many exciting possibilities for the site and with its world wide reach it makes a very strong and important statement. It was fundamental to the success of the project that the person who was going to help us build the site was able to have an understanding of what we wanted, why we wanted it, but most of all listen to what we had to say and carry it out. We would like to thank David from Digital Challenge, for all his hard work and devotion in helping us create a site that we are all very proud of and I’m sure will be enjoyed by many people in Sunderland and beyond for many years to come.”
Case Studies: Engagement & Empowerment Stuart - Carer “As you’ve heard the proposal was for a website for people with a learning disability, that will offer real inclusion via social networking and information sharing. People are able to show others what they can do, where they are and where they have came from in a way that is creative, expressive and accessible to everyone. We intend for OurVoiceOurSay.com to incorporate as much ﬁlm and sound as possible; in this way those who traditionally struggle with reading and writing will ﬁnd the website meaningful and user-friendly. It is the case that those people with a more profound disability are rarely heard or their achievements are not recognised; OurVoiceOurSay.com will include a promise that all people with a learning disability, no matter what their level of disability will have their opportunity to share their stories. We think the website can promote an inclusive society and help people be part of and belong to communities – not just be lonely residents within them or day visitors to them. Shirley – service user and OVOS website team “There are a number of different sections on the website that allows people to come together and share their experience or even just have a good old natter. Our Achievements: This page will show you video of anyone who has achieved anything from making their ﬁrst cup of tea to winning medals at the Special Olympics. The Hexagon page: This is a webcam chat room which is available to everyone in supported accommodation in Sunderland, because they now have their own laptops and webcams. This allows them to connect with people who they either used to live with or they are still living with now. Friendship group page: This page will show you videos of events that the friendship group has had. It will also act as an extra point for the people to ﬁnd out about the events. Holiday page: This will show videos and photographs of people on holiday and is for people to come together and share their experiences, hopefully encouraging more people to broaden their horizons or ﬁnd others who have the same interests.” Matt Prothero – SPF member and OVOS website team “Hi my name is Matt, and I have a learning disability, which for me means I like things very straight forward in an easy to understand manner. I want to explain to you from my point of view why this website is so important. The website for me is easy to use, but what I really like is I can take a camera out and ﬁlm things I am involved in. When I run an event for
people I can show that people can really get involved in the community and encourage other people to get out and about. For some people we speak up for things that can seem ordinary but they can actually be huge achievements and we will show this on the site. We will show you a quick ﬁlm of one man, Steven going on a helicopter trip. Steven is a man who had a real ambition to do something that is fairly straight forward. Perhaps its not that exciting to watch unless you have a thing for helicopters. For us it shows that a person with a learning disability can have dreams that can be achieved. It shows that Steven can ﬁlm his own experience in his own way and he can put it on to the website to share with his family, friends and the world. Its safe to say Steven is digitally enabled which is lovely, but it also shows that people with a learning disability that having a dream matters and they might want to do something like climb a mountain, swim on the barrier reef or work on the market and they can share this with others. We want our website to raise the ambitions of people.” Rachel Simpson – SPF Member and OVOS Website Team “Hello my name is Rachel. While the networking and relationship side of this site is an important feature, we have also built in pages that cover local news. We are involved in lots of things to improve the lives of people with a learning disability in Sunderland like our work on hate crime. Our campaigns around fair access issues and lots of other things like looking at how government policy works in Sunderland. This is why we have an news page. On the news page at the moment we show some health training ﬁlms we have made, some feedback from our conferences, as well as a memorial to a dear friend of ours Sharon Williams. Finally we have a page devoted to accessible information which will be changed regularly with fresh stuff.”
Case Studies: Engagement & Empowerment Festival of social science national consultation event
Enabling technology & engagement The event began with the audience using the interactive eVoting equipment pre-programmed, supplied and facilitated by Community IT. A second e-Voting session then led into a facilitated audience discussion around several themes presented on a pre-prepared multi-media presentation. Equipment utilised: • Quizdom interactive e-Voting system • Laptop and Data projector
The VOME Project The VOME (Visualisation and Other Methods of Expression) aims to explore how user communities engage with concepts of information privacy and consent in on-line interactions. They will develop alternative conceptual models of on-line privacy which enable users to make clearer on-line disclosure choices. These decision making models will facilitate a better dialogue between the designers of privacy and consent functionality and their customers. Researchers from the Information Security Group (ISG) at Royal Holloway, University of London, Salford and Cranﬁeld Universities are participating in a three year collaborative research project with consent and privacy specialists at Consult Hyperion and Sunderland City Council, to explore how people engage with concepts of information privacy and consent in on-line interactions. The Festival of Social Science is a National programme run by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), intended to help members of the public to discover more about the world of social science. As part of the highly regarded programme, Community IT worked alongside the VOME Project to run an exciting interactive consultation event aimed at making internet users more aware of the problems of disclosing personal information online.
Beneﬁts The event will be showcased in the VOME research project which will raise awareness about online privacy. Academic researchers will continue to work with Sunderland City Council to produce tools to help online users deal with issues of privacy and personal information. The research will also help to ensure that online services can be designed to deal effectively with concerns about online privacy. In their own words... “This is a fantastic opportunity for members of the public, who want to do more online, but feel constrained by worries about their own privacy, to come along and tell us about these concerns and maybe learn a little which might help them feel more secure in their future online dealings.” Dr. Lizzie Coles-Kemp, VOME Project Manager
Case Studies: Community Electronic Village Halls (EVHs) Gentoo, Farringdon Jubilee Centre & Community IT Partnership Meet Gerry from Amble Tower Gerry is a retired soldier now living in the Lakeside estate in Sunderland. Lakeside consists of seven high rise apartment blocks provided by Gentoo, one of the Country’s largest Registered Social Landlords. A popular and regular user of the Community IT supported facilities at the Jubilee Centre Gerry was impressed by the user friendly set up and reliability of the IT facilities on offer there. Gerry knew that there was some public access PCs in the community space in Amble Tower on the Lakeside Estate, but they were poorly conﬁgured and suffered from over-restrictive web content ﬁltering. The result was difﬁculties for outreach training providers, poor ﬁrst experiences of technology for residents and a room of under utilised technology. As a result of a unique partnership between Community IT, Gentoo and Farringdon Jubilee Centre, the community room at Amble Tower is now a thriving hub of activity, with Gerry leading the way encouraging enthusiastically all who enter to get to grips with the Technology. Because of his advocacy and passion, Gerry was invited to become one of Sunderland’s 200+ Community e-Champions, and was provided with a laptop, mobile internet and printer. He uses this equipment to help other tenants build their conﬁdence and encourage them to take the ﬁrst steps towards using the PCs in the Community room. Enabling technology & engagement The real working Partnership between Gentoo (RSL), Community IT and Farringdon Jubilee Centre meant that each partner could bring their own offerings and professional expertise to the table.
• Gentoo provide the room, Internet ready PCs and on-going overheads (i.e. broadband, heating, electricity, cleaning, etc), • Community IT provides the specialised technical support needed to keep the PCs running safely and efﬁciently to ensure positive experiences for the users. • The Jubilee Centre provides outreach training courses which are supplemented by regular Community IT engagement support visits. A highly successful launch event was held with the whole Lakeside Estate invited to attend. Hosted by Gentoo, Community IT and Jubilee Centre staff. Tenants were introduced to the EVH given demonstrations of the new, more user friendly PCs and had their key fobs reprogrammed to enable access to the room at any time. Over 70 tenants signed up for training courses at the launch and followed in even more coming forward in the following weeks. Beneﬁts This partnership helped Gentoo to successfully deliver one of their social obligations, Community IT to reach one of their target groups and The Jubilee Centre to effectively deliver their courses. Gerry helps promote the beneﬁts of using the IT facilities at Lakeside and The Jubilee Centre especially in the area of digital photography. He also provides answers to the questions posed to him by other tenants and if he cannot answer the question himself he does seeks advice from The Jubilee Centre staff, Community IT or the Internet before providing a solution. The success of the partnership has led to the installation of a further 14 new Electronic Village Halls ﬁnanced by Gentoo and technically supported by Community IT with new sites being added as demand grows. In his own words... “I use my digital camera to take photos for the residents association, police (neighbourhood watch) and the art club. I show people how to edit their pictures, search the Internet with key words. At the Jubilee Centre I run the art club but also introduce people to using the computer, sometimes for the ﬁrst time ever. I started with computers eight years ago when I didn't have a clue how to use them. I went to Finchale College and started using the computer system in the green house, I learned how to control the temperature, watering and feeding of the plants. I had to take the basic computing skills course before they would let me use the system in the greenhouse.”
Case Studies: Community Electronic Village Halls (EVHs) My knowledge of computers has grew and grew and grew, I enjoy it and it keeps me busy. I keep in touch with old friends from the army; we have our own website going. We are writing our own book about life in the army, there was no Battery history for the 60's and 70's. There was a history from early 1800's to early 1900's and a history from the 1980's to the present day but nothing for the 1960's and 70's. We all send pictures and accounts of our experience using email and we are just about ﬁnished the book. We are now looking for funding to get it published. I'm still learning every day and try to improve my skills wherever I can, I'm hungry for knowledge!”
“A friend at Amble Tower told me about courses at The Jubilee Centre so I went along, introduced myself and got involved. I went to the art course that was delivered at The Jubilee Centre but wasn't run by them. I suggested running the art club ourselves so Jemma applied for funding to get us off the ground and we continued raising money from other sources and sold some of our art using the Internet. Even the lord mayor’s wife bought some of our Botanical art (portrait of a beetroot). The art club didn't use computers then but now we encourage members to use the Internet for subject matter, landscapes, seascapes, wild west characters, etc. We have created art for Gentoo. During the refurbishment of the towers at Lakeside we produced 80 watercolour paintings that now hang in the hallways and passages. Inspiration for the paintings came from images gathered from the Internet. • Aberdeen Tower - Scottish themes • Amble tower - Northumberland and Cumbria theme • Aden Tower - Yemen Republic theme (Aden is the capital of the Yemen Republic) I also help out at St David's Church, printing music sheets. I play my guitar for the choir practice sessions and sometimes we learn songs from the Internet (YouTube). If I ﬁnd a song on Youtube that I think we can play I download the tablature from chordie.com or ultimate-guitar.com, print them out and start practicing with the band. In return for providing backing music for the choir we get free tuition from the music tutors.
Case Studies: Community Electronic Village Halls (EVHs) Lisa’s story Welcome to St David’s Community Hall St David’s Pentecostal Church at Farringdon prides itself on being a source of information and resource to individuals, groups and other organisations. The volunteers at the church have developed excellent relationships with the young people from Farringdon, who have a diverse range of personal circumstances and support needs. Through consultation and the development of partnerships, St David’s have devised a range of activity, support and education initiatives to respond to these needs and issues. Targeted activity includes music and performing arts, outdoor activities, identity, support for those leaving care, teenage fathers, family nurturing, homework club, anger management, conﬁdence building and many more. Enabling technology & support St David’s is home to several Community e-Champions, who have, with consultation with the local community and young people worked with the Community IT Team to develop a supported Electronic Village Hall (EVH) for the whole community to use. All groups that meet at St David’s, have access to the EVH, for most it is the only time that access to IT is available. The EVH project provides a number of internet enabled computers and a networked printer. The equipment is supported by a dedicated Community IT team that includes both engagement & technical support ofﬁcers from within Sunderland City Council.
The EVH supports and complements St David’s own existing projects for example, the young fathers support group who were working on a community garden, were able to source information and guidance on garden design – they plan to open the garden to the local community - “everyone working on one project – a garden for everyone – a real community” (Charlie Thompson, Pastor & Centre Manager) The EVH has also acted as a catalyst, encouraging more young people to engage and participate in some of the life changing initiatives on offer at St Davids. Meet Lisa Lisa has lived in residential care from the age of 12, she had low educational attainment and suffered from low self esteem. Upon leaving residential care she suffered exclusion and disadvantage. Befriended by volunteers from St David’s, Lisa took her ﬁrst tentative steps into the Centre in 2004 to attend a coffee morning. Although St David’s represented a safe, nonjudgemental and supportive place Lisa found it hard to trust anyone and getting involved was something she preferred not to do “I just liked to sit quietly in the corner”. Eventually patience and understanding prevailed and Lisa found an interest in IT. She joined the beginners classes where she ﬂourished and realised she had an aptitude, not only for the computers but for helping others to use them too. As her self esteem and aspirations grew Lisa decided to enrol on College accredited courses and achieved qualiﬁcations in IT – her ﬁrst ever achievement. “I found out – I can do this – for me that’s massive.”
Case Studies: Community Electronic Village Halls (EVHs) This was followed by her decision to enrol on a three year Diploma in Theology at Harvest Bible College in Glasgow. The EVH enabled her to study via distance learning and provided the crucial resources with which to carry out research needed for the course. Her new found conﬁdence also meant that Lisa was able to travel to Glasgow for her regular tutorial and regular residential sessions. Lisa now preaches in the church on Sundays, visits the most in need and the most disadvantaged members of the community, those with the most challenging and difﬁcult backgrounds. “I want to help people to speak up and help them reach their potential too.” She also continues to help others in the EVH. At a recent Digital inclusion dissemination day hosted in Sunderland, Lisa prepared a presentation for 25 visiting delegates from Local Authorities & Partnerships across the country. The focus was how the support and technology had changed her life – a presentation and an audience that would phase the most frequent public speaker. “If my story can help people then that will make me happy.” On 5th July 2009 Lisa attended her Graduation ceremony in Glasgow (with A+ and A grades) – a picture of her with her classmates hangs proudly on the wall in St Davids “I was very nervous walking up in my gown to collect my diploma but it was great” What’s next for Lisa? She doesn’t quite know – happiness she hopes, and a job “but only if it is helping people”.- for now though Lisa volunteers full time arranging support and development for others most in need.
In her own Words... “I ﬁrst come to St David’s Church about 4 years ago. I had just come out of residential care when I ﬁrst moved into the area. I was ﬁrst invited to St David’s by a friend – I didn’t have any support, I didn’t have any conﬁdence and very low self esteem – I felt my life wasn’t going nowhere. Until I ﬁrst come to St David’s Church I didn’t have enough money to buy a computer of my own. We started a course based on computers for beginners which I joined – I didn’t have much knowledge and experience of computers. I found this was a great beneﬁt to me as I learned more about computers. I was able to move on to the more advanced level and within a few months I was able to help the teacher and support others. I have been to college and done two computer courses which I have received qualiﬁcations for. I am just about to ﬁnish a three year diploma course in Theology at Harvest Bible College, Glasgow and will be graduation at the beginning of July and without the help of St David’s I wouldn’t be able to research the work I need to do the study. The Church has really helped me and supported me through everything and if it wasn’t for the church and all its help I don’t know where I would be now or what I would be doing.”
Case Studies: Community e-Champions (Youth) Catch 22 Project – North Washington Meet Darren Darren is a Youth Worker at a Catch-22 project in North Washington This youth inclusion project works with young people in the North Washington area that are identiﬁed as being at high risk of involvement in offending or anti – social behaviour. They engage with hundreds of young people in an attempt to reduce youth crime. A large part of their work is in the community during night time detached sessions or during school holidays offering diversionary programmes. Many of the young people who are engaged are socially excluded as well as not being in education or training (NEET) and therefore do not access local provisions in their community. Darren now uses his community e-Champions laptop to support young people to gain access to resources, help, information, networking and guidance, giving the project a unique advantage when dealing with hard to reach and excluded young people. The 3G modem allows him to directly engage with young people whilst carrying detached engagement. Darren has found that many of young people in his area are now not only proﬁcient at using the internet but are now producing media projects and presentations, raising their aspirations, sense of achievement and participation.
Enabling Technology and Engagement The Community e-Champions provided Darren with a laptop computer and a desktop printer. The laptop is connected to the Internet via a 3G modem which gives him access remotely that is essential when conducting detached youth work sessions. Darren and his equipment are supported by a dedicated Community IT team that includes both Engagement & Technical Support ofﬁcers from The Community IT Team. The team regularly visit Darren to discuss her needs, support requirements, to assist him on speciﬁc tasks and to achieve personal goals, and those of young people he supports. Beneﬁts Access to the Internet now enables the young people to more effectively, access youth orientated websites, use email and social networking, produce presentations and the use digital media, particularly for those who do not have access at home or elsewhere. Darren can now support his young people to access crucial lifestyle information via the internet, i.e. jobs and training as well as information relating to sexual health, teenage pregnancy, smoking and other substance misuse issues and youth information, which in turn can promote positive life choices.
Case Studies: Community e-Champions (Youth) portable internet access great. Groups were able to access information at any time of the day, wherever we were in the country. I found that the groups of young people would typically access local youth information sites like the SHOWT website, the Frank website, local youth clubs and leisure centre’s as well as keeping in touch with each other through emails and social sites. Young people were able to put together short slide shows of photos that we had taken during the day’s activities and even this helped the young people to understand the process of moving media from cameras etc onto a laptop and compiling a slide show or short presentation to other young people in the group. I found that for the young people learning the basics like using cameras with the laptop was an extremely useful way for them to learn in practical, hands on manner. Training on offer to the young people has empowered them by supporting the production of media projects and presentations – raising their aspirations and promoting the positive messages about participation in mainstream activities. Mobile internet access has increased the engagement of the very hardest to reach groups and individuals. Darren now has an additional support channel whilst delivering his detached youth services in parks and other public areas where connectivity is an issue. In Darren’s Own Words….. “I ﬁrst heard about the e-Champion scheme through Pennywell Youth Project where I am a sessional worker. After speaking with staff who where already part of the scheme I felt that the young people that I work with at North Washington Youth Inclusion Programme, in the Washington area of the city would beneﬁt hugely from having access to a portable, internet ready laptop. I am in contact with a huge number of young people, most of whom do not have access to the internet at home. I found the process of contacting the Community IT team, setting up the initial meetings and receiving the necessary training was very easy to do and found the team extremely helpful. At the project, we provide a huge number of diversionary activities for the young people that we work with, and most of these are out of school hours and in the school, holidays and typically, we would be out with a group from 9am until 4pm. During this time, I actively encouraged young people to use the laptop to ﬁnd helpful information that would beneﬁt them. One of the main reasons that young people used the internet was for the purpose of looking and using their Lets Go card, ﬁnding out how to book activities and what was available to them during the school holidays. Having a laptop with internet access was extremely beneﬁcial for our young people as most of the time we were away from any internet access and found the
As I carry the laptop with me, I have also been encouraging friends and family, who do not usually use computers to try it out and to learn from it. A close family member of mine recently enrolled in college to study counselling at NCFE level 1 and 2. The course involved 2 hours at college per week with a lot of home learning for the rest of the course. As she does not have access to the internet at home, I encouraged her, several times per week, to use this laptop to access the college websites, send work to her assessor to be marked and receive feedback from the course tutors. This helped her immensely in gaining her NCFE level 1 and level 2 with the City of Sunderland College. She now has a basic grasp of the internet, which has enabled her to use it a lot more and she now has begun to use a PC daily to better her life. The e-Champion scheme has given the young people that I work within the City of Sunderland an opportunity to gain a better understanding of I.T, how the internet works and the potentially huge beneﬁts that I.T can have on their life. I have found that groups of young people tended to stick to using the internet for the same things, i.e. e mails etc but by becoming a part of the e-Champion scheme I have been able to get them to try and use the internet for a wider range of reasons and open them up to the massive beneﬁts that IT can have on their lives.”
Case Studies: Community of Interest Websites (COI) Disabled Children’s Website consultation and rebuild Meet the Sunderland Disabled Children Network Website www.sundc.org.uk was developed with the support of the Community IT team in 2003. It was owned by the Sunderland Disabled Children Network – a collection of parents, carers and siblings, with input from key professionals as and when it is needed – a true Community linked by a common Interest. Although still functioning and well used, over time the site became large and somewhat congested. As part of the annual review, support and ICT advocacy provide by the Community IT COI service the Network were made aware of new developments and potential of new technical aspects of web design and online user behaviour. The Network decided it was time for a change – and with the help of the Community IT Team they decided to start with consultation, after which time the Community of Interest Ofﬁcer would help them to produce a site that was new innovative and ﬁt for purpose. Following the consultation a full site rebuild was completed based around feedback Enabling technology and engagement Parents/carers and disabled children in Sunderland were invited to consultation sessions in order to gather their views about what they wanted from the site. Community IT assisted in the facilitation of these sites where the Equipment Loan Scheme provided interactive e-voting tools so that feedback and responses could be gathered anonymously from participants then collated and used to inform the rebuild. Community IT provided a dedicated Community of Interest Web Development Ofﬁcer who worked with the Network members to support them through the consultation phase, the build and design phase and ﬁnally the content delivery phase of their website. The Website contained:
Beneﬁts The provision of this unique community web site was offered in a way that allowed the Disabled Children’s Network to deliver their own content tailored towards the needs of their own group. This supported the development of that community, strengthening its networks and providing a forum for peersupport. The training and support from, and partnership with Community IT enabled the Networks to build their capacity in a wide range of related subjects, which combine together to allowed them to effectively market and manage their own site on a day to day basis. The consultation event ensured that the website was built in a way that responded to the needs of the Disabled Children’s Network community and that above all – the site was useful, usable and would be used by them. Placing the users of the site in a position of ownership empowered them to contribute, and impact upon the design of services and provision as they now have a forum within which to engage the relevant professionals in this ﬁeld. In their own words... Parents Feedback on new design:
Integrated simple and advanced search engines Easy to use navigation Search engine friendly design Visual styling to ﬁt the Network’s new branding and design Very high level of access for visually impaired users through auto text enlargement • Complies with Web Accessibility Standards (DDA compliant)
• • • •
After the rebuild was complete parents and young people who had attended the consultation events were invited to a testing session in order to ensure all of their comments and ideas had been captured.
• Very good • Very bright and colourful • There is nothing to be changed on this website – it is great and enjoyable • I think the website is good for young children – it helps them to listen and to learn, how to read and to draw
• • • • •
Much more user friendly Looks great Everything I searched for I was able to ﬁnd There seems to be a good choice of information already included
Young Peoples feedback:
Case Studies: Community of Interest Websites (COI) • It has more education on this site than others I have been on • You can learn a lot of good things • The website it cool • Would like some more games • The games are more educational games than fun games • I think that the painting section is exciting and fun • Fun to read and lots of different books to look at • If you are interested in animals and sea creatures this is a great way of looking at them up close • The homework section can help you when you are stuck with your home work
Case Studies: ICT @ Home Kodjo & Sabine’s Story Meet Kodjo & Sabine Kodjo and Sabine are a young married couple who arrived in the UK in 2002, from their native Togo. As Asylum Seekers they settled in Washington and were welcomed by the volunteers and staff at Washington Church of Christ. They undertook English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes offered by the church. They enrolled their two children in The Nest Crèche, which was offered by staff and volunteers of Washington Asylum Seekers Project, conveniently located on church premises. In 2009, the family were granted permission to remain in the UK permanently, and are very proud to have received their British Citizenship in February 2010. Through their involvement in the ICT @ Home Project Kodjo has achieved his NVQ Level 2 Literacy, is working towards NVQ Level 2 Numeracy, uses DirectGov to seek employment and accesses Driving Test Software. Sabine is working towards her NVQ Level 2 in Childcare, and the children are using the laptop to support their Key Stage 1 studies. Enabling technology and engagement The ICT@Home project provides the family with a laptop computer and a desktop printer. The laptop is connected to the Internet via a 3G modem which gives them access to a whole new world from the comfort of their own home. The family and their equipment are supported by a dedicated Community IT Team that includes both Engagement & Technical Support ofﬁcers. The team regularly visits Kudjo and Sabine to discuss their needs, support requirements, to assist them with speciﬁc tasks and to achieve personal goals. This has included research for their British Citizenship exam, access to educational courses, using the employment search and software to develop new skills. Kudjo and Sabine also attend regular ‘catch up’ sessions in their local Electronic Village Hall (EVH) where they and other ICT@Home recipients can meet and discuss their progress, usage and requirements with the Community IT Team. Beneﬁts Kudjo and Sabine have accessed the Internet to prepare for their British Citizenship Test, assist with their ESOL studies and keep in touch with family and friends around the world via email and instant messaging programmes. Kudjo used the technology to study Level 2 Literacy, which he passed, and is now preparing for Level 2 Numeracy. He also uses the Directgov website to look for employment and is preparing for his Driving Theory test. Sabine is working towards
an NVQ Level 2 Childcare qualiﬁcation and uses the laptop to research for and complete assignments. Their children, 6 year old daughter, Emanuella, and 4 year old son, Laurent actively use the laptop and access the Internet, which enhances and builds upon their IT capability, an integral part of the Key Stage 1 educational curriculum. In their own words.. “Nowadays it is fabulous to have access to technology at our ﬁngertips. My family and I are lucky to beneﬁt from one of the prestigious programmes offered by Digital Challenge named ICT @ Home. The system helps me build skills for life, my conﬁdence, improve my English, gain Level 2 Adult Literacy and Numeracy qualiﬁcations, job search and college research. Emanuella and Laurent understand the basics of how to use the laptop. They sometimes work on their own using a search engine such Google to ﬁnd websites to play dress up games. Sabine was impressed at a recent parents evening when my 4 year old son’s nursery teacher said “Laurent is very good on the computer and at taking photos.” Sabine uses the computer for her childcare research as well as doing home work.”
Case Studies: ICT @ Home Doreen’s Story Meet Doreen Doreen is a long standing member of the congregation and a volunteer at Washington Church of Christ, and remembers when the Community Electronic Village Hall was installed in 2004. For the next 5 years, Doreen was a regular weekly visitor in the computer suite . . . . but only to make sure the room was dusted and tidy. Try as they might the volunteers and staff couldn’t encourage her to use the equipment. However, it was not until April 2009, when she became a recipient of the ICT@Home project, that she began to take an interest in computers and realised the beneﬁts that technology can provide. Doreen now uses the equipment to help her in her volunteering capacity – researching nutritional and varied recipes that she serves to the luncheon club at the Church, but also in her personal life - using social networking and email to keep in touch and working on the laptop together with her grandchildren to download music. Enabling technology & engagement The ICT@Home project provides Doreen with a laptop computer and a desktop printer. The laptop is connected to the Internet via a 3G modem which gives her access to a whole new world from the comfort of her own home. Doreen and her equipment is supported by a dedicated Community IT Team that includes both engagement & technical support ofﬁcers. The team regularly visits Doreen to
discuss her needs, support requirements, to assist them with speciﬁc tasks and to achieve personal goals. This includes using the Internet, email, social networking, digital photography and music. Doreen also attends regular ‘catch up’ sessions in her local digital community hub where she and other ICT@Home recipients can meet and discuss their progress, usage and requirements with the Community IT Team. Beneﬁts In 2006, Doreen took over the running of the Wednesday lunch club, which now serves almost 50 people each week. Doreen uses her laptop to research new recipes to help keep the menu varied and nutritional. She also likes to take regular trips with her husband, Trevor, and uses the Internet to check for ﬂights and hotel deals. She now has a digital camera and enjoys taking holiday snaps – her conﬁdence and new skills has quickly grown. Doreen has set up her own email address, and now has a Facebook page. Her grandchildren also make use of the laptop and her husband transfers music to his MP3 player. Quite a journey for a self-confessed techno-phobe, and a journey which she is looking forward to continuing. In her own words... “Thanks for writing about me. I still have a lot to learn, but I am getting better. I’d like to say thank you very much to the Community IT team for all the support they have given me since I have had the laptop.”
Case Studies: ICT @ Home Jean’s Story Meet Jean Jean is a 75 year old retired credit controller who lives in the Southwick area of Sunderland with her husband Clem. Jean had never used a PC before and her motivation was to be able to keep in touch with family members and ﬁnd out about things in her local area (events, activities etc). Enabling technology and engagement The ICT @ Home project provides Jean with a laptop computer and a desktop printer. The laptop is connected to the Internet via a 3G modem which gives her access to a whole new world from the comfort of her own home. Jean and her equipment are supported by a dedicated Community IT team that includes both engagement and technical support ofﬁcers from within Sunderland City Council. The team regularly visits Jean to discuss her needs, support requirements, to assist her on speciﬁc tasks and to achieve personal goals. This could range from helping her to research her next holiday destination and get the best online deal, to sending the holiday snaps via email to friends and family when she returns. Jean also attends regular “catch-up” sessions in her local Digital Community Hub where she and other ICT @ Home recipients can meet and discuss their progress, usage and requirements with the Community IT Team. Beneﬁts Jean is ﬁnding that access to the technology and the support she receives from the Community IT team means she can keep in contact with her family and ﬁnd the best deals for household goods and holidays online. Her social life has now re-ignited since she started to use the Internet to stay in contact with her old work colleagues.
She enjoys the sessions at the digital community hub and regards them as another “day out” looking forward to catching up with all her new found friends and neighbours. In Jean’s own words . . . . . . “Well I hadn’t any idea of computers at all so I went on the Community Centre courses. I have literally gone from scratch and I’m getting pretty much up to speed – I’m even on e-mail now. Its good for me to have it at home, I have the courses on the computer and I can work on them at home and really get interested in it. I’m getting onto email to talk to the family because they’ve all got computers too. We put the computer on when we got back from our holidays to Turkey and I got the Hotel up and I showed my husband Clem – he couldn’t believe it because we had just left it a few hours earlier!!!”
Case Studies: ICT @ Home Katie’s Story Meet Katie Katie is a 25 year old mum to Bethany aged 4. Katie works and volunteers in a crèche. Through her participation in the ICT@Home project Katie has been able to complete her NVQ Level 2 qualiﬁcations in Childcare and is now working towards Level 3. Through her new qualiﬁcation and increased conﬁdence Katie has been able to ﬁnd employment. Enabling technology and engagement The ICT @ Home project provides Katie with a laptop computer and a desktop printer. The laptop is connected to the Internet via a 3G modem which gives her access to a whole new world from the comfort of her own home. Katie and her equipment are supported by a dedicated Community IT team that includes both engagement and technical support ofﬁcers from with Sunderland City Council. The team regularly visits Katie to discuss her needs, support requirements, to assist her on speciﬁc tasks and to achieve personal goals from ﬁnding a particular piece of information on line to using the installed Microsoft Ofﬁce application for college work. Katie also attends regular “catch-up” sessions in her local Digital Community Hub where she and other ICT @ Home recipients can meet and discuss their progress, usage and requirements with the Community IT Team. Beneﬁts The main beneﬁts to Katie have been in the area of education – for both herself and her daughter. When she ﬁrst obtained her equipment and support she was unemployed and struggling to complete her NVQ Level 2 in Childcare. Now Katie has not only completed Level 2 but has gained employment and is now well on her way to Level 3. Her daughter Bethany, also beneﬁts from increased IT literacy and general educational attainment. Katie uses the Internet to
source learning materials, research early years childcare and learning methodology so that she can give Bethany the best start in life. In Katie’s own words . . . . . . “I have managed to get a job because of it – I wouldn’t have been able to ﬁnish the NVQ Level 2 in Childcare as quick. Now I work in different areas of childcare – in the Bangladeshi Centre and all over the place. I would like to go more in depth on the internet on working with children with learning difﬁculties as that’s what I would like to do – work in a nursery with children with learning difﬁculties. I recorded a video clip on my mobile phone and used the computer to email it to “You’ve Been Framed” – this will hopefully get me £250 and I’ll be able to spend it on my daughter.”
Case Studies: Equipment Loan - The Wii Michelle’s Story Meet Michelle Michelle is a young woman who lives in the Coalﬁelds area of Sunderland. A busy volunteer, community worker, community IT e-champion, and a mother, Michelle found that she was putting on weight which was not only affecting her physical health but also her self esteem. She decided it was time to take more care of her health and ﬁtness. Her GP referred her to a slimming programme but Michelle just couldn’t face the idea of joining a gym or going to a public pool. Walking caused her pain because of the extra weight she was carrying, this coupled with demands and the pressures of home, family and work life, it left little time or scope to exercise. After speaking with the Community IT Team, Michelle was loaned a Wii giving her the ability to kick start her healthy journey in the comfort and privacy of her own home – a fun solution to boost her levels of daily activity and massively improve her health and energy. Michelle is now 3.5 stone lighter and regularly walks over 20 miles per week pain free. Enabling technology & engagement The Equipment Loan Scheme provides Michelle with a Wii on a regular loan basis. It is fully supported by a dedicated Community IT Team, which includes both Engagement and Technical Ofﬁcers. The equipment was delivered and installed in Michelle’s home (a task that she is now able to carry out herself) and the engagement ofﬁcers gave her some training, hints and tips about its safe usage. The team meet or contact Michelle regularly to discuss her needs and where appropriate signpost to other technologies or services that may beneﬁt her personal requirements. Beneﬁts In conjunction with healthy eating Michelle was able to lose weight and now regularly exercises. She has also experienced better emotional and physical wellbeing and a massive reduction in her Body Mass Index (BMI). Carrying out this exercise means a healthier heart for Michelle – her GP has advised that this type of activity is reducing her cardiovascular risks, including combating the threat of high blood pressure. Michelle now has a zest for life and ﬁtness, with this jump start helping her onto the path of continued exercise. She is now working towards the maintenance of an ideal weight goal.
In her own words... After being referred to slimming world by my GP I had to up my exercise regime or ‘body magic’ as they call it. The thoughts of going to a public gym or swimming baths terriﬁed me and I’ve always found exercising at home boring and hard work, although I do enjoy walking but in the beginning I found this very painful because of my size. On chatting with a member of the Digital challenge team we got talking about the Wii and the loan scheme. I loaned the Wii from them and it was amazing, not only was it fun to use but I was able to go at my own pace in the privacy of my own home. This helped me not only lose weight but build my self esteem. It didn’t feel like exercise at all as I was able to play the games with my friends and family whiles having a good workout without even realising it. To date I have lost 3 ½ stone and walk over 20 miles a week pain free.
Case Studies: Telesafe The Carers Story Meet the family Mrs Smith* lives with her husband and two children and is the main carer for her son Peter*16, who suffers from a range of behavioural disorders including ADHD and Aspergers Syndrome. Due to his conditions, Peter spent most of his leisure hours within the conﬁnes of his home rather out and about with his friends. This was because he would easily become disoriented and eventually lost without the ability to describe in detail his current location. His family spent a lot of money and time searching for him when this happened; occasionally these searches also involved the local police force. All of this placed considerable strain on Peter’s family and resulted in Mrs Smith becoming ill with a stress related illness and Mr Smith having to give up an army career to care for his wife and son. Peter and the family should have been looking forward to him starting a course at Sunderland College in September 2009, but the thought of him travelling independently on a bus was too much for Mr & Mrs Smith to contemplate. Enabling technology and engagement The Community IT team spoke with the family after a referral from the Sunderland Carers Association, we decided upon the Telesafe solution after listening to their needs and trying to understand their problems. The solution involved providing Mr & Mrs Smith and Peter with a handheld device each and access to the client software. The handheld devices were conﬁgured so that both could be tracked and both individuals could track each other. This gave Peter more conﬁdence and he was able to travel independently knowing that if he became lost, he could activate an alert on the device which would immediately create a message on the paired device as well as a secure portal which his parents have access to. This alert would give details of Peter’s precise location. Alternatively Peter could phone home to raise the alarm, or his parents could proactively locate him from either their handheld device or the secure portal and then direct him to a safe location to pick him up. Beneﬁts Feedback from the family has been very positive. Peter is much more settled, his conﬁdence and self esteem are hugely improved and he is enjoying life as a typical teenager looking forward to college in September. Peter now plans his own routes rather than relying on his parents and he is now more communicative with them. He also takes notice of street signs and bus timetables, he has started to extend his own comfort zones and test himself. The School have also noted a marked difference in Peter and have asked him to become a mentor for a younger child.
The family bond is now extremely strong - with the assistance of the Telesafe project, they are again able to enjoy a more relaxed family life. Mr and Mrs Smith are now able to have one evening out together each week, after many years of having to do things separately. Mr Smith says that he now handles any problems better because his is less stressed Mrs Smith has noticed an improvement in her health. She has gained some weight and her stress levels have signiﬁcantly reduced now that she no longer has to plan or forward think for her son and no longer feels housebound. She is also now taking courses at the City of Sunderland College. The family save on average £30 per week on petrol and travel costs searching for Peter. In their own words – Mrs Smith’s Story “Caring for a child with Asperger’s is hard – it takes a lot of time and loads of money travelling around looking for him in areas where he shouldn’t be. I have to spend a lot of time looking forward for him and safety issues are very important – he doesn’t have any concept of safety, he runs across roads. We spend a lot of money looking for him by car each week. It takes a lot of patience really. He’s not like any normal 16 year old boy – he is 16 but half the time, he just wanders off to play and disappears. He gets lost quite a lot and wanders off with new people we don’t know and gets distracted easily. He goes somewhere and doesn’t understand the time or the fact that he’s not allowed to be in that area. This made it very stressful for the family, particularly our other child. I had problems with stress and had a nervous breakdown due to the worry and wondering if he was safe and if things were ok.
Case Studies: Telesafe My husband ended up having to take care of Peter and looking after me too. I lost lots of weight due to stress and not knowing where my child was because he had wandered off and I didn’t know if I would ﬁnd him. I would have to get in touch with the Police so that they could search for him It is now starting to get less stressful. I got involved with Telesafe through the Carers Centre (which is group that helps you to talk about your issues). Somebody mentioned Telesafe to me and how it might be helpful and ease the pressure of day to day life, Peter’s needs, my own and the rest of the family’s. Telesafe has helped me a great deal, it helped us to save on petrol because we are not out looking for Peter all the time. We can ﬁnd him quickly and know where he’s been. Life is also less stressful for him because he feels I am nearby as well. It has given him his conﬁdence and independence and his selfesteem has grown brilliantly – I could have done with this 3 years ago so that we could have brought him to where his is now in life with his conﬁdence etc sooner. It helps him get around more easily and lets him control his own issues. He also has the ability to track me, which gives him peace of mind as well because he knows where I am and I know where he is. If you took away Telesafe, I would not be as conﬁdent letting him out I would be back to feeling stressed, wondering where he is and where he had travelled to. We’d also go back to where I’d spend £30 per week in petrol. From my point of view every parent should know where their children are going and where their child is, but when you have a child with ADHD their mind ﬂips within two minutes – they can say they are going just around the corner and they can wander anywhere. Telesafe has made me feel a lot safer, understanding the bond between me and Peter and he feels conﬁdent in himself – it’s given him a teenage life outside the house. It’s been a brilliant project for me and him – the school has noticed the change in him and so have I!”
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