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Galloway's Tech Ability: Collaboration is the key!

Updated: Jul 6, 2021


Eight circles with people inside them, all connected by networking lines. Background is yellow
Networking

At Galloway’s, we like to share our knowledge and experiences. Whether that is giving sight loss advice to the people who use our services, or sharing our practices and tips with third sector organisations and partners.

We also like to collaborate as we believe, like the age-old saying, ‘two heads are better than one.’


So inspired by Catalyst’s Festival of Learning, we set up our own peer network and invited members to watch our presentation and find out more about what we have been doing.


This presentation was all about our Tech Ability project, where we loaned out data-enabled tablets to 13 visually impaired people who had never used technology before. Our trainers, Andrew and Graham, who are also visually impaired, remotely delivered one to one training on how to use accessibility software Synapptic.


As we were really proud of how successful the project was going, we wanted to share our learnings with our fellow colleagues in the sight loss sector.


And learnings was the operative word.


We don’t claim to have got everything spot on all the time, but we have certainly learnt a lot of new things along the way which we hope other organisations can use.


We ran through all our processes, from inception, through to delivery and post analysis, welcoming feedback from our peers.


Throughout the presentation, there was great passion from Graham and Andrew as they were delighted with how far the learners had come. They shared with everyone how Rachel was so enthused about using the internet she was able to plan her wedding online; how Gordon had made a holder for his tablet and how June felt she had ‘won the lottery’ when she tried Zoom.


These people aren’t participants.

They have become friends and felt very much part of the Galloway’s family.



Headshot of June which she emailed to use using her new skills
June

And of course our sight loss colleagues did not have to take our word for it, as we were joined by June who emphatically praised Graham and Andrew for their support and training.

She called Synapptic a ‘miracle in a box’ and a ‘box of sunshine.’


But, being a pilot, the project is not without its challenges, as we discussed some of the things we learnt, including needing to cater for additional needs, such as arthritis and hearing loss; adapting the training for people’s personal preferences and how much influence family members would have in supporting them to continue after the training sessions.

It has been quite liberating being able to share our story over Zoom and gain an insight into what our peers thought about our project.


And it appears they were inspired and took a real interest in the mechanics of it and our plans for the future. One of our peer members had already tried a similar model and welcomed tips to adapt their work, with others expressing an interest in replicating the scheme themselves. So at whatever stage of their process, the presentation provided a real boost of inspiration.


This was not our only foray into networking and the sharing of ideas, as we held one to one sessions as part of Catalyst’s Festival of Learning and joined a very well attended networking event. We found this really useful, as we learnt about how other organisations approached challenges and how common many of the challenges were.


We have certainly learnt many things over the past few months, some of which you can find in our weeknotes (click here) and our service recipe (click here)


But the one standout thing we have learnt is that collaboration is the key.

Many, many heads really are better than one!


To find out more about our project, watch the presentation here


If you would like to see more of our digital support work, subscribe to our YouTube channel Galloways Blind.



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