East Lothian Council
- From 1st December 2015 to 16th November 2016
- Award: £2,557.44 via Call 3
The project will aim to increase digital inclusion within the visually impaired people of East Lothian ensuring they are able to play a part in the life of their communities. This will be achieved through very small classes consisting of the visually impaired person and their partner/carer and the tutor. The tutor in this case will be Jane McWhirter, Assitant Customer Service Officer in Wallyford Library. Jane is a qualified teacher with a natural passion and flair for ICT. The classes will be held in Wallyford Library when it is closed so Jane can give her full attention to her students. Wallyford has very good transport links to the rest of the county with a train station and frequent bus service. The 6 mini IPads bought from a previous bid will be used or if the student prefers they will use their own device. Jane has led a few classes previously and from experience knows that 2 people per class is sufficient and necessary for the most to be gained by participants. It is envisaged that classes will take place weekly and a session will last for 3 hours. Each student will receive 6 sessions in total or less dependent on need.
Due to unforeseen circumstances our first session did not begin until the 7th of March, 2 months behind schedule! However, Jane steamed ahead and started the second couple 2 weeks later on the 21st of March. This proved successful with the pairs learning from each other. Group 3 began sessions on the 9th of May and to date have had 5 weeks of tuition and will finish next week on the 20th of June. Next up are Mr and Mrs Young whose 6 weeks started on the 13th of June so they too will experience a slight roll over with the previous couple.
Our next student, Freda, involved a little more organisation along with partnership working before she even attended her first class in August. Freda is well known to us as a regular library user in Musselburgh. Staff persuaded Freda that the classes would be beneficial to her as rather than being limited to listening to books on CD she could widen her choice by downloading e-audiobooks. This was fine, but Freda was unhappy about travelling to Wallyford on her own. The help of the local Rotary was sought and they now take Freda to and from her class every Monday where she is thoroughly enjoying herself.
One lesson learned early on was that timescales do slip. Staff and students can be ill, they take holidays etc. However, being flexible and working around people has ensured the project has remained on track with happy learners as a result.