When in Barcelona
I travelled to Barcelona to take part in SafeSurfing project discussions. I went with Laura and Lara who work with me at Mencap. We talked about the upcoming training sessions on online safety with the other partners from Spain and Poland.
I have actually been to Barcelona three times, I have been on holiday there before but this time was a bit different because I was working.
There was just a small group of people in the meeting but we still got together and talked about how we were going to do the online training, which we are delivering to a lot of people in our countries.
I am going to assist with the training, we will use a laptop and software called WebEx, to train people with a learning disability to do the course.
The training is about how to use the internet safely on your own, for example what not to put online about yourself and how to respond to strangers. You can register here.
Everyone liked socialising in the city, we went out for dinner at a local restaurant and I ate octopus, it was nice. We walked for miles after dinner to let it digest, that tired me out!
We looked at the gothic quarters of the city and we went near the cathedrals and buildings like the Gaudi buildings which stood in the city centre.
On the second day we had lunch and went to the local park and where the shops are. The city is a huge but a spacious place with excellent architecture and quite a lot of churches and museums to look at and people seemed more relaxed there.
I went on the metro which is the city’s underground quite a lot and on the bus twice, It was a much quicker experience than using public transport in the UK.
I will probably be going to Poland in June and Brussels in the autumn to meet the other partners again. I feel nervous but it should be a good life experience.
This blog is about my experience filming a video for the Safe Surfing project.
For this project, I was part of the UK team who had to create a video called
“What information should I share about myself online?”
In the video my colleague Dean talks about
what he shares online, whether it is shopping, banking or going on social media.
Dean has a learning disability too.
In the video we gave advice such as:
- Facebook settings should be set to private.
- Everyone should look out for the S in the web address, it means the website is secure.
- You must report cyber bullying to the website you are on.
- You mustn’t share your personal details on the internet unless it’s safe to do so.
The video is for training and is going to be used all over Europe to help people with a learning disability learn to be safe online.
My colleagues and I worked hard to write the script for the video in a few meetings.
We set up meetings with colleagues who have learning disabilities to talk about how the video was going to be made and how to make it accessible. We then planned out the video using lots of drawings and sketches. Most of the video is animation to make it really visual and easy to follow.
I filmed it with my colleagues Dean, Chani and Wayne plus some other people too. I think it’s great and catches people’s attention, it’s important to learn things as accessibly as possible and be safe doing things we like on the internet.
The five other countries in Europe have also made their films and now I have to do the English voice-overs for them. I’ve already done the voice-over for the Spanish film, which was hard at times because I had to repeat what I said and the script was a bit difficult as it was translated.
All the hard work has been worth it because we have a great film and polished voice-overs to boot. I really enjoyed working on it.
If you haven’t seen the video yet, then take a look at it here, where it can be found with the videos by all of the different countries.
When in Rome
I overcame my fear of flying, went to Rome and actually enjoyed being somewhere different!
I hadn’t flown for 12 years. I also have a metal hip.
I was more than a little concerned that it would set off the detectors in security, but I told the staff before I got checked in, so they were fine about it.
I was a bit scared of being in the plane – the last time I was on one it had turbulence, which scared me.
However, I knew it was important for me to do this. I was going there with work, as I’m a co-trainer on the SafeSurfing Project about keeping safe online for people with a learning disability.
We were meeting to plan out what we were going to do in the next few months and I knew I would regret not doing it even more than I feared the plane and going to a different country!
Overcoming my fear
Turns out, it wasn’t bad as I thought! There was no turbulance and I even got a free breakfast.
I met the project managers from all countries working on the project: Spain, Italy, Poland, Belgium and the UK (that’s us pictured below – I’m in the middle!).
The representatives from Italy welcomed us to Rome and told us about places to dine in the evening. On the first night they took us to a local restaurant, where most of the employees had a learning disability. They did a good job and the restaurant was quite full.
The food I had was out of this world never mind out of Italy! I helped myself to fried vegetables and pasta, washed down by a large glass of red wine, thoroughly enjoying the company. We even had time to visit the Vatician – I took pictures.
New people, new cultures, new skills
It wasn’t all play – we did work too! We had a meeting about scripts for the training videos we’ll be delivering. We all sent each other the audios for the voiceovers in different languages. Each country had to research about people’s rights concerning shared information, especially if he or she has a learning disability. It was really interesting, and I learned a lot from other people in the project!
In our video, we talk about being safe online by not putting personal details on social media.
We talked about what was going to happen in the future like using new software like Team Viewer to connect us online.
The following night I went out in the centre of Rome with my colleagues from Mencap and one of the representatives from Poland. We went to a pizzeria for beers and pizzas and sat outside, which was a treat – it was like being on a movie set!
I’m glad I stepped out of my comfort zone!
I went back home to London much more calm about flying than I had been before – I didn’t even mind when the buzzer went off when I went through with my metal hip!
I am glad I stepped out of my comfort zone as I got to experience something new in my life and I feel keener to fly to new places, mainly in Europe as it’s cheaper!
It’s good to try to take a risk in life – obviously not dangerous or expensive, but to say: “Hey, I can do it!”.
Next trip is one to Barcelona with the SafeSurfing Project. It should be a treat!
SafeSurfing-Europe’s online safety project
SafeSurfing is all about educating young people with a learning disability about being safe online. I will be updating you as the project goes on and about my adventures.
As part of the project I will be travelling across Europe, and meeting different people from different cultures. Exciting!!
This is not something that I am used to doing in my usual day to day job as a Digital Assistant at Mencap, the furthest I’ve travelled lately is Birmingham, only two hours out of London! Nothing wrong with Birmingham but it’s not Italy.
So travelling to Europe is a bit out of my comfort zone, but I’m up for giving it a go, I always say ‘you should always try something once in life’. So I’m really looking forward to it.
To understand more about SafeSurfing we had a meeting in London back in January 2015, with Inclusion Europe and the other European partners from Italy, Spain and Poland who are also working on it too.
In the meeting it was great to get to know each other, I found everyone really nice and easy to get on with, even thought I couldn’t speak their language.
Following this meeting my role on the project will be to support with producing a video, which is to help raise awareness to people with a learning disability to stay safe whilst online.
I will also be supporting in designing and delivering online training to people with a learning disability in the next couple of months.
Over the next few months I will hopefully be writing about my trip to Rome and filming the video.
So watch this space!!
Catch you next time and stay safe.