Embedding Digital Inclusion: Leep1

Online activities with Leep1

Get online week is over for this year, but we’re going to carry on our theme of embedding digital inclusion by sharing a selection of case studies throughout the week which showcase some of the excellent ways our partners have integrated digital aspects into non-digital activities.

Mandy Haigh, project and development manager at Leep1, has shared some of the online activities they rolled out during the pandemic to help their members learn, stay connected, and keep active during a period of isolation.

Who are Leep1?

Leep1 are a self-advocacy group that enables learning disabled adults to be in control of their own organisation, with activities tailored for them. This includes help to develop social, health, employment, and educational skills.

What are they doing?

We run an accredited training café called Café Leep and through this we have successfully put 34 of our trainees through related NVQ training, 19 of which have gone on to either paid employment or volunteering. Our NVQ training is a unique offer and there is no other café supporting adults with learning disabilities across Leeds to get this qualification.

Leep1 are also an online centre with Good Things Foundation, offering digital skills to people with learning disabilities. This has been invaluable during the pandemic for our trainees to access our remote support as well as wider support.

How are they integrating digital inclusion?

We set up an online group on Facebook on March 17th due to lockdown to continue the delivery of our services, which grew rapidly to now over 400 members. Part of the team focused on the members who were not online by delivering iPads and programmes so they were able to join the online group. Seeing their faces when they came online for the first time after long lengths of time being isolated was a very special moment. This was difficult to manage as both the person with learning disabilities and their carers/support had little or no digital skills.

The other part of the team concentrated on the online activities, part of this was the delivery of Café Leeps NVQ food safety which has been an important part of the online work as unemployment is at its highest and people with learning disabilities are even further from the labour market post Covid-19.

The most isolated were supported to get online, set up Facebook accounts and Zoom so they were able to join our online group support. Café Leep NVQ training was delivered online daily so that café trainees were still gaining their employability and food safety skills. Some learning-disabled group members who weren’t trainees are now ready to sit their NVQ exam because of the training. 

What were the activities?

The activities we ran online were Yoga, keep fit, cooking, art, drama, BSL, sewing, literacy and maths all on Zoom. On Wednesday evenings we run a friendship group, having tea together, doing karaoke and using digital skills and our members have delivered virtual DJ sets on a night and are weekend admin.

To get our members active over the lockdown our Healthy Living group asked the members to use their step counters on their mobile phones and input the steps they achieved daily on our Facebook group page where we have a weekly winner who gets awarded a certificate for being Stepper of the Week.

During learning we integrate a game called Kahoot into most of our lessons, it makes the learning interactive and fun which our members enjoy. Kahoot! is a game-based learning platform that makes it easy to create, share and play learning games or trivia quizzes in minutes.

We get our members to do their own power points which they deliver as part of their monthly People First meetings. They use Word to write about the topics and then upload it onto the power point ready for the meeting.

Some of our members delivered Facebook live sessions online during lockdown such as cooking lessons, craft/needlework sessions, Countdown and other games. One mum and her son with a learning disability regularly made curries online via Facebook live, and their recipes were to die for. 

Café Leep have been using tech within their lessons for a few years now and they have an e-learning platform which teaches them all about food safety, this was a god send during lockdown as it meant most of our members were already able to use tech.

What apps did they use?

The main apps we use are Kahoot, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook through using tablets and desktops. We mainly use tablets with our members to get online. We teach our members to do the social media for our platforms and more recently they have been learning how to do Reels on Instagram which has been such fun. 

Leep1 top tips for delivering online activities

We try to use tech in all our sessions as it not only gets our members used to using tech, but it makes it a fun way of integrating tech into the lessons using apps like Kahoot.

One of our members will look up all the routes for where they are going out on trips and plan bus timetables on the computer. It really helps making what they are doing fun as this helps them to retain the information. 

Susan who is the co-chair of Leep1 a lady with Downs Syndrome has started a regular podcast every Thursday. We have had some amazing guests on the podcast such as Hilary Benn MP and more recently interviewed Carley from 100% Digital Leeds on the digital inclusion gap. All the podcasts are on our Facebook page Leep1Leeds to re-watch.

Using a phonics app on a tablet for one of our members allowed him to learn how to read and spell. He wanted to pass his driving test and needed to be able to read so this was the driver behind him wanting to learn how to read. After 6 months he was then able to read sentences which was an amazing achievement. 

What did people think?

We have been running our Healthy Living group sessions where our members were able to speak about their wellbeing. These sessions have been essential in supporting the mental wellbeing of our members throughout lockdown. 

We have incorporated using the tablets by using the Kahoot platform for our trainees learning which helped them to become more engaged with the subject matter and technology at the same time. Most have now downloaded the app to their phones to use in their daily life.

Darren Nixon

Both Maisie aged 28 and Jamie-Leigh 33, were employed by Leep1 during lockdown.

Maisie was given a tablet during lockdown which has helped her with checking her emails, being on an interview panel, Zoom with her Grandma, Friendship Group and using social media. She is also admin for the Leep1 Group Facebook page which was set up in lockdown to deliver all the Leep1 activities online. 

Jamie-Leigh has used a laptop over the past 6 months, at first, she found it quite difficult but once she has got used to it, she was able to do her emails on there, book meeting rooms and run consultations on Zoom with Leep1 members and through these consultations with 3 learning-disabled staff members we produced an employment e-booklet for other people with learning disabilities and autism to use and support them when they are starting work. 

Jamie-Leigh also consulted with 5 adults with learning disabilities and autism around digital inclusion and this information was passed to ALaDDIN (Autism and Learning Disability Digital Inclusion Network so they could progress further work to close the digital inclusion gap. 

Find out more about Leep1

We are on most social media platforms which you can find the details for these on our website www.leep1.co.uk. We are visible across most social media platforms for each of our social enterprises, Leep1, Café Leep and AND (AbilitiesNotDisabilities).