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Disability charity to extend “smart learning” thanks to National Lottery grant

Disabled adults from across the Harrogate district will be able to join a charity’s “smart learning” programme, thanks to the National Lottery.

Disability Action Yorkshire, which successfully moved its lessons from the classroom to the cloud during the coronavirus lockdown, has been awarded £23,000 to develop an inspiring and educational online learning platform.

Thanks to the Government for making this possible, the money from the Coronavirus Community Support Fund, distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund, has enabled the Hornbeam Park-based charity to fund a learning co-ordinator for an initial six-month contract.

When the Government announced the first lockdown back in mid-March, the charity had a matter of weeks to develop and implement its online lessons, ensuring the education of its learners was not disrupted.

A total of 30 learners who signed-up for a number of accredited courses including cookery, animal care, employability and life skills, “thrived” in their new learning environment.

Jackie Snape, Disability Action Yorkshire Chief Executive, said: “Online learning was a great success. It was particularly beneficial to autistic learners uncomfortable in group settings.

“Because of this, we realised it could benefit more than just our learners who live locally, in particular those disabled people living in rural locations and those who don’t want to access the physical environment at the moment.

“Thanks to this grant from the Coronavirus Community Support Fund, we have been able to employ Harriet on an initial six months contract, to develop our smart learning scheme further, and build up a school of online students.

“Harriet has superb credentials, is a qualified teacher and is well versed in IT. She is an advocate of using technology to support, and enhance, the teaching and learning provision within classrooms.”

Harriet Walker said: “I am thrilled to be working on this amazing new Lottery Funded project at Disability Action Yorkshire.

“Using my knowledge, skills and passion for technology, my aim is to create an inspiring and educational online learning platform which meets the needs of all its users, and supplements the amazing in-house training and support they receive from the tutors at the charity’s training centre.

“I hope to build a go-to, one stop platform where learners; no matter their age, disability or ambitions, can log on to access excellent training and support, gain skills and reach goals and dreams- no matter what their ‘classroom’ looks like.

“In the long term, the aim is to reach a wider and possibly more remote audience for learners who would prefer to access learning in their own home, or where transport and mobility prevent them from visiting learning centres easily.”

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