National Lottery funded CKUK (Common Knowledge) recently celebrated a win at the JISC (Joint Information Services Council) iTech Awards. They took the top award for an animated video on internet safety, which they produced in collaboration with Glasgow Kelvin College.
The animated film was part of a CKUK peer education project (CKConnect) which is funded by Big Lottery Fund Scotland.
CKUK (Common Knowledge) is a Glasgow based charity which makes knowledge and learning accessible to people with learning difficulties over the age of 16. The organisation offers peer education, drama, and safe social networking to this group of people who are often on the periphery of mainstream activities.
CKConnect helps improve the confidence, skills, social networks and internet safety of young people with learning difficulties (age 16 to 30 years). Young people are offered a year-long training opportunity to become a peer educator. It includes a college placement working on multimedia projects such as making a video, podcast or photo-story focusing on safe social networking.
Mark was the peer educator on the project that won the JISC award.
A quiet and thoughtful young man, with learning difficulties, he was really keen to get involved in the peer education course: “I’ve always liked to help people and thought it would be good to pass on what I’d already learned. I thought the training was brilliant and I liked going back to my old college to show the students how to make a stop-motion movie. I used to find it difficult to get my point across, but I can do it now. People listen to me. The group respect each other.”
The peer educators also help develop a workshop on internet safety which they present to students in school and colleges.
Mark is really enthusiastic: “I love the workshops that we do in colleges. I feel that the young people we work with really listen to us because we are just like them. They were difficult at first because I was nervous about forgetting stuff, but after doing the workshops a few times I’m not nervous at all. I don’t just feel more confident, I feel more comfortable too.”
CKConnect peer educators are encouraged to undertake a Youth Achievement Award. The challenge and gathering of evidence for portfolios helps individuals reflect on their progress throughout their training and celebrate their achievements. The award encourages individuality and the young people get the chance to get to know each other better.
A talented artist, Mark’s portfolio stood out when assessed and he used the Youth Achievement Award to develop his skills: “It’s good to look at my award portfolio as it shows how I’ve developed. I am now using Photoshop to colour my characters which makes them look more professional, and I got the chance to use my drawing skills to do a photo-story about internet safety.
CKUK also offers a safer and more accessible alternative to mainstream social networking called CKFriends, an online community for people with learning difficulties to share their hobbies, interests and keep in touch with friends, old and new.
Mark stresses the importance of the social side of working with CKUK: “It was great to meet up with friends that I hadn’t seen since school, and it’s nice when people call or just message me to ask how I am. It’s good to know that people are looking out for me, and I’ve started to do the same with them. I meet up with the other peer educators and we go out on the town or the cinema. I’ve got lots of friends now and a social life and I feel really happy about it.”