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July has been a relatively quiet month but I have spent it improving my Zoom skills and keeping in touch with project partners and the other Ambassadors on the project. Before lockdown I hadn’t heard of Zoom but now I use it all the time – for my weekly fun hour (more about that below!) and for various presentations and talks.

Last week All Wales People First had a training session on how to use all the different aspects of Zoom and how to organise Zoom sessions effectively. This has really helped me to increase my skills and I hope this extra knowledge will be useful in supporting the participants on the Engage to Change project.

Last month I mentioned that I’d held the first of ‘Gerraint’s Fun Hours’, which are a new way to engage with young people and at the same time to get people’s thoughts about the Engage to Change Project. I’ve done five more fun hours since then on Tuesday afternoons.

The National Centre for Mental Health at Cardiff University is monitoring this project and they send me evaluation questions they would like to ask the participants. For example, we have been asking participants about their well-being or asking them what has helped them the most during lockdown and how they have been keeping in touch with their friends and family. We put these questions into a Zoom poll during the Fun Hour and the answers are sent off for monitoring and evaluation purposes.
Each week I do the All Wales People First ‘Coronavirus News Update’. This is posted on the website and on Facebook and Twitter and it’s another way that I am able to improve my presentation skills and connect with people with learning disabilities and/or autism. I think it helps me to be more accessible to everyone.

I keep in touch with the other Ambassadors both formally (through the Evaluation Forum) and informally via messages and group chat.

I have also been asked to sit on the National Autism Team’s Website Stakeholder Content Group and the Project Board. The Stakeholder Content Group meets every 3 weeks and reviews the progress of the new website that is going to replace ASDinfoWales. It’s going to be more accessible and people using their mobiles will find it easier to use too. I am also a key stakeholder on the Project Board and I feel that this participation is helping me to develop my team-working skills further.