I am excited to officially announce that we have been successful in obtaining funding from ISD and Google.org for our Get SMART project.
ISD and Google.org have partnered to offer organisations a share of a £1m innovation fund to counter hate and extremism in the UK. The fund aims to support innovative projects both online and offline that seek to disrupt, undermine, counter or provide positive alternatives to hate and extremism.
The Innovation Fund is designed to support new educational approaches, unique community projects and cutting edge technologies, laying the foundations for a more effective, innovative and cohesive civil society response to hate and extremism in the future.
Using our expertise and strong relationships from our previous work within peer-led projects such as the ‘Safer Net’ project, focusing on mate crime and the ‘Helping Each Other’ project, tackling sexual exploitation of people with a learning disability; we are delighted to be working with official partners Manchester Metropolitan University and PETROC, a college based in North Devon, in this brand new area of our work. We will also be working with students from Brook Green Centre for Learning in Plymouth.
The Get SMART (Social Media Awareness and Resilience Training) project is an 11-month user-led awareness and training project for people with learning disabilities and/or autism, to help to keep them safe from grooming for extremism via social media. We will engage with 60 people over the course of the project in the South West and create focus groups initially to establish the understanding of parents, staff and students around this issue. We are excited to be working with groups of students, as well as staff and family carers, who will be invited to play an active role in the project management, which will in turn help to develop their skills and self-confidence.
The Project Groups, made up of students from PETROC and Brook Green will be working together to develop strategies and resources to increase protection from online exploitation – specifically grooming across the whole spectrum of extremism. The resources will be used to pilot two awareness workshops – one aimed at students and the other at family carers and staff. The project resources will then be shared with our networks in health and social care, housing and education providers, increasing the reach of the project findings.
The role of Manchester Metropolitan University is critical too – they are undertaking robust academic evaluation as part of the project– and this will capture evidence of the impact and importance of this work and will use this information potentially as a platform for wider reaching work in this area going forward.
Lastly, we will be working with our funder to look at opportunities to develop interactive tools from the outcomes of the project where possible and effective, to ensure we offer solutions both online and offline to this growing issue.
If you would like to know more about the Get SMART project, please contact our Project Officer, Rod Landman via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
ARC England Director