“People who are vulnerable offline are equally, if not more, vulnerable online.” A blog by Lisa Schimetat & Alex Roland

We all know how dangerous the internet can be. Studies have revealed that more than 20% of internet users have been hacked at least once.

We are all vulnerable to the dangers of the internet. Identity theft, password duplication, phishing scams and cyberbullying are among the many risks of being online. Yet the majority of us will still go online for the things we need, will still make transactions, look up the places we need to go to, still use it as our main form of communication, and will continue to bank online.


One reason is because we understand our vulnerability. This means we educate ourselves on the things we can put in place to protect ourselves and to minimise this risk.

The same applies to adults with learning disabilities.

People who are vulnerable offline are equally, if not more, vulnerable online.

One reason for this is because instead of supporting adults with learning disabilities to access the internet safely, we limit access to the internet. By limiting access, we limit vulnerability, right?


By limiting access to the internet, not only are we restricting peoples’ rights to information, but we are also limiting and restricting peoples’ opportunities, friendships, interests, and so much more.

Instead of limiting access to the internet, we are offering supported and appropriate training to adults with learning disabilities to access the internet in a safe and dynamic way.

By bringing people together and providing iPads, we are removing barriers, opening doors and creating opportunities as well as making new friends.

Smiling man in wheelchair

Thanks to the Discovery Community Fund, Orchard Vale Trust and Your IT Now are offering 12 week IT courses to adults with learning disabilities. We are bringing them to locations in Somerset including Yeovil, Glastonbury and Frome. This month we kickstarted the project in Yeovil, as our first host!

The first session was all about getting to know your iPad. This included getting to grips with the buttons and the sensitivity of the touchscreen, as well as learning what an app is and how to find what you are searching for. The most fun was had once everyone got a chance to play around with the camera, and meant we left with some brilliant snaps of the day.

At first there were six, but the group number soon grew to eight once everyone got to know each other.

The whole session lasts four hours, two of which are more structured, giving a good understanding of how to stay safe and what techniques to use, whilst the remaining two hours allow for people of all abilities to get involved, as it is less structured and more about interactive learning.

All in all it was a fabulous day with some fantastic feedback from the participants!

We can’t wait for the next session already.

To get more information contact youritnow@orchardvaletrust.org.uk and stay safe in cyberland.