Housing association tenants given online safety advice from USW cyber experts

Newport City Homes resident Keith Wood gets advice form USW cyber students

Newport City Homes resident Keith Wood gets advice form USW cyber students

The University of South Wales (USW) and Newport City Homes (NCH) have been helping the housing association’s customers stay safe online during a series of specialist events.

USW’s Newport Campus hosted Cyber Community Clinic drop-in advice sessions on May 9, 10 and 11, as well as workshops explaining the dangers of online scams and ensuring passwords are safe and secure.

USW has been named Cyber University of the Year for the past three years, and Newport Campus is home to the National Cyber Security Academy (NCSA), where students work closely with a number of external companies to ensure they are cyber secure.

During the Clinics, USW students shared this expertise, with University staff also passing on tips on online security.

Sharan Johnstone, who is head of the NCSA, said the Clinics were designed to give NCH customers the chance to build their online confidence.

“With so many day-to-day things now managed online, it’s vital that everyone who uses the internet and apps understand what the pitfalls are, and how to avoid having their identity or data compromised,” she said.

“At USW, we have students and staff who work with some major organisations on ensuring they are cyber secure, and were more than happy to pass on this expertise to individuals who may benefit from the knowledge.

“This is the first part of a partnership we have with NCH, with whom we have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which will see us working with them strategically on student placements, community-based activities, and other projects.

“It will also help us and NCH support the Welsh Government’s Digital Strategy for Wales, which is aiming to improve digital inclusion and skills, and through that reduce inequality, and Newport City Council’s Digital Strategy, which includes it having Digital Inclusion Charter Accreditation.”   

Nathan Davies, Community Development Manager, “NCH is committed on developing a stronger understanding of activities, partnerships and opportunities that will have the greatest impact on our communities. We truly believe by working with our customers and partners such as USW and Newport Transport, we are meeting the need to support our customers become digitally included and more importantly, helping them to stay safe online.

Rachael Davies, Neighbourhood Manager for NCH, said: “This is an exciting opportunity to work with our communities and the University of South Wales. I’m looking forward to future ventures in partnership and expanding on the work we can do together. I’d like to give a big thank you to Newport Transport for their support in helping us get customers to the event with bus tokens.”

USW is also planning to run Community Cyber Safety clinics for all residents in the Newport area on Wednesday afternoons from October.

‘The people here from the University have been a great help’

The teams from USW and NCH at the cyber clininc. Mr Wood is fourth from the right.

The teams from USW and NCH at the cyber clinic. Mr Wood is fourth from the right. 

Keith Wood was one Newport City Homes customer who attended the Cyber Community Clinic at USW’s Newport Campus.

The 79-year-old, who worked for British Telecom for 30 years, readily admits that he initially had no interest in using a computer, or logging on to social media sites such as Facebook. But, as chair of the Newport City Homes independent scrutiny partnership, he had to get up to speed with getting online and using the tools available to him to keep in touch.

“It's a little bit important that I was on the Zoom meetings and then I can contribute, which I couldn't before,” Mr Wood said.

“They would send me the minutes and I would respond to the minutes and so forth. And that worked, okay.

“But, as a result of the pandemic, it's been an essential tool to use, and I've appreciated it. It's made a difference - a big difference.”

The need to get online was something Mr Wood said he had resisted. He says he’d ‘rather speak to people face to face’ and didn’t want to get ‘sucked in’ to social media after getting himself set up on an iPad

“I can see the attraction and the appeal to it,” he said. “And often I Google things very occasionally when I need to know something. So I'm getting there.”

As for the Clinics, does he think they’ve been a good idea?

“Most definitely,” Mr Wood said. “I always want to advance my learning. So anything in relation to security, any nuggets of information I can pick up, is definitely worth it.

“The people here from the University have been a great help, and they can point you in the right direction.

“I had been losing emails, but was told there’s a facility to where I can transfer them into the archive, but I couldn’t find the archive and nobody else could. But they sorted that out for me, which has been great.” 

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