SAFE Working Conference in Zagreb 2017 gathered over one hundred delegates from all SAFE member organisations. Victoria Brewer, SSOFT Project and Operations Director, saw this conference as a great opportunity for collecting both stroke stories and some high value feedback from stroke survivors and other people who manage national stroke support organisations across Europe. As we wanted to hear more about SSOFT progress and development, we interviewed Victoria about her impressions from Zagreb and what would be the next steps.

SAFE: What have you been working on since we last spoke?

VB: When we last spoke in October we were in the very early planning stages of the project and we had two main focuses; finding the right agency to develop the eLearning tool and content and to prepare for SAFE’s Working Conference in Zagreb in December.

During October and November we undertook a tendering exercise to find an agency with both the right skill and experience to develop this new eLearning tool. We received some excellent proposals from good organisations which gave the project renewed energy.
At the same time, we began developing the workshop session plans related to the project for SAFE’s Working Conference in Zagreb. We worked with a new organisation, Spark The Difference, to ensure we made the most of this opportunity to meet with and engage our members.

SAFE: Are there any major project developments we should know of?

VB: I am pleased to say that following the tendering exercise we have engaged The Foundry Healthcare to develop the eLearning tool. The Foundry demonstrated throughout the process a great understanding and enthusiasm for the what we are trying to achieve with SSOFT.
“The Foundry Healthcare delivered a passionate and professional response to our brief, demonstrating they had the experience and skills to deliver against our primary objectives, which is enabling stroke survivors and their supporters to campaign for greater awareness and better care, and to build stroke support organisations” Jon Barrick Board President of SAFE.
The Team from the Foundry joined us at the SAFE Working Conference in Zagreb and ran one of the key workshops during the event.

SAFE: How did you make the most of the Working Conference in Zagreb?

VB: SAFE’s Working Conference has always been a very important milestone in this project as it is the first real opportunity for our members to learn first hand about this project. It was also critical for SAFE and The Foundry to meet the delegates as they will be the end-users for the eLearning tool and it is important that we develop this tool with their requirements in mind.
We also used this opportunity to collect stories and information on what is happening in delegates home countries; what are the challenges they face; what are their success stories etc. By using real-life examples, we will be able to make the eLearning modules come to life and give our members ideas that they could implement within their own context.

SAFE: How did you go about learning from the delegates and gaining their input?

VB: We were fortunate that the first morning of the Working Conference was dedicated to the project, which allowed us the time to work with delegates and learn as much as possible for them.
The day was structured into three sections:

⦁ Plenary presentation – I gave delegates a brief overview of the project; the rationale behind the project, what the eLearning tool would look like, how they could become involved in the project and how the morning workshops would be structured.

⦁ Workshop 1 – “Your feedback helps to develop SSOFT”. In this workshop delegates met the team from The Foundry and learnt a little more about the eLearning tool and how they could become involved in the project. The delegates were also invited to become Champions for the Project, who will be involved in the development process and increase awareness of the project and tool within their home countries.

⦁ Workshop 2 – ‘How can SSOFT support your organisation?’. This workshop was run by SSOFT’s Content Writers, Sarah Belson and Joe Korner. The focus was on the information being used to develop the eLearning modules and content. Joe and Sarah were able to discuss in detail what the learning from the first two modules would cover and gain input as well as stories for inclusion within the eLearning tool.

SAFE Delegates at SSOFT Workshop sessions 6th December 2017, Zagreb Croatia

There was a great attendance at each workshop with lots of energy and feedback from the delegates. A few people were so engaged in the events that they said they wish they had more than an hour for each session as they had so much they wanted to learn and feedback on.
In addition, a survey was circulated for members to complete that would provide the Foundry with more information that will help them design a system that meets SAFE members’ needs. I am pleased to say we had a 50% completion rate within a few days.
All the feedback we received will be used to develop the tool and we hope SAFE members will continue to engage with this project and the eLearning tools development, so we can ensure it is a tool ‘for our members by our members’

SAFE: When should we expect to see something?

VB: The Content Writers and The Foundry will be developing the information contained within the modules over the next 3 to 4 months. We are aiming for Modules 1 and 2 to be available by mid April 2018. However, members who have volunteered to be either Champions or involved in the testing stages will see the tool’s content much sooner.

SAFE: If I wanted to get involved, can I?

VB: If you are from one of SAFE’s member organisations, then we would very much welcome your involvement.
We are looking for people to work with the Project team around testing of the system as well as looking at the content being developed. We would also like to include as many real-life stories about the success and challenges our members face so we can capture and use this in the tool. The content we are developing provides the foundation for eLearning we are creating but it’s our members’ stories and voices that will bring the tool to life. We want to develop a tool – for our members, by our members.
If this is something you or other members of your organisation would like to be involved in you can do this in two ways:

1. Contact your Regional Cluster Lead, who are Ambassadors for this project for SSOFT. You can find your Regional Cluster lead on the SSOFT webpage.

2. Contact the Project team by emailing