We’re excited to share with you that 3Spirit are finalists in 7 different awards!

3Spirit awards

3Spirit is excited to share that we are finalists in the following awards. The awards recognise exceptional contributions to social care. Our strong track record in social care, and our impact in the sector in the last 10 years, is the result of our dedication to developing our service delivery, training, resources and ensuring that the learners implement and commit to the learning post-training. 

The award categories we are finalists in are: 

  • The Women Achieving Greatness in Social Care – The Outstanding Partner Award Category – Holly Hammond, Training and Engagement Manager at 3Spirit has been shortlisted as a finalist for this award. 
  • The Social Care Premier Supplier Awards – Workforce Development Category – 3Spirit has been shortlisted as a finalist for this award. 
  • The Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2022 National Dementia Awards – Caroline Bartle, CEO at 3Spirit has been shortlisted as a finalist for this award. 
  • Women Achieving Greatness in Social Care – The Talent Development Award Category – Caroline Bartle, CEO at 3Spirit is a finalist for this award. 
  • Southeast Region of the Great British Care Awards for The Outstanding Contribution to Social Care awards 
  • London Region of the Great British Care Awards for The Workforce Development Awards. 
  • East of England Region of the Great British Care Awards for The Workforce development Awards. 

This has truly been an amazing year for us, and we are excited to share our achievements with you. 

We look forward to the awards, and hope that you will be rooting for us. Fingers crossed! 

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Expert by Experience: Keith Oliver’s Alzheimer Story


My name is Keith Oliver, and I was a primary school head teacher until diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease in 2010.

In my role within the 3 Nations Dementia Working Group, I was delighted to meet Caroline Bartle, and through Caroline to have the opportunity to support on line workshops providing dementia training. Amongst topics covered in these workshops are dementia and the environment, mental health and dementia and what life is like to live with dementia.

I always prepare and write my pieces bespoke specifically for 3 Spirit and sit in on introductions to enable delegates to meet me and for me to tweak my input to meet their needs. It is 100% apparent of the need to give delegates insight into the lived experience which I always do honestly and truthfully.

Dementia was the biggest issue facing our society and social care system prior to the pandemic and the past 18 months have made this even more so. The work 3 Spirit does with the help of folks like me is helping to address this. I have co-presented with Caroline and two of her colleagues, and all the team are great to work with they support and encourage me and it is evident they do this for delegates too. Sometimes delegates have limited technical experience of on line events and the patience of the 3 Spirit team is admirable in supporting them. Content of the courses is excellent and pitched at just the right level with differentiation incorporated in both planning and delivery.

Support from the admin team is always excellent and settling of invoices is prompt and efficient which makes life easier for me and my problems I have with Alzheimer’s. I really enjoy working with the 3 Spirit team and look forward, my health permitting to many more future collaborative ventures.

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Dementia and Post Diagnostic Support

BY Caroline Bartle, CEO 3SpiritUk

Many individuals do not receive the post diagnostic support that is needed. Finding affordable and sustainable post diagnostic support has been a challenge in the UK and waiting lists have been impacted negatively since COVID-19. Lack of funding and problems with integrated services are some of the many barriers to good post diagnostic support.

The research shows clearly that good quality post diagnostic support is required to provide people with the information, resources and support that they need to live as well as possible with their dementia.

So, what does good quality post diagnostic support look like?

  • As a basis, this should include how to manage symptoms but should also include how to maximise on strengths and abilities.
  • It should also include how to manage and maintain cognitive skills. This might include offering Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (CST).  
  • It should also include how to keep connected with existing networks, people who are important but should also include information on new support networks. This might include peer networks where a person can share insights, experiences and strategies with others going through similar situations.
  • It should also include things like practical support, specifically where a person has care and support needs.
  • It should also include how to plan for the future, including making legal provisions.

Our ‘Still My Life’ framework attached is a great outline of the things a person can do following a diagnosis. We co-created this in collaboration with people living with dementia.

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Professional Curiosity and Safeguarding Adults

Professional Curiosity and Safeguarding

Lack of professional curiosity is increasingly being highlighted in Safeguarding Adults Reviews (SARs) nationally as a contributing factor to serious harm or deaths. 

What is professional curiosity?  

Professional curiosity is the exploration and development of a deeper understanding of what is happening with an individual or those around them. This is achieved through a robust understanding of an individual’s history, good communication skills, proactive questioning, application of legislation, identification of patterns of concern, ability to hold difficult conversations and respectful challenge. The primary feature of professional curiosity is the avoidance of making assumptions and taking information or a situation at face value. There are many barriers an individual may experience which will reduce the likelihood of them disclosing abuse or neglect directly. Therefor professional curiosity will enable the practitioner to more readily identify signs and indicators. 

Professional curiosity is not something that can or should be turned on and off or used at particular times. Rather, it should be seen as a way of life, a way of professional practice and a way of being – so that a curious approach permeates all aspects of the practitioners’ interactions (Research in Practice Professional curiosity in safeguarding adults December 2020). 

However, it is accepted that there are many barriers to effective professional curiosity. It is important that organisations and professionals are aware of these and take steps to reduce them to enable the development of a culture that supports the maintenance of professional curiosity 

Barriers to effective professional curiosity Disguised compliance 

The appearance of a caregiver, family member, or organisation cooperating with services in order to avoid raising suspicions, to alleviate the practitioner’s concerns, and, ultimately, to eliminate the professional’s involvement entirely. 

The ‘rule of optimism’ 

Practitioners rationalise new or escalating risk despite there being clear evidence that there should be concern. 

Not identifying accumulating risk 

Viewing each incident in isolation without context or consideration of an individual’s history and not considering the risk in relation to the cumulative effect of recurring incidents. 


The perception that actions become ‘normal’ or ‘natural’ and are an accepted part of an individual’s daily life. This leads to a lack of professional challenge or questioning. 

Professional deference 

Practitioner’s perception that another professional is of ‘higher status,’ hence, they are unwilling or afraid to challenge that professional’s view. 

Confirmation bias 

The search for evidence that supports or confirms the practitioner’s existing view and rejection of any evidence that may challenge their existing view as incorrect. 

Knowing but not ‘wanting’ to know 

Having a sense that something is wrong but not being able to form the feeling into a reasoned evidence-based view. 

Diagnostic overshadowing 

Attributing all the evidence in an individual’s life to their diagnosis rather than taking a broader view, considering relationships, environment, trauma, coercion, poor levels or inappropriate support etc. 

Remote working

An additional barrier to professional curiosity is remote working and it is important to recognise and act in relation to this when connecting remotely with both people who are at risk of abuse, neglect, and other agencies. It is important to consider that remote conversation can: 

  • Alter relationships 
  • Create a barrier to successful communication 
  • Create a reduced ability to read the non-verbal content of a conversation 
  • Create a wish to terminate the conversation as soon as possible due to anxiety, unwillingness or ability to use the required technology 
  • Enable difficult conversations to be terminated more easily 
  • Reduce ability for the professional to see the ‘whole’ picture and assess accumulating risk 
  • Reduces awareness of who else may be present during a conversation but out of sight 

In addition, remote working limits opportunities to model good professional curiosity by more experienced practitioners. When you are in ‘earshot’ of a conversation you can learn how to ask good questions. 

There are additional barriers that practitioners need to be aware of: 

  • Poor supervision and management support 
  • Complexity and pressure of work 
  • Preconceived ideas and values 
  • Lack of openness to new knowledge 
  • Fear of respectful challenge 
  • Fear of holding difficult conversations 
  • Lack of confidence in managing tension 
  • Discounting information that cannot be proven 

Organisational values that foster effective professional curiosity

The values of an organisation will have a significant impact on the likelihood that professional curiosity will thrive. Ensuring the workforce: 

  • Have time and capacity 
  • Approach practice from a strength-based perspective 
  • Ensure those with lived experience are actively involved in safeguarding 
  • Display competence in relation to recording which is supported through effective processes and procedures 
  • Are provided with good supervision and management support.  
  • Are legally literate and have a robust knowledge of safeguarding 
  • Are provided with effective training which provides positive impact at a service and organisational level and links to increased competence 

To find out more about how to cultivate professional curiosity at a strategic level join our Level 5 Safeguarding Adults accredited programme. 

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Difficult Workplace Conversations in Care

Author: Max Davies (Gender Identity, Gender Diversity and LGBTQ+ Expert)

Over the past few months, we have been working on developing our programmes to ensure that they have applicability to the workplace. Part of this involves linking up the training to the tasks that are undertaken following the training. Today, we have been working on a “Respond to Racism” programme. We are hoping that this programme provides the impetus to initiating those challenging conversations, and that learners draw on some of the practical approaches outlined here.

Racism comes in many forms, some forms rise from ignorance, and others steam from generational socilisation about people of colour which are dangerous to many people. Language is a tool in which we communicate, which comes in many different forms; words can have very different meanings depending on who you’re talking to, how things are said and the context in which the word is used. Inviting personnel to have conversations about language can be a starting point on making sure each member has their voice heard. Positive language can help change and build positive mindsets. This can lessen conflict and reduce tension. A workplace that values people benefits from stronger communication. A person does not want to feel like they are walking on eggshells with their team. Understanding the appropriateness of terminology to use regarding race clarifies our implicit bias and even covert bias by drawing attention to the potentially harmful things that could result in the experiences of microaggression by BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) and/or BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour) individuals on a daily basis.

Here are a few activities in which you, as an organisational leader, could do to encourage workplace conversations:

Workplace mentoring – a way of supporting multiple members of your team through the engagement of others. They are educational opportunities for personnel to share experiences, skills, and knowledge of not only work based practices but also one’s personal life and lived experience.

Reverse mentoring – This is usually a reverse hierarchical approach where a member of the board is the mentee of a member in an “early career” position. This is particularly helpful when following the experience of a person of colour who may be finding it difficult to socially mobilise within a company. By following through their lived experience, the member of the board will see what may be impacting on their success and movement within the company to be able to make changes.

Reciprocal (two-way) mentoring – This idea is where both parties become the mentor and mentee in the workplace. Engaging in specific conversations about each other’s skills, knowledge, and experiences. This is a shared process in which both can learn and develop from another member.

Feedback – Anonymous surveys and research reports. Sending out a research report through the workplace will allow your company to engage in anonymous conversations about specific topics. This could be as simple as the words and terminology people use (or may wish others to use), to how people feel valued within the workplace.

Facilitate in-house groups – In house groups can help and support minority groups to be seen, valued and heard. These groups can help facilitate discussions where a person can express themselves in a safe environment. This can be a formal morning meeting to societies and groups for specific minorities. These groups can produce and incorporate the previous suggestions.

Formal meetings/supervisions – A time to ask some employees specifically about their experience within the workplace and if they have any personal concerns that may impact their work. This should be a one–to–one process; it’s worth noting some people may feel put on the spot, and may not feel safe to speak to the other member of the team, or confident enough to do so.

Self-awareness is about consciously looking at the way we/people think, behave, or feel etc. It’s about:

  • Paying attention to what it is that really bothers people about themselves or someone else.
  • Identifying what is emotionally charging them in a situation.
  • Assessing how people give and receive feedback.
  • Making time to understand gaps in knowledge where there could be further reading or training.
  • Personnel can take time to reflect through open discussion, journaling or even asking for feedback on a situation.
  • Pick apart what happened and what we would have liked to have happened, and what could we have done better. It is the who, how, why, what and when.

Let’s be clear. These do not resolve an organisation from difficult conversations. Overt, covert and implicit bias can still happen in the workplace, but this is just a starting point. Becoming an ally and supporter of the BAME community is a lifetime process. Having difficult conversations will happen.

Here are 7 suggestions on how you can manage difficult interactions:

  1. Be clear about your objective and what it is you want to say. Already having an outline will make sure you are prepared to get your point(s) across quickly and effectively.
  2. Have notes and a script so you can keep on topic. This will make sure you do not not move onto unnecessary conversations and that the problems most important to you are heard first and foremost.
  3. Say your side of the story, allow them to say theirs – provide opportunity for discussion. Providing opportunity for discussion can allow all personnel to be heard and both members to listen to justifications and reasoning
  4. Be mindful, open, and honest. Just because things don’t happen to you does not mean it doesn’t happen to someone else. Everyone’s experience in life is personal.
  5. Have a procedure for managing emotions – deploy resolution skills. Work together to come to a resolution so that all parties are leaving the conversation knowing that the company is valuing them as a person.
  6. Company policies, procedures or leaders’ positions on a particular topic should highlight what they would do in a situation of racism. If someone is being racist, and you have a policy in place for racism, make sure you follow this through. Action speaks louder than words. If you tell someone you will do something, do it, and this will lessen conflict. If company policy represents your actions, this should move a lot more smoothly if personnel have been constantly made aware of the stance/policies of the company.
  7. Have an external note taker or person present throughout such conversations. Having an external member take notes or be present, with a non-bias point of view of the personnel in question could help one to negotiate the situation and manage emotions.

Email us at info@3spirituk.com to find out more about our “Respond to Racism” and “Constructive Conversations” training programmes. You can also purchase our “Difficult Conversations Tool” for £15 via our tool/infographic shop.

More ways to learn…

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World Aids Day 2021: Support for Gay Men and Transgender Women in Social Care

Today is World Aids Day. A day we remember all the lives lost and affected by the pandemic of the 1980s. Forty years on, many people are still living with the memories of the 80s, many still living with AIDS. But what does this mean for social care?

Many people accessing social care now lived through the AIDs pandemic and experienced the  systematic oppression of LGBTQ community. As a result, many LGBTQ people have Minority Stress conditions. Minority Stress Theory relates to the idea that people from disadvantaged or marginalised backgrounds experience long-term stress because of factors associated with such an identity. In the context of LGBT ageing, the idea is that poorer health outcomes stem from the hostile social climate that LGBTQ people have experienced in the past. In other words, the consequences of prejudice and stigma impact that manifests in worse physical and mental health. Considering 40 years on from the AIDs epidemic, many young individuals at the time are now or soon may be seeking care. Let’s consider the facts…


AIDs is not going away; it has become a manageable one. Social care providers need to take extra care and consideration when working with Gay men and Transgender women. By responding to the daily medication, they receive for AIDs, the stigma they face and the great oppression they have lived through during this time. It is about being compassionate to the lives lost; many have been partners, friends, and family. Friends who are family, considering many gay people in 1980, were stigmatised. Families rejected many people; thus, friends became the new family. Conversations in social care around friends and family need to be inclusive of the fact not many people include only “blood ties” as their immediate family. Many gay men and transgender women will not have family or traditional family types and are more likely to require support and reside in care homes more so than heterosexual couples (as they are more likely to be single, live alone and not have children). Social are providers should consider the importance of education and need to understand that…

  • Older LGBT people are more likely to engage in harmful behaviours like drug use, frequent alcohol consumption, or smoking. 
  • One study found that 18% of older LGBT people would feel uncomfortable disclosing their sexual orientation to their GP and healthcare professionals. 
  • Older LGBT people’s past experiences of negative interactions with health care providers shape how they engage with and access health services later in life.
  • Reminiscence activities with LGBTQ people may take them back to a place in which they do not want to revisit. It may be a place that is very hurtful for them. Probing too deeply could result in worsening of mental health and potentially furthering problematic behaviour.

Source: National LGBT Survey (2018) https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/722314/GEO-LGBT-Survey-Report.pdf

Remember that the interactions that social care providers have with gay men and transgender women are very much affected by the social care they may have received around the AIDs epidemic. Their trust for care providers resides in your ability to reassure them of how times have changed. How you respond to potentially harmful situations could be the realisation for many LGBTQ that they are safe, valued, and worthy of care.

Stigma can be a killer.

End Inequalities, End AIDs, End Pandemics.

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William’s Story

Central to our impact work is engaging with the staff we have trained to hear about their journey beyond the training. Over the past year, those stories have become tales of extraordinary courage.

We first met William when he completed his dementia training with us some years ago. William has over fourteen years of experience in care, which shines through his love for the role. As well as a strong passion for his work, he is qualified to a Diploma Level 3 and in Dementia Care. The most important value that he takes away from the training though, is to see a person for their person-hood and not for their dementia. Passionately, he talked about connection with people in advanced stages of dementia; he talked of how he used creative communication strategies, and the joy this gives him. 

Williams’s skills were put to the test during the pandemic, when there was a big outbreak in the care home where he worked, and over half the residents caught COVID-19. William found himself working more and more hours, often up to 50 per week, having to take on multiple roles: being a carer, nurse, friend, and family. New clinical skills had to be learned on the job such as taking blood pressure and reading someone’s pulse. The complex skills required were way above his pay grade. What helped at this time though was ‘mucking in’ all together. This togetherness – this banding together, added more strength in such a challenging time.

One of the biggest hurdles that William faced was supporting residents in the absence of family. William recalls one night when he sat with a woman who was dying, as her family could not be with her. He sat and comforted her, not leaving her side for the whole night. He recalls their conversations about the joy she had for her grandchildren. He comforted her until the moment she died.

Another resident living with dementia was also in this position, unable to see her husband who had previously come and sat with her every evening. Although she didn’t always recognise him, it was part of her routine. So, when
her husband couldn’t come and visit her anymore, there was a significant behaviour change and decline.

During this time, William worked exceptionally hard to keep himself and others emotionally and physically safe. He was vigilant about infection control, and always ensured wearing full personal protective equipment (PPE). Despite all of this, seven months ago, William caught COVID-19. He wasn’t even able to return home as he needed to keep his vulnerable partner safe. However, William was truly cared for by his organisation who provided him with an isolation room on premises, checked on him, returning the care that he had given for years.

Once William returned home, he found that he had recurring symptoms. He was diagnosed with LONG COVID, and experiences profound pain every day. At only age 38, he now takes ten tablets a day and this does not eradicate the pain. Tiredness rules most of his days and he is unable to support his family in the way he used to. He reflected that he feels frustrated as his condition isn’t improving and is looking for answers from the health team, but these are not always forthcoming.

I asked William what he wanted his main message to be. He said: We knew the risks of our job, like soldiers going to war, but we still went. However, there is very little recognition for our work – what I can’t understand is why the queen doesn’t give out MBEs to carers”.

The humanity given by these true heroes deserves a decent pay, recognition of their skills and appropriate support with the long-term impacts of COVID-19. It is a value that is continuously devalued in a system which prioritises money
over connection and care. But here we are, trying to combat this through telling stories of wonderful human beings like William, who have given so much. Whilst we are unable to name the employer in this blog, we salute the way you
have cared for William – a care and respect which we work to prioritise.

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Autism Blog In Memory of Dave Greenfield – Keyboard Player with The Stranglers, by Andy Rotherham

Photo Credit: David Boni

In this blog, I wanted to write something in memory of a personal musical hero of mine. Dave Greenfield was the keyboard player of The Stranglers from their very early days right until his untimely death from Covid 19 on the 3rd of May 2020.

The Stranglers have just released their new album Dark Matters to critical acclaim. Of the 11 tracks on the album, 8 feature the final recordings of Dave.

In a recent interview with the Guardian Newspaper, bassist JJ Burnel is quoted as saying: “We always knew Dave was special, but we didn’t realise how special. They’ve got a name for it now. Very high-functioning autistic.” He has used this descriptive of Dave in a few other interviews lately too. He mentions Dave’s eccentricities along with his unique and virtuoso musical ability. He also says that Dave would try to explain things but wouldn’t know where to edit the information, which would lead to the listener’s eyes glazing over. Although Dave wouldn’t notice and  would carry on with his explanation regardless.

Now this description probably doesn’t match with the stereotypical view the majority seem to have of Autism. In the media, certainly until recently, Autism was portrayed as two distinct polar opposites; A non-verbal person seemingly locked in their own world and unable to communicate with the world around them or that of someone who socially inept, limited in communication, yet in possession of an incredible memory for facts and figures. Think Dustin Hoffman’s ‘Rain Man’. But the truth is that Autism is all around us and varies considerably for everyone who is ‘on the spectrum’.

So what is Autism? Simply put, it is a neurological difference. It is not a disease, it is not a fault, it is a difference. The analogy I use in my teaching is that it is like comparing a Mac to a PC. PC’s are the majority and adequate for most day to day tasks. However if you want to do something more specialist in art or photography for instance, chances are you are going to prefer to use a Mac. Autism has been described as having a specialist brain, where it is exceptionally good at some tasks, but struggles with mundanity.

Autistic people often feel invisible in society and are ignored or dismissed. Autistic skills and intelligence are very rarely recognised because the way Autistic people communicate is somewhat different to the way non-autistic people (Neurotypicals) do. Yet, many great minds who have contributed significantly to the development of mankind displayed signs and symptoms of what would now be recognised as Autism.

Hans Asperger said: “It seems that for success in science or art, a dash of autism is essential.”

Temple Grandin posits, “What would happen if the autism gene was eliminated from the gene pool? You would have a bunch of people standing around in a cave, chatting and socializing and not getting anything done.”

There are many common gifts that can be shared by Autistic individuals, such as Pattern Thinking, Visual Learning, Attention to Detail, Extreme Levels of Concentration, Loyalty and Honesty and a Deep Passion and Knowledge on their Special Interest.

Less common ones include Savantism and High IQ. But if you look at people with a high IQ, you would find a disproportionally large Autistic representation.

But like all things Autism related there is no standard. Some may have many of these gifts, some one or two and some none. As Dr Stephen Shore said: “If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.”
What unites all, however, is Outside the Box thinking, the ability to think freely without the constraints of established thinking or social norms.

“Sometimes it is the people no one can imagine anything of who do the things no one can imagine,” Alan Turing.

Dave was a unique man in so many ways. I would suggest, with respect, that he was a musical savant. This fits with Guitarist Baz Warne’s description on BBC Breakfast the other day of himself watching Dave compose on the keyboard and being unable to follow Dave’s unique way of thinking. Until a point when the genius of his work was revealed. And, let’s face it, the world would be a much less colourful place if Dave hadn’t been in it and left us such a gift of his wonderful music.

About the Author

Andy Rotherham has been a Stranglers fan since buying Grip/London Lady upon its release in 1977.

He also happens to be Autistic. Diagnosed at the age of 50, he made a conscious decision to embrace his Autism, explore what gifts it gives him and use his insight to teach others about Autism.

He is a Trainer to professionals on the subject of Autism. He is a musician. He also works as a guitar builder/repairer for a well known band (Not The Stranglers).

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Vivek’s Care Assistant Story

At 3SpiritUK we enjoy hearing the stories from our excellent support staff who have received training with us, and we believe it is important to showcase all the hard work that they do. Vivek is a senior care assistant who has been working within the industry for the past 2 years, and here is his story:

“I decided to come to the UK to do a post-graduate as a career in care had always appealed to me and in my home country I enjoyed doing social activities. I started my journey as a junior care assistant and have been working within the the social care sector for the past 2 years. It is a career that has developed my characteristics including my interpersonal skills and ability to connect with others. I learnt that ‘vulnerability’ is a quality as it helps connection; my colleagues and the people I work with are like family to me. My job has also helped me to develop new qualities, including the need for patience – particularly within the recent COVID-19 pandemic. The social care industry has been extremely busy, hectic and heartbreaking the past year – I have struggled seeing many getting affected by the impacts of the coronavirus. I have found this personally very challenging but, as a team I believe we have navigated a way through

Throughout my training, I have specialised in dementia care. I have developed my understanding of dementia and am aware of the importance of treating all individuals with respect and understanding its about what matters to them not us. Although this has been challenging throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been many competing demands. My management team has been especially helpful in navigating these conflicts and has supported me throughout

The training is so important as it has not only helped to develop my understanding, but also made me feel as if I am treated as a professional. Its so important to feel valued in this job. Over the past 7 months I have received a promotion and developed new skills, with the help of 3SpiritUk my dementia care training helped me to ‘think on my feet’ during the pandemic, and helped me to know that I’m doing the right thing. My training with 3SpiritUk has not only been insightful, interesting and engaging , but I have also enjoyed interacting over various platforms with new people, and developiong new digital skills which will be important for the future.

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