Last week Karen and I headed to Redruth, Cornwall to deliver a training session hosted by Questions & Answers CIC, another of the Community Capacity Builder UK online centres Talk About Local are currently working with. It was a long journey for both of us but as you can see from the video above, it was well worth it. We worked with about twenty people from local community groups and organisations in widening the reach of their work through a simple WordPress website and/or profiles with an engaging, human voice on social networks.
Most walked away having created something new over the course of the day and more importantly, everyone went away buzzing with ideas of how they could apply what they’d learned to their groups and small businesses. The positive feedback certainly made for an pleasant journey home!
At the beginning of November Mike and I visited Intact Preston and helped them make get started with a new community website for the area. A few days later Karen and I were at The Countryside Centre in Worcester with Evesham Libraries, showing community workers (such as Tom Bufton) how to create simple websites using WordPress.com and use other platforms such as Posterous, Facebook and Twitter to help support their work.
Last month I also joined John Popham in Huddersfield, where we worked with PCAN Kirklees (Parents of Children with Additional Needs) in a workshop facilitated by Icarus, with whom we’ve worked previously. We spent a Saturday afternoon helping members create a group website where they can post news, events and information. They’ve obviously been working hard on the website since then, posting up forthcoming events and training courses, useful links and resources and an online version of their previously published PCAN Pages guide, ‘written by parents for parents to help you know where, how, or when to get the support and information and activities you need for yourself or your children.’
A couple of days later Mike and I delivered what Michael Rogers called a ‘little social media session’ at WEA Nottingham, which is also a UK online centre, helping local Digital Champions learn ‘all about WordPress, Facebook, a bit of Twitter…’ to talk about the work they do.
Afterwards, we took the opportunity to meet with the team behind Bramcote Today. Since we worked with the group of local residents in a workshop faciliated by Broxtowe Borough Council back in January this year, the site has gone from strength to strength, regularly posting local news and events, updates from local councillors and MP’s and holding Midlands General’s supposedly ‘Bargain Buses’ to account. We had a good chat about how far the site has come and further developments they’d like to make – watch their space!
As I said, we’re currently winding down in the run-up to Christmas but the diary for January onwards is already starting to fill up with workshops from Cornwall to Doncaster. We’ll keep you posted on how we get on. In the meantime, have a great Christmas!
Last week Michael and I headed North to Penrith, Cumbria to deliver training at Impact Housing’s Eden Rural Foyer, another of the many Community Capacity Builder UK online centres Talk About Local are currently working with. The group of 10 local Digital Champions and residents were interested in getting to grips with WordPress and all of them had created a new WordPress.com website and published a few posts by the end of the day. Just before we left, I asked the Eden Rural Foyer’s Community IT Support Officer about how he and the others might use their new skills:
The website campaigned for better maintenance of what residents felt was ‘the forgotten block’ and for some long-overdue landscaping work to the communal gardens. Images on the website gave a stark contrast, with artists’ impressions of what the communal gardens should look like and photos of the sorry, overgrown state the gardens were then in. Shortly after very publicly pushing Bristol City Council to take care of their communal gardens, work to restore them began:
Bristol City Council, may not have got it right at the beginning, but they have worked with us, and things are going really well.
Created with only basic web skills, this simple website was free to set up and easy to use and served its purpose well to support a single issue campaign, giving a public voice to an ignored problem.
On Monday morning William and I went to the UK online centre at the Aberfeldy Neighbourhood Centre in Poplar, East London. Aberfeldy is one of the many Community Capacity Builder UK online centres that we are currently working with, to help their volunteers use online tools to engage and communicate with local people and talk about their work to help pass IT on and get their communities using computers and the internet to improve local lives, areas, and services.
It was a busy session, with about 15-20 people in the training room. We covered quite a lot, from developing the UK Online in Poplar blog to ‘liking’ and adding to the Digital Champions Poplar Facebook page, both of which we had helped the centre create during a remote webinar session earlier in the year, to an overview of Twitter and how it can be used in local communities. William recorded a short audio interview with Lati Achchi, the Community Capacity Builder manager at Aberfeldy, which you can listen to in the audioboo above.