Posts Tagged ‘volunteers’
The Wales Co-operative Centre Marketing Team has been visiting Digital Day events today, helping to capture a day in the life of digital learning in Wales.
Mark Smith has just returned from a Digital Friday drop-in session at Risca Library. Here’s his story…
I’d never been to Risca before, let alone the town’s library. Situated next to the former Risca Palace cinema, the library, which was only opened 18 months ago, still had that ‘new smell’ about it. It looked pretty plush inside, a nice layout, plenty of computers and a welcoming, friendly atmosphere.
I made my way to the first floor, where Communities 2.0’s Rachael Davies was overseeing a drop-in session. This is nothing new for libraries in Caerphilly Borough, as the Get Caerphilly Online partnership has been running Digital Fridays since last Christmas. What was different today – Digital Day – is that drop-in sessions were taking place, simultaneously, in 17 different libraries! Quite an achievement.
Back at Risca, while Rachael was showing a learner called Kyle how to create an e-mail account, two volunteer tutors – Aled and Kelly – were also busy. Aled was assisting Kathryn to sort out her spam filter on e-mail, find her CV and to search for jobs on Universal Jobmatch. Kelly was sat with a very enthusiastic group, showing them everything from Google Street View to Historypin. Two of Kelly’s learners, Terry and Jill, said how much they enjoyed the social aspect of getting online in the library, as they could go to sessions as a group of friends, while meeting new people along the way. Both Kelly and Aled said how important it was that they were able to help people to increase their skills as they look for work – a key issue at the moment, with the Universal Credit to be accessed online in the near future, while the Universal Jobmatch helps people find work.
The session was a busy one, with people coming going as they pleased. The range of people’s questions meant that Rachael, Kelly and Aled needed to be on their toes and ready to help people with whatever query they could throw at them. It’s a real skill to be able to draw on that knowledge and impart it in such a way that people can understand, are not concerned about trying something new online and, more importantly, want to learn more.
I was really impressed with what I saw at Risca Library and it’s due, in no small part, to the partnership arrangement that has been put in place through Get Caerphilly Online. Well done to all involved.
Just 51 days after getting the keys to the Pengwern Arms Hotel, a team of volunteers at Llan Ffestiniog, near Blaenau Ffestiniog, has the once run-down pub up and running again.
In January 2009, the 300-year-old inn that stands on the square opposite the church, closed its doors. Now, two years later, villagers are preparing for the official opening in June following a massive community effort.
The villagers have set up Pengwern Cymunedol Cyf, a co-operative incorporated as an Industrial and Provident Society and received support from the Welsh Assembly Government, Tai Eryri housing association, the Wales Co-operative Centre and Gwynedd Council.
In a test run for the official opening, last weekend shareholders and helpers were invited to check out the facilities and enjoy free beer. Volunteer staff wore black shirts with the Pengwern logo and in the cellar were many barrels including casks of real ale from the Purple Moose Brewery.
Internet users can follow the latest chapter of the inspiring story of community spirit at http://voff-snowdonia.blogspot.com/2011/05/y-pengwern-opens.html.
For more information please contact Mr Sel Williams on Tel: 0776 049 0081
Positive news : The Big Lottery Fund is to launch a £12m grants fund to help county voluntary councils develop projects that will benefit communities in Wales. The programme, called Community Voice, will be launched in June and offer grants of up to £1m.
Under the scheme, CVCs – the equivalent in Wales of councils for voluntary service in England – will be expected to work with other organisations and citizens to develop community-led projects designed to meet local needs. CVCs that draw up joint applications could be eligible for larger grants.
A BLF spokesman said it was planning to hand out about 12 grants, which will run for between four and six years.
Each application will need to demonstrate how it will link to local services, he said.
John Rose, acting Wales director at the BLF, said the programme would provide more of an opportunity for Welsh communities to get their voices heard. “It is about people speaking out to influence the decisions that affect their community and their own lives,” he said.
“We want this programme to support them to become more sustainable and resilient to future economic, social and environmental challenges, as well as developing a stronger sense of community.”
More details about the fund will be released on the BLF website when it is launched later this year.
Author: Ryan Jones
AdviceGuide is the website offering online help from the Citizen’s Advice Bureau.
It offers a huge range of advice on subjects from immigration to how to cope in the recession to health, tax and the legal system.
Available 24 hours a day, you will get the same impartial advice that you would receive over the phone or in a branch. The website can also be viewed in a range of languages.