Get IT Together in Bristol celebrated its first anniversary at the end of September 2012. It is part of the UK wide Get IT Together programme which has multiple projects in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Bristol project is a partnership between Bristol City Council’s digital agency Connecting Bristol, Citizens Online and BT. The local focus is on increasing digital inclusion in the Bristol area for anyone 55 or over, disabled adults and their adult carers. This is done by providing free, basic IT courses at multiple locations throughout the city. The IT courses are offered either by the project’s friendly volunteer trainers at community locations or at a close partner training provider venue.
To reach the project’s demographic it has worked at strategic and grassroots levels, with 22 close partners including Bristol Libraries, Link Age, Local Learning (Learn Direct), Job Centre Plus, The Vassall Centre Trust, Bristol Older People’s Forum, North Bristol Advice Centre, Wecil, Housing 21, Bristol City Council’s Learning Communities and the Tithe Barn.
More than 30,000 people in Bristol have been made aware of the project’s work as well as the digital inclusion agenda. This has been achieved via local advertising, taster sessions and media press coverage.
Over the last year an overall total of 681 participants completed a basic IT Course through the project or its close partners. This is the highest number of completed course participants of all UK wide Get IT Together projects within a first 12 month project period.
Nearly 40 volunteer tutors have been recruited, trained and managed to ensure that the courses are offered in a professional and friendly environment. Many volunteers have run four or more new rounds of courses at a specific location to help deal with the high level of participant demand.
Once completing their course participants are able to use a mouse and keyboard, navigate Windows, search the internet and use email. Participants are then given the option to progress onto a close partner’s intermediate course should they wish. In addition course participants are made aware of the Council’s Computer Reuse Scheme which provides affordable computers to Bristol residents who fall within the entry criteria.
For a more detailed summary of the project success, an annual report is available at: http://www.citizensonline.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Bristol-Annual-Report-2011-12_External.pdf
If you know someone who may benefit from these courses or you’re interested in volunteering, contact Marius on 07785 462 568 or email firstname.lastname@example.org