Click and Connect
As the effects of the pandemic continue to hit communities across the county, and with new restrictions now in force, reliance on technology and digital communication has never been more evident. Accessing information and services via a variety of digital platforms, has become the new ‘norm’. Sadly though, this is not the case for everyone. An increasing number of people are isolated and identified as ‘digitally excluded’ – unable or unsure of where and how to access advice and support online.
One organisation helping to tackle the problem and close the digital divide, is Nottinghamshire-based charity, Newark and Sherwood CVS. Since the start of the pandemic, the organisation has been testing new ways of providing support and delivering its core services to beneficiaries. Including, online video support, pop-up volunteering clinics, telephone services and digital training.
This week, the organisation has launched its brand-new website, which they hope will provide a hub of information and advice, and connect people to the support they need. The website features training resources, useful links and a ‘virtual Volunteer Centre’, where visitors to the site can book an appointment, search for local volunteering roles, and learn more about volunteering.
Chief Officer Madeleine O’Sullivan said: “The new website has been developed in response to the needs of our clients and local community, and we hope it will help to improve access to information and support during these difficult times. We plan to continue developing the site, adding new and interactive features, online resources and learning tools.”
In addition to the new site, the organisation is currently running weekly digital training sessions and monthly support clinics, designed to help increase digital confidence and skills. The new website and training sessions are part of a wider project, thanks to funding from the Coronavirus Community Support Fund, distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund. The ‘Phoenix’ project is helping community and voluntary groups to adapt and continue delivering their much-needed services to local people and communities. The project runs until the end of the year, but the charity hopes to secure additional funding for the new initiatives.
Madeleine concluded: “We have made great progress since the start of the project, but it is evident that there is an ongoing need to support our voluntary sector, to ensure community-based services remain sustainable.”
For more information about the project, website or digital training, contact Newark and Sherwood CVS on 01636 679539 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.