Tag Archives: Sheffield Community Network

Sustaining IT…

8 Feb

RASAG’s love of IT Club is growing by the day – what could be better than 4 hours of high speed internet access, hot food and drinks and as much support as you could wish for?  Er, 10 times as much!  That’s right, RASAG is aiming to change it’s relationship status with IT from “complicated” to “married, full time, 9-5, forever”!  There are many reasons for this emergent longing for commitment, the main one being the cornerstone of many a successful partnership : NEED.  Every funder worth their salt, from city councils, to foundations to Joe Bloggs at the charity bingo wants to know one thing; why do you  NEED to do this activity,or rather, how have you established the NEED for the work?  Well the RASAG group established a gap in provision as detailed in previous posts,and having secured a small amount of funding, trialled the activity…  30 + participants, 6 regular volunteers and countless expressions of interest later, suffice it to say that IT Club feels needed, wanted, loved even!  However, just as our regulars are bound to discover that “DatingHotGirlsOnline” comes at a price, so the naysayers would have us believe that free internet access and printing with a beneficiary expenses budget for the most deprived and digitally excluded people in our communities is not a sustainable option – it will never catch on, say they… 

Luckily, RASAG HQ has other ideas…  Thanks to a fortuitous meeting of minds with the marvellous ACCESS Space http://access-space.org/doku.php?id=about:ethos RASAG has seen a whole new world of possibilities re. IT, sustainability and real world skills for our membership.  To cement this partnership we are embarking on a flagship project, bringing 21st century skills to those furthest from the job market (funder’s gotta love that,  right?), hopefully  with the generous provision of Humber Learning Consortium’s Community Grants scheme (European Social Fund and Skills Council funded).  With this, or A N other grant, we will enable 10 “hard to reach” learners to dismantle a broken pc, diagnose what is wrong with it, source the parts needed and fix the machine.  With their now fixed machine, they will be guided though installing open source software, which is free, and using the programmes and search features on the operating system.  With their new found knowledge of hardware and software, learners will be introduced to the wealth of online opportunities, including buying and selling, getting hold of free stuff and promoting services online, all for free – what could possibly be more sustainable than that?  Oh yes, one more thing, those who complete the course will get to take their pc away with them and do with it what they will – wow – that’s a giant leap towards the job market for those that finish!

Finally, RASAG has one beedy eye on the emerging Sheffield Community Network http://sheffieldcommunity.net/about/, an initiative that hope to help “deprived communities and disadvantaged social & economic groups in Sheffield to access and use ICT.”  Sounds like a good idea huh?  Do you think they want any help with that?  Sure they do, and here at RASAG we know that the ONLY way to promote digital inclusion and turn that towards economic equality, is to build a model that actively nurtures those who are EXCLUDED from the economy; asylum seekers, destitutes and members of host and settled communities who find themselves marginalised from society – if you can build a service that works for ALL, you WILL create growth, you WILL create opportunities, you WILL create jobs (+ hit those all important targets)…  That’s the RASAG 1 for ALL, bottom-up model, and that’s why we Love IT x