GTT Formation 2014
GTT formed August 2014 into unincorporated community organisation has a legacy project resulting from the 2 year successful digital inclusion partnership project Get IT Together Leeds. The founder members of GTT were Vic Berry, Steve Thompson, Douglas Villegas and Nikol Karachaliou.
Since that time a group committee members and volunteers have continued set run digital skills training across Leeds. GTT has struggled to get funding to continue this work and volunteers provided basic computer skills classes with other community partners; St. Vincent’s Support in Richmond Hill and the Fairfield Community Centre, Bramley. With GTT volunteer tutors, community partners, facilities and equipment being provided free of charge. Classes were started in 2015.
National Lottery Support – Digital Access Holbeck (DASH)
GTT was successful in negotiating a partnership with Holbeck Youth & Community Centre and Health for All to open up a weekly digital access point which has been running since July 2015.
The access point has staff digital trainers to help centre users. On average the facility attracts between 4 to 5 users each week. Over 50% of the user activity is employment focussed, using the centre to look for work opportunities and apply for work. About a quarter of the users were interested in using the computers or learning about computers. GTT is now an established part of the Leeds Work Club Network work closely with the DWP and local JCP offices.
Short term users of the centre have used the facility to move onto work or simply came to get technology advice or needed sign posting to a more relevant service. On average each student received 14 hours training or support.
The project has attracted new volunteers to the project since starting some are still with us, but other have moved onto full time work.
Increase the number community locations and range of training courses.
GTT has now developed a good scheme of work for a series of introductory course in technology aimed a basic level. This course has been sponsored in a number of areas in the city working Fairfield Community Centre, St. Vincent’s Support and BARCA Leeds, providing class from the Fairfield Community Centre, Richmond Hill Community Centre and Hawksworth Wood Community Shop.
Recognising achievement at Fairfield Community Centre
Opening up new locations and times during the week created the opportunity to utilise and recruit more volunteers. The organisation works with the local volunteer centre and advertises opportunity via the national volunteering website.
GTT has increased its profile; using the organisation’s website, social and local media as well as attending conference and exhibition events to help promote our work and attract new community partners. Organisations are starting to realise the potential to offer consultancy services to community based organisations to create relevant technology projects that meet a specific need.
Participating in communities: talking about ideas and listening to needs
The organisation has sought advice for Business & IP Centre about becoming a social enterprise and has guidance on preparing a business plan. Voluntary Action Leeds has provided advice about becoming a Community Interest Company.
The Committee appointed Martin Brennan to strengthen the committee bringing his professional expertise and links with South Leeds community based organisations.
GTT has a committee has done much to use the DASH project to improve the infrastructure of the organisations and now has system in place to ensure the class and digital access points can be run and monitored professionally.
Group has done much to develop its vision and in particular how this links to product and service diversification. The foundation of its services delivery are based on the principles of setting up an Academy. The principles of the Academy are promoting, encouraging and recognising participation, learning, achievement and innovation.
Going forward into the next Academic Year 2016-2017
We have developed new partnerships with the New Wortley Community Centre which has a new building with WiFi in which GTT and the NWCC have numerous digital skill projects in development awaiting sponsorship.
Other digital access and training project partnerships have been agreed in Lincoln Green and Harehills targeted at social housing tenants. Follow on technology classes are planned to be held at Hawksworth Wood and Richmond Hill this will start as soon as funding has been confirmed.
The launch of the GTT Lab is anticipated this year and will include elements of electronics, and programming.
GTT is well place to become a CIC and develop its first business plan.