Annual Progress and Achievement Report 2018
Key achievements in 2018:
- Tackling the Digital Divide utilising the “Digital Access Point” model
- Developing the Volunteer Programme and building our “Academy” vision
- Creating a “Virtual Office” to support new programmes and systems for monitoring results and facilitating organisational development and learning
- Building our reputation by participating in local and national networks
The new academic year starting 2017/2018 marked the launch of GTT’s second project funded by the Nation Lottery Awards for All Grant. Having developed our ideas about working with volunteers to increase the available support offer to people needing help with digital skills. Helping developing volunteer skills by introducing a training programme alongside managing a base of digital access points. DASH being set up as the first pilot digital access point in Holbeck followed by Leodis Grid in Lincoln Green a project started in partnership with the Leodis Community Project, local Councillors, tenants and residents directing Area Communities and Housing Advisory Panel Funds. The “Metal Bashers” pilot funded with the help of the Leeds Community Foundation and support of the Leeds Fund. GTT has developed “School of Metal Bashers” project, now moved to a new base at the Beeston Skills Hub the project base being called the GTT Lab.
New digital projects with the potential of developing more volunteer opportunities for people to participate in stimulating and rewarding work as well as have the potential to foster an increased appetite for learning.
Tackling the Digital Divide utilising the “Digital Access Point” model
The concept of community digital access points became an accepted model that GTT would use to explore needs in a community, using principles learned from our own experiences as well as research evidence emerging from national academic source confirmed that our simple value-based approach to creating a vibrant friendly space for people to participate and learn was effective.
GTT was being managed by a team of volunteers that possess a combination of talent that would grow and develop with time if community digital access points project could be sustained.
Showing the value of everyone’s participation is key convincing it worth students and volunteers committing time to get involved. There is cost in time and work if you want to learn. Volunteers give time to help others and must feel valued and be rewarded for their effort.
The potential to bring tutors together to learn from each other and peer review their work with students and volunteers has been the next logical step for GTT in its ambition to develop an academy.
DASH reopened in a new base working within the St Luke’s Church in Holbeck now temporarily closed whilst building improvements are being made. It is agreed that GTT will start planning the reopening after the building has been completed in 2019.
GTT had 181 registered students in February 2018, by the end of the year a further 4 new digital access points were opened in the Outer South Leeds areas with more planned to start 2019 working with the New Wortley Community Centre and Richmond Hill Elderly Action.
The increase in activity as resulted in more volunteer and work experience opportunities being created with many volunteers moving on into work. GTT being able to offer paid tutor work to newly qualified volunteers as well with Tracey Cosstick joining the tutors team co-teaching and supervising Leodis Grid. Tracey has been an outstanding reliable volunteer bringing new skills into the organisation.
Developing the Volunteer Programme and building our “Academy” vision
The volunteer programme developed the idea of the GTT Academy based on the values of the organisation. The Academy comprises of students, volunteers, and tutors worked and participate together to learn and achieve innovating results.
The programme allowed the organisation to refine, develop and expand its administration systems to measure individual and collective achievement. This involved creating, promoting, recruiting and training new roles within the organisation.
Examples of GTT supported training for volunteers under this programme included education and training certificates, health and safety, data protection, cyber security, volunteer manager, networking, electrical safety, and safeguarding.
Volunteers reported that they had valued the experience with GTT many staying in contact with the organisation through contact with directors, tutors, social media or joining in with other volunteer and student events such as a Christmas lunch and National Volunteer Week events.
Creating a “Virtual Office” to support new programmes and systems for monitoring results and facilitating organisational development and learning
Economy of scale in developing more automated functions to register and record student and volunteer details and activity being developed by using volunteers using and sharing skills and knowledge meant administrative work broken down into systemic tasks that could be packaged into new trainee and developmental roles.
Standardising information meant reporting became more routine and streamlined so that results and trends could be evaluated more efficiently and the quality of reporting to the Board of Directors and stakeholders being more timely, informative and accurate.
The improvements to information management and problem solving GTT has implemented has consequently resulted in positive feedback from funders, new community partnerships being formed and increased confidence in new project proposals being developed.
As a result of changed to data protection legislation (GDPR) GTT implement new data protection and privacy policies and has started work migrating student data to a new cloud platform.
Financial functions were delegated to a team of directors and volunteers to develop new systems and cycles that ensure compliance with the requirements of being a Community Interest Company. Invoices, updating the ledger, budgeting and financial reports has now become routine and has created new attractive roles that equip individuals with practical experience so that they are work ready. These roles are particularly attractive to migrant students seeking work opportunities in the UK where a specialised knowledge of banking and taxation is required.
Building our reputation by participating in local and national networks
GTT success relies in developing strong relationships with its Community Partners to identify needs, find suitable spaces and funding to innovative programmes. GTT has now developed a track record of work with Leeds City Council and Housing Leeds and has expanded provision through the opening of new digital access points by bring together several funding streams with help from the Leeds Community Foundation.
GTT is an active participant in relevant local and city-wide forums such as the Work Club Network (managed by the DWP), Volunteer Managers’ Network (Voluntary Action Leeds), Digital Divide Network (Leeds Libraries Service).
GTT continues to be part of the UK Online Centres Network this year receiving grant to buy and upgrade equipment.
GTT has being assigned mentors from Leeds University to help with our development under the Positive Impact Project where the University are developing better connections academics and the third sector. This is a welcome initiative with the results of this work is yet to be realised in the longer term.
Annual Progress and Achievement Report 2017
Download our annual achievement report for 2017 here:
Annual Progress and Achievement Report 2016
Download our annual report for 2016 here: