GTT Annual Achievement Report 2020

Starting the year in a strong position at the beginning of 2020.

At the beginning of the year there was much optimism; GTT had secured funding to develop several new projects that were ready to start.

The new projects would increase the scope of the community offer to include: Financial inclusion, work skills, cybercrime prevention, as well as continuing to open new digital access points with new partners.

At the financial year end GTT generated a modest surplus which has offset its historic start up debts.

Investing and adapting to cope with the global pandemic.

Most businesses moved to delivering goods and services online very quickly. GTT was no exception being able to manage the transition relatively easily. The pandemic was the catalyst for change that GTT needed to invest in new office tools. Microsoft Office 365 and SharePoint working together to make office systems more streamlined, improve website security and purchasing the Zoom communication tool for running online meetings across all device platforms which improved student communication.

Tutors were working from home at the onset of the first wave of the pandemic. GTT could continue to provide support to students but only if they had access to their own devices and internet connection. Students that relied on using equipment and connections in community centres could not supported. Where digital access points were supported by local groups providing funding, students tended to come from more affluent areas. These technology sessions have been very successful in providing mutual support helping students access more online services as well as getting social contact and avoid the problems of isolation during the lockdown.

There were financial challenges because some grants funds were tied to specific initiatives or bases and could not easily be transferred to online delivery. GTT was able to get emergency support funds from Leeds Community Foundation the changes to service delivery and work plans. This funding could not address the needs of those that did not have immediate access to devices and internet. The digital divide is becoming wider because of the pandemic is an issue that is drawing national attention and GTT is continuing to support this lobby and develop local projects where possible.

New Projects adapted and started to cope public health restrictions.

  • Work skills programme with Groundwork Trust – develop basic digital, office, hardware repair, and programming skills for people finding it difficult in the job market.
  • Cybercrime Prevention workshops responding to increase of cybercrime. Online workshops with guest speakers aimed at increasing awareness and developing tools to improve online security.
Cybercrime Prevention Hour a popular workshop with West Yorkshire Police Community Safety Funds.
  • Work skills programme with Groundwork Trust – develop basic digital, office, hardware repair, and programming skills for people finding it difficult in the job market.
  • Cybercrime Prevention workshops responding to increase of cybercrime. Online workshops with guest speakers aimed at increasing awareness and developing tools to improve online security.
GTT Lab – Success in 4 Steps COVID secure session held before 2nd UK Lockdown.

Continued support of community partners committed to working together.

GTT would not have had the time and resources to adapt to meet the challenge of the pandemic unless it had the continued support of key community partners. Local community groups like the Drighlington Methodist Church and Denshaws, Newlands and Rydals Residents Association continued to provide funding for online digital drop-in groups.

Project funding partners were flexible in accepting that original plans had to be redesigned and delays were inevitable. Support from West Yorkshire Police, Groundwork Trust, Leeds Community Foundation, Leeds Libraries, Housing Leeds, Leeds City Council, and Bradford Metropolitan District Council played a vital part in helping GTT continue supporting people in what unfolded into an international disaster.

Volunteer development online.

The pandemic provided a unique opportunity to bring together all the volunteers online. In previous years GTT Volunteer Week and Christmas often generated the impetus for a social event to bring together volunteers from all digital access points across Leeds. Not all volunteers would or could get involved in these team building initiatives given the geography and demographics of the group.

The first UK Lockdown meant volunteers having to quickly get to grips with new digital tools and ways of helping people online. This method of participating did not suit everyone; however, it did attract many new skilled volunteers with time to donate to help others.

Volunteers that participated regular online were able to meet up with other GTT volunteers from different projects for the first time, learn and share new skills. Achievements of the year include being able to use remote desktop assistant tools to help students solve software problems, produce a promotion video by collaborating entirely online, and develop a learning resources database for volunteer use.

Volunteers from different parts of the city meeting up online for the first time.

Students encouraged to participate and learn online.

Participate & Learn OnlineGTT AcademyGTT LabVolunteers Meet UpDrighlington DigitalTOTAL
Learning Hours8521161701086501896
Volunteer Development Hours0001080108
Student Learning Hours85211617006501788
Online Achievement 2020

GTT continued to make participate and learn opportunities available throughout the year with online meetings using the Zoom application. Sessions helped many people cope with the transition to using more online services and build online mutual support networks that helped people cope with the feeling of isolation and loneliness.

GTT Online Digital Sessions held in 2020.

Looking forward community outreach delivery

GTT directors, tutors, volunteers, and students have all acquired new skills and become more resilient of overcoming the challenges of the pandemic. Everyone involved in the GTT digital community is looking forward to going out once again to meet face-to-face in local neighbourhood venues to share, work and learn together to develop new skill and support emerging needs.

Procedures are in place to ensure COVID safety working in the community and people are wanting to gain new skills to access the changing online services, develop their knowledge and confidence so they can complete in the economic recovery of the nation.

It is anticipated that the lockdown will not be over until infection rates go down and more people have been vaccinated. It will take time for public confidence to return to venture out to community venues. It is envisaged that GTT will still retain an online community alongside the opening of digital access points in the community again. Many will find that it would be more convenient to participate online instead of travelling to community centres, particularly for those who either have limited time, carer responsibilities, mobility, or transport difficulties. It is expected that in the future students will be offered more choice and ways to participate and learn with GTT.

Annual Progress and Achievement Reports

Download our annual achievement report by Calendar Years:

2019 Annual Achievement Report (PDF Format)

2018 Annual Achievement Report (PDF Format)

2017 Annual Progress Report (Word Format)

2016 Annual Progress Report (Word Format)

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