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partnerships:articles:profile1 [2017/06/12 10:20] (current)
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 +Cyberskills open new opportunities in South Bristol
 + by [Sally Abram](mailto:​,​\
 +*South Bristol Learning Network is one of the pioneers in bringing the
 +benefits of new technology to communities lacking jobs and opportunities
 +to develop new skills. Sally Abram, their Head of Information & PR,
 +reports on some of their successes - some with businesess, some in
 +education, some in the voluntary and community sectors. She wrote this
 +article in 1997.*
 +Since launching as a TEC Challenge winner in 1993, SBLN has moved from a
 +government-funded organisation to a sustainable company with a permanent
 +staff of 16. Whilst still an organisation which works as a grass-roots
 +level with local communities,​ interest in the awareness raising model of
 +CyberSkills has led to national and international interest.\
 +### National Federation of City Farms
 +As part of SBLN's contribution to the local community, SBLN invited
 +members of the four Bristol-based City Farms and National Federation of
 +City Farms to CyberSkills to explore the potential for this sector. One
 +of the attendees from the NFCF, Maurice Atkins, saw enormous potential
 +and his subsequent enthusiasm for the concept has been instrumental in
 +establishing a web presence for the NFCF.\
 + An ex BT employee, Maurice joined the National Federation of City Farms
 +in March \`95. "I regard myself as fortunate to be able to bring my
 +skills to the Voluntary Sector,"​ he says.\
 + "​The NFCF need to have access to a technology which provides a new
 +medium of communication,​ and which may prove to be as important as, for
 +example the printing press and broadcasting. It could be a matter of
 +survival. There is also a need for access to the new medium to be truly
 +affordable or indeed free to everyone - like there still is to books in
 +public libraries. This is one benefit which I will have by working at
 +the NFCF, but I am concerned that the economically-deprived do not get
 +left further behind by being the technologically-deprived."​\
 + In addition to the training, SBLN sourced six 386 PCs and has provided
 +additional IT training in some of the software packages and information
 +management. Each of the four city farms is required to identify
 +sufficient funding to purchase a modem and for online costs. However,
 +CompuServe is supporting the project with the provision of sponsored
 +accounts for each farm.
 +### Bush Resource Centre
 +Based in south Bristol, the Bush Centre caters for people with learning
 +difficulties. In the past, the Centre, which is co-funded by Social
 +Services and the Rowntree Trust, has bought a number of BBC and Master
 +computers but most are now defunct.
 +Problems of security, staff turnover, adequate training plus space and
 +equipment reliability have severely hampered any real development of IT.
 +SBLN began dialogue with the Centre over a year ago when the Centre
 +agreed to host an a multimedia Roadshow. Since then, the centre has
 +established an IT steering group which is identifying a number of areas
 +where IT can support staff and students including literacy, numeracy,
 +speech development and communication.
 +In addition, several students have attended the CyberSkills Workshops
 +together with a number of Support Workers.
 +### Redwood House
 +The centre is a sanctuary for homeless men and over the past few months,
 +SBLN has been supporting some of the Development Workers and residents
 +by providing no-cost training via the CyberSkills programme.\
 + The workshops have been the first exposure to an informal way of
 +learning new skills; creating new opportunities to access technology and
 +new applications and leading to the development of new skills that will
 +make them more employable. The centre has now purchased a modem from
 +their education and training budget and has signed up to a service
 +provider for three months. They are currently working with residents to
 +produce a format for a web site and negotiating with SBLN to provide
 +basic training on web authoring. As part of our commitment to the
 +community, SBLN will be hosting their information our community server.
 +### Stockwood Library
 +SBLN has been working with Bristol based Stockwood Library for 18 months
 +providing consultancy and advice on the implementation of new technology
 +within the library. Multimedia Roadshows which SBLN have taken out to
 +the Library, have proved a successful formula in giving local residents
 +of all ages hands-on experience of the Internet, sending email and
 +Earlier this year, Stockwood Library invested in a multimedia PC to
 +support library activities. The service - which is free - is primarily
 +used by library members and staff for wordprocessing and accessing
 +educational CD-Roms.
 +Not only is the implementation of an IT strategy adding value to the
 +services which the library offers, but also provides an opportunity for
 +Library staff to develop new skills.
 +SBLN are currently assisting the Library Service plan a Roadshow at the
 +Library as part of celebrations to mark the 500th Anniversary of the
 +John Cabotís sailing to Newfoundland. SBLN sponsors - CompuServe have
 +provisionally agreed to sponsor the event which will enable local
 +children to send messages to schools in Newfoundland.
 +### Rhino Communications
 +For the past few years, Neil Murray and his business partner Jean
 +Batchelor have been running a home-based business selling quality
 +reproduction and costume jewelry. It was a realisation that his son knew
 +far more about the potential impact of technologies such as the Internet
 +which finally inspired him to attend a CyberSkills Workshop soon after
 +the workshops were launched in November 1994.\
 + ​Excited by the market potential for their business activities, they
 +invested £20,000 in hardware and software, including a server, built an
 +online catalogue and launched their web site. Realising the potential
 +for other small businesses in south Bristol, Rhino Communications have
 +now diversified into the market of communications training and
 + With an annual turnover of £500,000, their initial start up costs have
 +already been recouped and they can now boast a world wide customer base
 +which includes clients in China, Russia, Canada and Paraguay which is
 +growing by about 100 per annum.\
 + They describe their business as "an early learning centre and an
 +Internet creche"​ for local companies in the area to find out more about
 +the business benefits of communication tools such a Email and market
 +opportunities presented by the Internet. "The real investment that
 +businesses need to make is not just in the technology, but in time. It
 +is not difficult to market your company effectively on the web because
 +their is so much information to help you."
 +### Schools project
 +SBLN and Bristol City Council'​s CREATE Centre are jointly proposing to
 +run a local environmental world-wide-web project which will involve
 +schools and pupils from South Bristol. SBLN will train a number of
 +teachers, together with CREATE'​s education officers, in the skills
 +necessary to design and build websites. The teachers will then be able
 +to use SBLN's materials to cascade this training to their colleagues and
 + A number of environmental projects will be started by the schools,
 +supported by CREATE'​s staff with their extensive database of local
 +environmental information. However, instead of producing their project
 +work in written format, the pupils will produce it as web pages which
 +will be accessible to the whole world. In this way the pupils will gain
 +not only curriculum-related knowledge and skills from the project work,
 +but also a wide range of skills necessary to participate fully in the
 +information society.
 +### Artweb
 +Based in south Bristol, Andrew Price attended CyberSkills at end 1995.
 +As a result of attending CyberSkills,​ Andrew set up Artweb - a new
 +Internet directory for artists which offers instant access to a world
 +wide market. Partners Richard Davis, Andrew Price and Rob Ryder are
 +confident that artists will recognise the potential of the scheme. The
 +beauty of the project is that it is adaptable to any form of artwork
 +that can be photographed and screened.\
 + As well as being an artist, Andrew is a competent marketeer but not
 +very technical. Frustrated by hefty commission charges that Gallery
 +Owners and Agents have traditionally charged artists to display and
 +promote their work, Andrew decided to carry out much of his own
 +marketing to Japan and North America.\
 + ​Artweb started as a virtual gallery with Artists paying a small annual
 +subscription to have work displayed. In exchange, an Artist is offered
 +free web pages which include images of their work, art supplier
 +discount, business cards, flyers and a chance to increase their profile
 +to a wider audience via the Internet . Artweb also aims to develop a
 +gallery service offering galleries the chance set up a domain name,
 +possibly for a specific event.\
 +[Sally Abram](mailto:​100335.3033@CompuServe.COM)\
 + Head of Information & PR\
 + ​[South Bristol Learning Network](http://​​)\
 + Tel +44 (0)117 946 5403 Work\
 + +44 (0)1761 453961 Work & Home\
 + Fax +44 (0)117 964 1021\
 + ​Compuserve 100335,​3033\
 + Email\
 + ​[http://​www.](http://​​)
 +[The CyberSkills Association\
 +](skillsl) [The importance of lifelong learning\
partnerships/articles/profile1.txt · Last modified: 2017/06/12 10:20 (external edit)