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partnerships:articles:profiles [2017/06/12 10:20] (current)
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 +# Success stories from South Bristol Learning Network
 +\
 +
 +by [Sally Abram](mailto:​sabram@sbln.demon.co.uk) sabram@sbln.demon.co.uk
 +
 +[South Bristol Learning Network](http://​www.sbln.org.uk/​) is one of the
 +pioneers in bringing the benefits of new technology to communities
 +lacking jobs and opportunities to develop new skills, particularly
 +through their Cyberskills training programme. 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.
 +
 +Introduction
 +------------
 +
 +Since launching as a TEC Challenge winner in 1993, SBLN has moved from a
 +government funded organisation to a self-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.\
 +\
 + The staff are constantly learning new skills based around IT and
 +cascading these skills to others via CyberSkills initiatives. Staff like
 +Lee Fenton have gone on to take new skills into the media workplace.
 +Having joined SBLN with no IT skills, Lee left to join General Cable in
 +London and is playing a major role in the provision of Internet service
 +to their franchise areas.
 +
 +Community and voluntary sector
 +------------------------------
 +
 +### Community New Publishing
 +
 +David Onamade attended CyberSkills under the Multimedia in the Community
 +programme. Educated in London / Nigeria / USA / Sweden David is self
 +employed and very enthusiastic to explore how new technologies can
 +impact on the publishing of his Bristol-based magazine. FREEnews is a
 +free semi-literary magazine for the inner city of Bristol. Having been
 +introduced to the Internet / WWW and multimedia at CyberSkills,​ David
 +and his partner are developing ideas of how to publish the magazine
 +electronically to encourage a broader contribution of readership.\
 +
 +### National Federation of City Farms
 +
 +As part of SBLN's contribution to the local community, SBLN invited
 +members of the 4 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.\
 +\
 + ​Maurice shares a strong belief in the NFCF philosophy that City Farms
 +and Community Gardens are not the solutions imposed on communities - the
 +communities are encouraged to "​own"​ the projects themselves and the
 +equality of access eg. there are generally no charges for admission to
 +the projects.\
 +\
 + "​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.\
 +\
 + At a later phase, the NFCF hopes to use their new purpose built which
 +was officially opened by David Bellamy, to demonstrate all types of
 +online resources relating to the activities of the Federation. It is
 +also the aim to use one of the kits as a public access terminal for
 +online information,​ with a second machine sited in it's offices for
 +updating home pages, emailing and word processing etc.\
 +
 +### 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. Chris Miller, Support Worker,
 +has been instrumental in encouraging closer involvement with the Centre
 +and is keen to explore sustainable ways of access to IT with the
 +support.
 +
 +CyberSkills has highlighted the sense of isolation from mainstream
 +community that some clients feel and SBLN are keen to identify
 +opportunities for building links with other similar centres where groups
 +feel equally isolated, primarily through use of the Internet and video
 +conferencing.
 +
 +Whilst developments are at an early stage, SBLN is hoping to lever
 +resources to fund the targeted development of a CyberSkills which are
 +co-delivered by adults with learning difficulties to their own sector.
 +
 +"It is not often that our clients manage to get access to mainstream IT
 +activities so the CyberSkills Workshops were quite special for them."
 +
 +The plan for IT use at the Bush is progressing slowly. They hope to have
 +3 multimedia PC machines early in the New Year and to be on the Internet
 +by the summer. "The CyberSkills Workshops were important in raising
 +awareness amongst staff of the possibilities of PCM and how quickly the
 +technology was progressing."​
 +
 +"We are now seeing our clients move into office jobs where they need
 +some computer skills. CyberSkills have increased their confidence and IT
 +awareness amongst this group. Many Bush students are familiar with
 +computers but the BBC machine is still the equipment they are most at
 +home with and for which there is most special needs support. This is
 +changing quickly but more needs to be done if profoundly disabled people
 +are to have access."​
 +
 +### 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.\
 +
 +Public Sector
 +-------------
 +
 +### 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
 +CD-Roms.
 +
 +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.\
 +
 +Education
 +---------
 +
 +### Lesley Farley, P/T Project Worker, Mature Student
 +
 +One of the original 50 unemployed people from south Bristol, Lesley
 +first joined SBLN as a Development Worker with the Community Development
 +Unit. In September of 1994, Lesley left to persue a degree in Time Based
 +Media at the University of West of England, focusing on the production
 +of multimedia programmes.\
 +\
 + ​Earlier this year, Lesley rejoined SBLN, initially involved in
 +developing an Internet presence for the National Federation of City
 +Farms. An important aspect of the project is to train the people at the
 +NFCF in Web page production. Many of these people have no previous
 +knowledge of the new technologies.\
 +\
 + "​To me, this project epitomises the work of SBLN - empowerment of
 +ordinary people not only to understand the new technologies but to use
 +them to communicate on a global level.\
 +\
 + '​Students at college have access to the Internet and are familiar with
 +the new technologies unlike the community as a whole. The NFCF project
 +emphasises SBLN's important role within the community."​\
 +
 +### 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
 +pupils.\
 +\
 + 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.\
 +\
 +
 +Business
 +--------
 +
 +### Andy Ryan, Information Technology Services
 +
 +Andy Ryan was one of the original team members who joined SBLN in
 +October 1993 and focused on training in digital video production and
 +editing. In 1995, he left SBLN to start up his own company "​Information
 +Technology Services"​ specialising in Internet Training, Multimedia
 +Presentation,​ and CD-ROM Authoring.\
 +\
 + ​Within the first 12 months, Andy had secured contracts with a number of
 +blue chip companies such as ICL and Post Office Counters and with the
 +public sector.\
 +\
 + "​I feel these opportunities would not have been presented to me had I
 +not been lucky enough to have been part of the SBLN project. The one
 +thing that really strikes me watching SBLN continue to grow is the
 +enthusiasm of the people behind it.\
 +\
 + "​I think it has shown that if you give people from all walks of life,
 +the chance to have access to this type of technology they really do want
 +to learn. Back in 1993 I could not see myself doing what I do now. I
 +strongly feel the CyberSkills Workshops present an excellent way forward
 +in a world that is becoming more and more reliable on the skills of the
 +Information Society."​\
 +
 +### 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
 +consultancy.\
 +\
 + A year ago, preparing mailshots, newsletters and product launches
 +tended to take up the majority of their time. Today, Rhino completes
 +these activities electronically in a fraction time.\
 +\
 + 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."\
 +\
 + The garage-based business houses a mini training suite where they
 +deliver hands-on sessions to small, local businesses. The suite also
 +doubles up as an Authoring facility for publishing on-line catalogues
 +for local companies which to date, has resulted in generating business
 +leads as far away as Japan and Australia. Over 50% of those clients who
 +take up an introductory consultancy session, go on to subscribe to a
 +service provider. The company provides a total service from simple
 +advise on 'What is the Internet',​ through to a fully managed web
 +service.\
 +
 +### Robbins Timber, based in south Bristol,
 +
 +Robbins Timber generates an annual turnover of £3million with 40 staff
 +based on 3 sites. Despite the lack of IT skills in the company, the
 +company is not deterred from investing in the potential of Emailing and
 +the WWW as a communication medium to be exploited.\
 +\
 + ​Established in 1881, the company is an importer and distributor of
 +timber to both the trade and DIY, but specializes in marine timber.
 +Their product range has evolved over the years from steaming bent
 +timbers for the wagon and coffin trade, and developed to accommodate
 +market demands and conditions.\
 +\
 + As a result of attending the CyberSkills Workshops, Company Director
 +Richard Bagnall, has introduced Emailing facilities to the company with
 +an immediate expansion of their customer base to include new clients all
 +over Europe. The company is currently designing their web site which
 +they hope will not only be a showcase for product information and
 +offers, but will drastically reduce marketing and printing expenditure.\
 +
 +### John Marsh, Total Quality Partnership
 +
 +John Marsh formed Total Quality Partnership 4 years ago, initially as a
 +one-man business. Working as a Consultant and with Associates in
 +Britain, Europe, South Africa and America his work crosses both the
 +public and private sectors, helping to implement mutually beneficial
 +changes through the facilitation of strategic planning and process
 +involvement.\
 +\
 + ​Primary market: business, education, health, training and Enterprise
 +Councils. 80% UK-based & 20% abroad.\
 +\
 + John is also a prolific writer. One of his books, The Quality Toolkit,
 +is in its second edition and has been translated into Slovak as a
 +reference book to assist with to assist with the privatisation process
 +in that country. John Marsh has also collaborated with a colleague to
 +develop a computer based version of The Continuous Improvement
 +Workbench. The development of this software is one of the reasons that
 +he has invested in the production of a web site.\
 +\
 + It is hoped that the marketing of such a specialist tool will be made
 +easier through the website, eradicating expensive advertisement and wide
 +mailshots, saving precious efforts and resources in a small
 +organisation.\
 +\
 + "​One of my aspirations is to do more international work and the Net
 +seems to be a great way of increasing the company'​s profile. I want to
 +be seen using the latest technology and hope that that the Continuous
 +Improvement Workbench can be drawn down via the Internet. I doubt that I
 +would achieved what I have, without the excellent support from SBLN."​\
 +\
 + ​Although it is still early days, he is already using email extensively
 +to send out company literature and to communicate with new clients in
 +the US and Korea.\
 +
 +### 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.\
 +\
 + "​I knew when I went along to the CyberSkills Workshops that there was a
 +potentially explosive and creative opportunity waiting to happen but I
 +just couldn'​t see what." Robert hopes that Artweb will become a key
 +strategic marketing space for the Art world. "The project is not just an
 +Internet site but an art promotion company using the Internet."​\
 +
 +[Sally Abram](mailto:​100335.3033@CompuServe.COM)\
 + Head of Information & PR\
 + South Bristol Learning Network\
 + Tel +44 (0)117 946 5403 Work\
 + +44 (0)1761 453961 Work & Home\
 + Fax +44 (0)117 964 1021\
 + ​Compuserve 100335,​3033\
 + Email sabram@sbln.demon.co.uk\
 + ​[http://​www. sbln.org.uk](http://​www.sbln.org.uk/​)
 +
 +------------------------------------------------------------------------
 +
 +[The CyberSkills Association\
 +](skillsl) [The importance of lifelong learning](lifel)
 +
  
partnerships/articles/profiles.txt · Last modified: 2017/06/12 10:20 (external edit)