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partnerships:articles:tcvs1 [2017/06/12 10:20] (current)
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 +How Thurrock council introduced voluntary organisations to the Internet
 +=======================================================================
 +
 +John Mayhew explains how the local council provided training for local
 +voluntary organisations,​ and helped form an Internet group fopr the
 +Thurrock Council for Voluntary Service . He also reflects on
 +developments in the field, and how the Government'​s IT for All
 +initiative can help.
 +
 +The training project
 +--------------------
 +
 +\
 + In November 1995 Thurrock Council for Voluntary Service approached
 +Thurrock Council and asked them to support a pilot project with the
 +purpose of "​educating"​ the Thurrock voluntary sector on the relevance of
 +information technology, its application,​ and advantages of computer
 +communication using the Internet and electronic mail.\
 +\
 + ​Thurrock Council set up a project team comprising three Council
 +officers and the CVS set up a similar group comprising two staff members
 +and one management committee member. The initiative gained management
 +committee agreement December 1995, and Thurrock Council agreed to
 +install the necessary hardware for Internet and E-mail useage at the
 +Thurrock CVS free of charge initially to the end of the financial year
 +(31st March 1996).\
 +\
 + This was set up using the Thurrock Council'​s server securely
 +partitioned from them. The Council arranged training for a core group of
 +interested members with the aim of enabling them to"​cascade"​ their
 +training to other interested Thurrock CVS members. A total of 26 people
 +attended 13 training sessions - duration 2 hours in pairs by 31st March
 +1996.\
 +\
 + Much of this training was spent "​finding our way round"​. Here are some
 +examples of the pieces of work achieved and information accessed:
 +
 +-   ​Information on adoption - South Essex Rape and Incest Crisis Centre
 +-   ​Womens'​ Groups - UK and Europe - SERICC
 +-   Local Agenda 21 - Essex Wildlife Trust
 +-   ​Anti-Bullying - Thurrock Family Service Unit
 +-   ​Accommodation and Access for people with a disability re foreign
 +    holidays - ACCESS
 +-   4th World Conference on Women, Beijing - SERICC
 +-   ​Womens'​ issues in relation to the recent Zero Tolerance Campaign -
 +    SERICC
 +-   ​Contact with International Federation of Settlements Bulletin Board
 +    in Berlin (individual member)
 +-   A music student found considerable information on the roots of Jazz
 +    for a dissertation
 +-   ​Another music student found a contact list of 50 independent music
 +    distributors and communicated by e-mail with some of them
 +-   How to build solar panels and windmills for alternative heating
 +-   Local history - flint tool head found at One Tree Hill (nr Basildon,
 +    Essex) - researcher was able to obtain approximate date via the
 +    Internet.
 +
 +Agreements were drawn up for member organisations having received this
 +induction training to book time on the Internet.
 +
 +Thurrock CVS Internet Group
 +---------------------------
 +
 +A Thurrock CVS Internet Group, meeting the last Thursday in the month,
 +has now been agreed as a sub-group of the TCVS management committee.\
 +\
 + The aim of the group is to share information,​ learn from each oth er
 +and explore "new territory"​. Actual use of the Internet was not an
 +issue, as it was seen that it was early days for IT for the voluntary
 +sector. Some groups do not have computers. If "hands on" opportunity
 +were provided for those persons/​groups interested in the Internet the
 +experience and awareness of the benefits might lead to the purchase of
 +their own capability or continued use of the facility at Thurrock CVS.
 +
 +-   ​Through Thurrock CVS management committee approval was given to join
 +    the National CVS IT network comprising 22 member CVS. Thurrock CVS
 +    currently acted in a monitoring role for this Network in the absence
 +    off-line for a while of the original convener.
 +-   ​Surveyed various newsgroups
 +-   Was asked by Thurrock Council to comment on its Home Page which was
 +    under construction
 +-   Group looked at format of many Local Authority Home Pages and made a
 +    report to the Thurrock Council.
 +
 +The way forward
 +---------------
 +
 +The Internet group recommended to Thurrock CVS management committee the
 +development of a Thurrock CVS Home Page. This was agreed.\
 +\
 + ​Thurrock Council agreed that TCVS could have web page space, free of
 +charge, to construct this. Member groups were circulated and asked to
 +provide the main aim, contact address, telephone and fax number, a
 +summary of services provided together with a logo. Fourteen replies were
 +received and a demonstration of the TCVS Home Page, to which TCVS member
 +groups have been invited, was arranged for the end of November meeting.\
 +\
 + ​Subject to availability Thurrock Council agreed in principle that it
 +might offer, to the voluntary sector, a restricted number of places on
 +training courses for Thurrock Council staff. This might also involve
 +training on computer "​housekeeping",​ the basics of computer upkeep.\
 +\
 + ​Further investigation and development for Womens'​ Groups initiatives.\
 +\
 + The topic of "​Chat"​ links using IRC (the Internet Relay Chat programme)
 +has been mentioned. This would be suitable for an umbrella style
 +organisation that has groups/​centres with an Internet capability. It is
 +possible to hold meetings (telephone conference style - IRC messages are
 +logged and can be printed out) without moving from the office. Member
 +groups could participate on a "​Who'​s in the Room basis" as forums of
 +interest on issues; members could make contributions to the Main
 +newsletter. Presently this could be possible on the NACVS network but
 +Server availability (there is one in both the UK and Germany) would need
 +to be explored. Thurrock CVS could establish a chat link, when Thurrock
 +CVS members are able, through the National CVS network.\
 +\
 + ​Thurrock Council will become a Unitary authority from April 1998. It is
 +evident from the recent conference held with the voluntary sector (some
 +150 delegates attended) and the recent two day weekend consultation
 +session with the public that the Council is wishing to develop strong
 +and active links with the local community The web site is seen as all
 +embracing made up of various "​lobbies"​ not belonging to any one in
 +particular, for example, Council, Business, Voluntary Sector, Health and
 +Life Styles, Environment,​ Heritage, but as a representation of the
 +Community that makes up Thurrock.
 +
 +IT development in the community
 +-------------------------------
 +
 +\
 + ​Several initiatives are working together, revolving around Information
 +Technology and its "​explosive"​ developments as more and more interests
 +realise the potential of this medium, particularly the use of computers
 +enabling networking for communication and information purposes.\
 +\
 + Speed of contact aiding greater efficiency is a desirable aim, but
 +experience proves that access delays due to demand (admittedly at peak
 +useage times) are considerable. Demand, an increase of 40% last year,
 +appears to be outstripping the capability of service operators to
 +provide the necessary hardware. This does need to be addressed.\
 +\
 + ​However,​ many users experience problems because their hardware, whilst
 +functionable,​ does not altogether meet the requirements (the internal
 +memory aspect of the computer, the speed of the connecting modem in use
 +for example) to enable a reasonable access speed. The transmission of
 +pictures and graphics can be slow under these conditions often causing
 +user frustration,​ loss of confidence, and because of "slow delivery"​
 +higher "​telephone account"​ bills, influencing users to switch off and
 +cease to use the medium.\
 +\
 + There are those who do not have computers. The government initiative, n
 +leaflet form might, like many local newspapers, be unread and cast aside
 +by people who might acknowledge the potential of IT, but will never be
 +able to afford it and develop their interest. There are those, although
 +not possessing a computer, who do express an interest but need the
 +opportunity to explore and develop their interest. Also there are those
 +who do possess a computer but require that "​extra"​ incentive to make the
 +step and "come on line". The proposed leaflet has a massive function to
 +perform in covering a wide spectrum, inexperienced through to very
 +experienced\
 + .\
 + This initiative is necessary. Although funding from central government
 +sources would be welcome to support the familiarising aspect, it is more
 +than likely, because restraint is common practice these days, that
 +further development will become a local issue reliant upon the topic
 +being accepted as a local issue. If this occurs and it becomes an agenda
 +item, the necessary means can be found to provide resources, financial
 +and human\
 +\
 + The television viewer and radio listener is a passive non-participative
 +party in the process. Even with the advent of cabling, improving the
 +quantity of channel provision, and digital broadcasting developments
 +leading towards an interactive two way approach could prove limiting and
 +exclusive. An interactive capability exists on the Internet, comments,
 +chat, joining forums of interest and so on, but there is the deluge
 +aspect of receiving and handling information and e-mail correspondence
 +through computer links which develop a technical behaviour (operating in
 +front of a computer monitor) as distinct from social behaviour (meeting
 +people face to face). .\
 +\
 + [John Mayhew](mailto:​101336.1475@CompuServe.COM)\
 + ​November 1996
  
partnerships/articles/tcvs1.txt ยท Last modified: 2017/06/12 10:20 (external edit)