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Gateshead Council provides digital boost for voluntary and community sector


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Gateshead Council has set up a £200,000 Digital Transformation and Support Fund to build digital skills among small and medium sized voluntary and community (VCS) bodies.

It will support two streams of projects: one focused on workforce development and free training for the sector; the second on digital transformation, with support for up to 25 VCS agencies that may be at risk of falling behind in how they use digital.

For the first, the council will work with Connected Voice – which supports the voluntary and community sector in the area – on a training needs analysis to be followed by the development of a workforce development strategy.

This will feed into the procurement of training courses that will be available to the relevant organisations free of charge.

The transformation element will involve support from an IT consultant in carrying out a digital maturity assessment covering systems and infrastructure, cyber resilience, data management, digital culture and behaviours and digital impacts on service delivery.

Organisations will receive a support plan that outlines areas for development, priorities, and for some a small amount to invest in software or equipment.

A thriving place

Gateshead Council’s cabinet member for communities and volunteering, Councillor Linda Green, said: "Gateshead Council recognises the important and increasing role the voluntary and community sector will play as our communities seek to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic. The Digital Transformation and Support Fund will help these vital organisations who are often at the heart of our communities, help us to make Gateshead a place where everyone thrives.

“Whilst all voluntary and community sector agencies delivering services in Gateshead can apply for this, priority will be given to the smaller agencies with a turnover of up to £300,000 recognising many smaller organisations may be left behind as bigger agencies increasingly use technology to innovate, increasing the digital divide."

Image from iStock, Putilich

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