On Wednesday I went to a partnership project called Digital Skills for Work at the Civic Suite in Catford Town Hall. Phoenix Community Housing, Lewisham Homes & Lewisham Council are working in partnership to deliver a sustainable network of intermediaries to support residents test lacking basic digital skills. Part of the plan has been to employ two "Digital Connectors", who will help people get the kind of skills that can help them find work.
The scheme is being funded by One Digital, a Big Lottery funded collaborative digital skills programme developed by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), Age UK, Citizens Online, DigitalUnite and Clarion Futures.
Part of the purpose of the scheme, as it is of the organisations mentioned above, is to create a network of Digital Champions. There were a couple of smaller organisations, like Catbytes, at the event. One example was the New Cross Gate Trust. They are offering IT classes covering a range of topics from the most basic IT skills to using spreadsheets with Excel. I met Jenny from this organisation, who told me about the good work they are doing.
It would be great to draw these organisations together into a shared pool. This way people wanting to develop their IT skills in Lewisham could be directed to the nearest location or the most convenient time possible. However, I am not entirely clear how this new initiative is going to achieve this yet. It's certainly great to network so as to get an idea of what our common goals are. But there doesn't seem to be an easy way for Catbytes to turn our volunteers into digital champions, or to integrate what we are doing into the Lewisham Basic Digital Skills program. Perhaps this will become clearer as we continue to meet and talk
Later on I went to the Family Action Open Recovery Day, held in the Baptist Church Hall in Perry Hill. I'm not sure why the day was called this. However, I'm not sure why quite a lot of events are given the names they are, including some that I have organised. I had my Catbytes stand showing the various Techy Tea clubs I have done. I met the CEO of family action. Even more excitingly, I met Lynval Golding of the Specials. It turns out Lynval is a bit of a campaigner on the issue of mental health. He gave a moving speech, and also let me have a picture of him and me, and Lesley from Family Action. This is my most exciting photo on the site so far, (and also the first which actually has me in it, incidentally). Why is it such a big deal? Don't you remember? Let me remind you....
On Sunday I did a bit of the Catford Arts Trail. I am looking for some pictures to put in the office. I want to establish Catbytes' localist agenda in the office, so local artists would be great. Unfortunately no art is cheap. However, there is a huge range of artists in Catford. Over 100 are represented on the Arts Trail. You can get into some interesting chats in the houses where the art is shown. One of the artists suggested to me that Catford is replacing Telegraph Hill as the artistic hub of Lewisham. The big bay-windowed houses on Telegraph Hill are becoming too expensive.
I've included some pictures of the kinds of things I saw on the trail. The throne to the right is created by Tamara Froud. She does quite expensive commissions for schools - a bit out of my range, however much I would like the throne to sit on. Also quite expensive and pretty weird is Sandra Ackermann in 3 Engleheart Road (an example is shown on the left). I liked her work, but I think some of our visitors might ask for explanations of it. I'm not sure if the answers would be entirely savoury.
I am thinking of trying to get some work by Jen Mason. She has done some work inspired by a trip to Uganda about the "Economics of Happiness". It's basically saying we could live better lives if we we less concerned about money and more concerned about the social activities that make life worth living - a positive message in straitened times. I'm not sure if all Ugandans would agree but then I've never been there, so maybe she knows more than I do about this.
By Damian Griffiths at 1 Oct 2018, 23:51 PM