We held our first ever Digital WM News online meetup, a Brum digital meetup, on 15th April 2020, organised by Pauline Roche from RnR Organisation.
The meetup was for Digital WM News subscribers and others in Birmingham and the wider West Midlands, to allow social changemakers to check in with each other and share information during the Covid19 lockdown.
As well as Pauline we had Communications freelancer Vicky Kangurs, Stuart Ashmore from SCVO Sandwell, John Dunford from The Developer Society, Edward Walden from Power to Change, freelance web developer Nivi Morales, and Claire Bickley from Code Your Future.
Participants updated each other on their latest activity, mainly in the light of responding to the pandemic .
Pauline has been on several CAST / Catalyst / Third Sector Lab video calls and several TechSoup meetups. She has issued one Digital WM News Covid19 Special 1 and is working on a second Special issue. As a trustee of the Small Charities Coalition she has assisted the helpdesk as well as providing some staff support and attending specialist meetups.
Online webinars attended include Donor engagement and Improving membership organisations as well as Net Squared London’s excellent and timely ‘Human connection in a time of social distancing‘ with Deepr colleagues. Another useful webinar was Cybersecurity and WFH. She also found time to pitch and run a ThingsCamp session on Social data.
Vicky shared that she is launching the Birmingham Charity Meetup on 28th Apr at 2pm. Email email@example.com for information. Speakers are TBC but topics will include wellbeing and working from home.
Vicky is also organising the next Midlands Charity Comms meeting on 11th June. Topic is ‘comms on a shoestring’ but this may change or become adapted to be more relevant in the coming weeks. Any suggestions for speakers from charities or NFPs who do an excellent job of communicating with stakeholders on little/no budget would be appreciated.
For Sandwell, Stuart says COVID-19 support information is available at www.scvo.info – you just follow the link from front page. Some is Sandwell specific, some more general. A new befriending scheme gas been created – Sandwell Together. General CVS activities are continuing using remote technologies, but also support with things like furlough etc.
John has continued to work with Dev Society’s normal partners, helped coordinate response from social tech orgs, as well as working with CAST, Social Tech Trust and other funders to help connect charities with support.
Edward continues to offer service design and digital skills consultancy to community businesses and other charitable organisations across England.
As a front end developer with special interest on accessibility / universal design / user center, Nivi has offered tech support for Covid 19 Kenilworth Support . She has come across some free volunteer management software from a company called Team Kinetic.
Claire is supporting 30-35 Code Your Future students studying coding (refugees, asylum seekers, people from disadvantaged background) and looking for volunteers. She shared information about a COVID 19 Charity Preparedness Facebook Group, a Volunteer Pro Insiders Facebook Group and the Charity Comms Midlands Networking Facebook Group which she has found useful.
Participants found the meetup useful so we will consider running others, possibly focussing on other locations in the West Midlands region.