Transforming West Cumbria, mid-term report 2023

PAGE 14 | TRANSFORMING WEST CUMBRIA TRANSFORMING WEST CUMBRIA | PAGE 15 Bedrock Digital offers grants of around £5,000 to local charities and community groups prioritising the alleviation of poverty and disadvantage. The groups also receive free advice from digital expert Kevin Beynon on which digital systems might help them work better and on applying for a grant. The scheme was launched in September 2022. “Small charities don’t have time to research digital solutions,” says Kevin, who runs digital consultancy Charity Technology. “They can get that help and support from me.” In the first few weeks of Bedrock Digital, he received four applications for assistance. There are three key solutions which can transform the work of these charities, including customer relationship management systems. Kevin says: “This will help them manage their records about the people they engage with, which takes the weight of admin away, freeing up more time for other work. Dougie Pomfret is manager of Fit4Life, a not-for-profit social enterprise based in Maryport which offers specialist exercise and gym coaching for over50s with, or at risk of, serious conditions such as coronary heart disease, pulmonary disease, stroke, asthma and diabetes. He has had an initial consultation with Kevin and hopes that Bedrock Digital might allow Fit4Life to modernise and help more local people. Since Covid, active users of Fit4Life, which also has centres in Whitehaven and Workington, are down from 700 to around 350. “We need to update our website as it is out of date and difficult to navigate,” says Dougie. “We rely on health professionals referring in to us and a lot of them click on the website to find out what we do. “The main thing we hope to get through Bedrock Digital is a software package to manage all our data including customer payments and attendance logs. “At the moment we have paper registers, paper sign-ins and we have filing cabinets full of these. “If we want to collate data, such as for funding bids, we have to manually go through and upload to spreadsheets which is very time consuming. “If we can get to a situation where we have a tablet at each centre and a staff member can just upload straight to that then all of us can see the data from each centre live." A digital system could also flag up clients who drop out so staff can follow up and offer support and encouragement if they would like to continue, so boosting retention. Although Bedrock Digital is only just getting underway at the time of writing this report, Dougie hopes Fit4Life might benefit from both the advice and a grant to support change. “It would take a lot of the burden off and enable us to focus on achieving our mission rather than spending a lot of time on admin. We could focus on what we’re about – helping the people.” CASE STUDY: Fit4Life Started July 2022 16 organisations have received advice and support 9 grant awards made, total value £45,411 “It reduces organisational risk such as losing important papers and allows other members of the organisation who might be on the road or out in the community to have access to information.” Another transformational digital change is in communications, says Kevin, including email newsletters. “Instead of going out shaking a tin they can send newsletters helping the community to understand the work they are doing.” Up-to-date computers and software are also crucial for a charity to work efficiently. “I speak with the charity, then I can advise them on suitable affordable digital solutions which will work in their situation,” says Kevin. “I can also help after the purchase with getting up to speed with the new system and embedding it in their ways of working.” Bedrock Digital Grants to develop digital know how and service delivery Fitness for all: working out at Fit4Life specialist gym for over 50s