Exmoor Community Computer Centre – Business Development Plan. To develop and implement a Business Plan for the future organisation and delivery of existing and improved services at the Centre.
ABOUT THE PROJECT
Project Objectives: Our partnership with the Porlock Tourist Association seeks to fulfil a number of objectives for the community of Porlock.
To help develop sustainable tourism and reinforce a local identity a Community Facilitator post has now been created to support and enhance the provision of services for visitors and residents by the Porlock Visitor Centre. Within this building is the small Lovelace Computer Centre, a former RATIO project venue, which has been dormant for a number of years due to lack of funding and limited number of computers – only 4. The Community Facilitator will assist in the regeneration of the Lovelace Centre, re-establishing the venue as an important community resource.
The Exmoor Community Computer Centre has now activated the regeneration process by running two programmes of free computer training at Porlock, to help overcome exclusion, skills gap and barriers to participation. A local training needs analysis was undertaken and from this a range of computer training workshops devised. The response to the free ICT training has been even more enthusiastic than anticipated. Thirty three individual learners enrolled on the first round of training (January to March) – a maximum of 8 per course, allocated on a first-come-first-served basis – and many courses were over-subscribed.
The second programme (May to July) attracted another 16 new attendees as well as 14 returners. The courses were enthusiastically publicised, and also attended, by members of the parish council and village hall committee, highlighting the importance of partnership working, and played a major part in participation.
Now that the Community Facilitator has been in post for 4 months great progress is being made in opening up the Lovelace Centre to provide greater access for local residents and visitors alike. Drop-in casual computer use and internet access is extremely popular and increased awareness of the facilities on offer attracts a steadily growing number of users. One-to-one beginner’s sessions and family history tuition have also begun, contributing a modest revenue stream with potential to generate greater fee income. Opportunities have also been realised for hire of the facilities by outside agencies which will also contribute to the sustainability of the Lovelace Centre.
Within the Project remit is funding for two further programmes of outreach provision conducted by ECCC. Training is now underway at Sampford Brett where thirty individual learners have enrolled on a variety of courses, mostly internet-related topics as the Parish Council and Village Hall Committee were encouraged to re-subscribe to broadband provision for the Village Hall.
And finally, the Rural Renaissance funding has enabled us to commission the services of a Financial Consultant to draw up a business/sustainability plan for ECCC and assist in identifying and applying to alternative revenue funding streams on the Centres’ behalf. As a result, in July we were awarded funding from the Lloyds TSB Foundation to facilitate the development of our outreach programme and we are currently beginning an exciting diversification project for our training delivery.