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Regional body boosts digital adoption


Sep 7, 2021

A regional body that supports charities, voluntary groups and social enterprises of all shapes and sizes has committed to delivering an ambitious programme to boost digital adoption for the benefit of the sector.

Voluntary Organisations’ Network North East (VONNE), a membership organisation that works to strengthen the region’s Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector, is part of a cross-sector partnership delivering Digital Pathfinders, a £2 million programme offering comprehensive digital support to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), charities and businesses with a social purpose across Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland.

Part funded by the North of Tyne Combined Authority and Digital Catapult, VONNE, which is also among 15 national champions of the Charity Digital Code, is working alongside Generator and Steam Digital to offer a huge variety of training workshops and bespoke one-to-one support to organisations looking to increase their productivity and performance by using digital technology.

Whether an organisation wants to improve its reach, become more efficient, more technologically robust or design better services, a team of Digital Pathfinders experts is on hand to discuss the obstacles they face and identify solutions. So far, the extensive calendar of events, all of which are free as part of the programme, includes workshops on understanding and using data; how to reach a more diverse audience by creating accessible online content; and how to train your staff and volunteers to use digital tools.

VONNE’s Deputy CEO Anne Fry, who is the organisation’s Digital Lead, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has shown just how important it is for organisations to invest in digital, but it can be difficult to know where to start.

“Digital Pathfinders recognises that and has been designed to help organisations identify and break down their specific barriers to adoption, whether financial, practical, or to do with team confidence, and find their own path to what works for them, giving them a foundation upon which to build.

“We’re proud to be part of the programme and hope the expert-led events we’ve created, and our professional support, will not only help as many organisations as possible to begin their digital journeys, but create a positive ripple effect that will benefit the VCSE community as a whole.”

SMEs, charities and social enterprises can register for free and see the full calendar of upcoming events at digitalpathfinders.uk.