Brighton Magazine

The Brighton Magazine

Selected Brighton Magazine Article

Saturday 03 October 2020

Brighton Covid Loneliness Project Pioneers Up For National Award As Charity Puts Out Call For Local Volunteers

Two Brighton-born digital companies are celebrating a joint nomination for a national award in recognition of their pioneering support for local loneliness charity, TogetherCo during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Selfie videos for the workplace specialists StoryTagger and corporate learning business Kineo are in the running for winning the Best UK Public & Non-Profit Sector project award at the international Learning Technologies Awards in London early next year, alongside a prestigious shortlist that includes the Royal College of Anaesthetics and the UK's College of Policing.

StoryTagger and Kineo came together during lockdown to help Together Co scale up its befriending service for vulnerable people in Brighton & Hove, by offering free access to their technology platforms and know-how.

Together Co works with a wide range of volunteers, aged 14-80, who spare an hour or more a week to support people struggling with social isolation and loneliness.

The COVID-19 pandemic had caused a surge in demand for the charity's services, with a year's worth of referrals received in the first four months of 2020, as well as a surge in volunteers. 

As the charity was restricted to telephone befriending and facing a high volume of doorstep deliveries, it needed to significantly change the way it delivered support to local people, while training up over one-hundred volunteers at speed on how to operate safely and effectively.

Getting new volunteers up-and-running via 1-2-1 web or phone calls was too time-consuming in a crisis, and attempts to deliver training via Zoom were unsuccessful - synchronising timings was difficult and many volunteers missed their slots.

Emily Daniel, Operations Lead at Together Co, explained:

"Our volunteers make a huge difference to people experiencing severe isolation in Brighton & Hove. 

"With the pandemic heaping extra pressure on the most vulnerable, we needed to recruit and train a huge number of new volunteers fast. 

"We not only had to change the way we trained our volunteers, but the way we provided support to isolated people. 

"Before COVID-19, befriending was largely done face-to-face, but volunteers had to switch to providing social and emotional support and public health guidance via phone, as well as practical help with shopping. Kineo and StoryTagger helped us to make this urgent operational shift."

Kineo introduced Together Co to StoryTagger, enabling the charity to plan and self-film a series of videos covering all essential aspects of support in less than 48 hours. 

The videos were set up as a playlist on YouTube, accessible not only to Together Co's volunteers but also to loneliness charities across the UK. 

Kineo supported the videos with an interactive quiz and an e-learning platform to test that volunteers were support ready.

StoryTagger CEO, Cheryl Clemons said:

"Together Co were able to film important training content in a series of short, focused videos from the comfort of their homes without the need for a film crew, giving the charity a very personal and efficient way of inducting a huge portfolio of volunteers. 

"The usual time spent on training was halved, while the number of trained volunteers tripled. 

"Most importantly, volunteers were equipped to help isolated people faster and more safely. 

It would have taken trainers weeks to accomplish this face-to-face which wasn't feasible in a crisis."

User-generated videos are a relatively new training tool here in the UK but Covid-19 has meant organisations having to rethink how they operate and train their people.

If you are feeling alone, worried about money or other issues, or are interested in becoming a Together Co volunteer, visit www.togetherco.org.uk

by: Mike Cobley




Share    

Credit Andy Sturmey

Brighton four-piece Black Honey feel now is the time for the next instalment of their story – ‘Written & Directed” – which sees the band deliver one, very singular, message – a ten track mission statement that aims to unashamedly plant a flag in the ground for strong, world-conquering women. 

Hayley Ross is trading her dreamy south-coast trademarks for a darker, rootsier palette of sounds on her forthcoming EP.

What would you do if you could relive your birthdays and have your childhood back? In Mark Roland Langdale's new book, The Toy Museum, one man journeys back in time to regain some happiness and joy in life.

Blondie's Debbie Harry, Chris Stein and Clem Burke will be offering up Brighton a double female-fronted band tour when they take to the road with the Shirley Manson fronted Garbage. next year.
Credit Helmut Newton

Helmut Newton: 100 Years will be celebrated later this month on what would have been the late photographer's birthday. 

Brad Hanson and Sam Hughes from Littlehampton are collectively known by over one million fans online as The Bald Builders, a duo who in true Del Boy style, made a million, lost a million and now look to rise from the ashes once more and support a cause very close to their hearts. 

Fabrica, Brighton's Centre for Contemporary Art, has issued an open call for artists to submit work to be displayed in the large scale window of the city centre art gallery.
Credit Michael Carter

The Ocean Film Festival World Tour is bringing a brand-new collection of ocean-themed films to Brighton front rooms this October and November, in its first ever virtual edition.

Hailing from both sides of Hadrian's Wall, yllwshrk are more at home in classical concert halls than the Camden dive bars, and more accustomed to bows and mallets than the amps and synths of the alt-rock scene.

Mirrored is the new single from Southern-based Taurian, an intriguing new musician who fuses industrial & hard rock influences with trip-hop & electronica atmospherics to create an original sound.

A Sussex resident fought through her disability, undertaking a 29-mile walking challenge—the equivalent distance of all three of the UK's tallest peaks combined: Ben Nevis at 11.5 miles; Snowdon at 9.5 miles and Scafell Pike at 8 miles—to raise vital funds for Bliss, a UK charity for babies born prematurely or sick.
Credit Penelope Fewster

Charleston, in East Sussex, once the home and country meeting place of the Bloomsbury Group, is preparing to open its doors to the public again in spring 2021 with an Art Happens crowdfunding campaign in which every donation towards the target will be doubled thanks to match funding from loyal supporters.

Waiting for a long-haul flight from Western Australia to London might seem like hell to some but it has led to the new single, Killing Time, by Brighton singer Laura Mitchell.
Credit Andy Sturmey

Thanks to vital support from Arts Council England's (ACE) Culture Recovery Fund, Brighton Dome will be able to adapt its historic venue to comply with new regulations to allow live performances to commence again. 

Organising a conference or event in Brighton?
See our Brighton Conference section.
Brighton web design by ...ntd