Author Archives: Nathan Williams

  1. DesYIgning Digital Youth Services Course

    by Nathan Williams | 27th Jan 2022

    Description

    DesYIgning Digital Youth Services is a practical course that aims to empower third sector youth organisations in Wales to digitally transform services using the Service Design methodology.

    Over eight weeks, individuals or teams from organisations will be supported to design, test and develop new digital /hybrid services or rethink existing services.

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    newid

    During this programme you’ll:

    – Get the opportunity to solve a real-life challenge that your organisation is facing
    – Dedicate time and space to test out new ideas and approaches
    – Learn new things about your service users and their needs
    – Receive mentoring and guidance from digital experts
    – Learn how to develop digital services that are person-centred through using the Service Design methodology
    – Experiment with new digital tools
    – Gain access to the DesYIgn toolkit and resources

    Who is this course for?

    To register for this free course, you must work for a Welsh third sector organisation that delivers services for/with young people. 

    To ensure you get the best training experience, we would encourage two people per organisation to attend the course, although this is not essential. Each person needs to register individually.

    Participants must commit to 3-4 hours of learning per week over eight weeks.

    What’s the course format?

    This is an eight-week e-learning course, with approximately 3-4 hours per week of self-study and project work. You will be allocated new tasks each week that you can complete anytime during that week. There are two scheduled webinars, but everything else is flexible as long as your course work is completed within the eight weeks.

    Webinar dates:

    – Introduction Webinar – March 7th, 2-4pm
    – Closing Webinar – 28th April, 2-4pm
    This is a bilingual course* 

    Application process

    The application deadline is 18th Feb. Acceptance will depend on the number of applications and suitability. Applicants will be informed about the outcome of their application by 21st Feb.


    The eLearning course and materials were created by a partnership of youth practitioners from across Europe led by ERYICA with the support of the Erasmus+ programme in 2021.

    Welsh Government is funding the facilitation of the course through the Newid programme. Newid is a digital skills support and development programme for the third sector in Wales. It is a partnership between ProMo-Cymru, Wales Co-operative Centre and WCVA and supported by The Centre for Digital Public Services. We will be running further courses in May that will be made available to the wider third sector.

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    Have any questions, contact arielle@promo.cymru


    • *All materials developed for the course are available in both Welsh and English; however, we are not responsible for the language availability of any external reading or recommended resources. There will be a Welsh language course trainer available. We are currently testing offering this course as one, rather than separating it into Welsh and English, and we welcome contributions in either language. This is a participative course that encourages discussion between participants. If there are enough numbers, we will facilitate Welsh language discussion groups, but if numbers are low, and for you to benefit the most from group learning, we will facilitate mixed language groups that welcome contributions in Welsh or English. Our Welsh language trainer will be on hand to chat and translate your comments.



  2. Co-designing Reimbursement

    by Nathan Williams | 11th Jan 2022

    As a Social Enterprise, ProMo believes in the social value which comes from co-designing services with people. We believe that peoples’ lived experiences should be recognised and valued when co-designing better services. Recently we carried out a workshop with young people to discuss reimbursement for taking part in our Service Design and Co-Designed Digital Media work.

    ProMo works with public and third sector organisations to help them reach more people and deliver better digital services. To do this, we carry out what is often called ‘user research’ in digital design circles.  This means we speak with people to learn more about them and their needs. Sometimes we also show them a prototype of something we have made and see how they actually use it.

    When a project allows it, we often pay young people as freelance staff members to help with this process. This helps them gain work experience and be an active part of a project from beginning to end. We did this while supporting The Young People in the Lead Team, who researched the needs of young people for The National Lottery Community Fund. While for other projects, the young people prioritised the opportunity to get their voice heard, such as the ThinkAgain! video we co-designed with young people at YMCA Cardiff.

    Whilst conversations about what constitutes volunteering or paid work can often get confusing in charity governance, we were keen to hear what young people had to say.

    What Young People told us they value

    · Acknowledgement

    · Food

    · Opportunities to get involved in other things

    · Summaries of outcomes to show the value of participation

    · Free training

    · Free events

    · Training

    · Work experience

    · Certificates

    · Mental health and well-being support

    · Meaningful experiences

    · Visiting workplaces

    · Vouchers

    · Paid opportunities

    · CV help sessions

    Goolge Jamboard of 'What Young People told us they value'.
    Workshop Jamboard


    What we found out

    Workshop participants
    Youth workshop


    During our workshop, the young people identified that different levels of participation and commitment might mean different reimbursement levels. The young people understood that sometimes there would be budget constraints. They also understood that some projects might benefit more from volunteers or only take a few minutes, while others were better suited or needed to employ staff. We agreed on the importance of involving young people in the conversation about reimbursement when participating in activities with an intended social benefit. The young people were conscious that financial barriers can stop equitable access and that paying someone can give them the opportunity to participate. 

    Remember to ask


    We came up with a simple framework for organisations involving people when discussing reimbursement:

    If you have the budget = ask.

    If you don’t have the budget = ask.


    What are we going to do differently?

    We’re going to keep on involving young people and, where possible, employ them. This way, we can ensure genuine youth voice in our projects and allow many young people to gain their first chance at employment.

    One of the things that young people valued was seeing the outcome of their involvement. Some young people told us they had participated in various consultations or co-production activities, but almost none had heard about the difference their contribution made. We’ll now be ensuring that we inform all people who take part in our projects about the outcomes. This is a simple change that we hope will positively affect participation and empower more people to change things for the better.


    Work with ProMo


    If you would like to talk to us about Service Design email: nathan@promo.cymru

  3. Mind Our Future

    by Nathan Williams | 26th May 2021

    Since early 2020, a team of young people have been working with The National Lottery Community Fund. Their role was to identify how National Lottery funding can make the most positive impact for young people in Wales. This has led to the creation of the £10 million Mind Our Future grant programme which opens today. 

    The development team included ProMo Cymru and Ministry of Life who worked with The National Lottery Community Fund and the young people. The research uncovered key priorities for young people.

    A snapshot of these include:

    · Access to quality support for their mental health and wellbeing

    · A public voice and role in decision-making

    · Their future – particularly employment opportunities and access to housing

    · The Arts – concerns around the impact of COVID 19 on theatre, music, and film 

    The full report is available here
    The funding launch information is available here

  4. Young People in the Lead Survey

    by Nathan Williams | 22nd Oct 2020

    We’ve launched a survey asking what’s important to young people and what changes you want to see in Wales. We are asking these questions to better understand the priorities of young people in Wales.

    The survey has been created by the National Lottery Community Fund in Wales Young People in the Lead team. We’re being supported by ProMo-Cymru and Ministry of Life. 

    Your answers will be used by the National Lottery Community Fund to help create a new funding programme for 2021, which will award grants for projects supporting young people in Wales.

    We’d love to hear from you.

    From the Young People in the Lead team.

    Welsh Survey

    English Survey

  5. Black Lives Matter

    by Nathan Williams | 4th Jul 2020

    ProMo-Cymru believes that Black Lives Matter.

    ProMo has worked with numerous young black people; they have helped shape our organisation. Black young people now need our help and that of all other charities and social enterprises to dismantle systemic racism.

    What we do

    We run national and local charitable projects that support young people, and we work with and engage BAME young people.

    At ProMo, we carry out a lot of digital and design work and ensure that images we use and design are representative of the diversity of Wales. We involve young people in designing some of this digital content and ask them their opinion on our content.

    We work with partner organisations who serve BAME communities and are proactively supporting them with digital solutions to strengthen their work. These organisations do vital work, but it is the responsibility of us all to examine our actions in ending racism.

    We are members of Race Alliance Wales.

    What we will do

    Our staff are from diverse backgrounds, but we will ensure we do more to reach and support BAME people who are trying to work in charities and the creative sectors.

    We will give time and space for staff members to discuss and learn how we can do more as individuals and as an organisation.

    There is more that we can do and we will document our journey in examining our own actions and how we work towards dismantling racism.

  6. Increasing Energy Efficiency At The EVi

    by Nathan Williams | 15th Feb 2019

    ProMo-Cymru is pleased to announce that we have received £32,523 funding from the Landfill Disposals Tax Communities Scheme. This is a Welsh Government fund programme managed by WCVA.

    We will be improving energy efficiency at the EVi increasing the local biodiversity and involving the community through volunteering and sharing what we learn.   

    The EVi

    EVi is ProMo-Cymru’s landmark community venue that provides a programme of creative activities, learning and social enterprise developments. It is home to a variety of third sector organisations including Barnardo’sBlaenau Gwent Youth ServicesLlamauLeeders Vale, Careers Wales and Learn About Us.   
     
    Over 5000 people a month visit the EVi, with a wide variety of uses and users for this community building. Reducing energy usage in a large building like the EVi creates major savings and helps reduce our carbon footprint. 

    External view of the EVi for Energy Efficiency article

    Improving the building

    This year marks the 170th year of the EVi. It’s been over a decade since ProMo-Cymru took over the running of the building. When we originally moved in, we knew that it needed a lot of work to improve the fabric of the building. From the very beginning we worked with the future in mind. We installed two state of the art ground heat pumps to make heating more efficient. Thanks to this fund, we will soon be implementing a number of other energy saving features. We will also be involving the community as volunteers to help increase biodiversity around the building.

    Energy efficiency and cost-saving may not sound very exciting to those using the building, but it is very important to all that goes on in the EVi. This behind the scenes work allows the EVi to continue to support the local community. Over the next year we will be asking volunteers and staff at the EVi to share what makes it such a special place to work and play. We are also excited to get the young people who use the building to share what they’re doing. We will broadcast everything over our digital channels. This ensures that everyone gets to see the work that ProMo-Cymru and community does to develop sustainability in Ebbw Vale.


    This is a WCVA supported project made possible through the Landfill Disposals Tax Communities Scheme.

    If you’re interested in hiring facilities at the EVi then check out the EVi website to find out more.

  7. Listening To The Views Of Tenants

    by Nathan Williams | 25th Oct 2018

    ProMo-Cymru is happy to be working on two new projects with leading Welsh housing associations and their tenants. We will be working with Cadwyn and Merthyr Valleys Homes. Their core aims mirror ProMo-Cymru’s values and work to engage, communicate and put users at the centre of services through conversation and digital transformation.

    Housing Associations across Wales are currently reviewing how they engage and involve tenants. This is against the continued backdrop of austerity and the significant pace of digital change. Mike Owen, the CEO of Merthyr Valleys Homes, spoke passionately in a recent article about the impact of austerity on families suffering from hunger this summer.

    His call to prioritise people over policies is one we hope to reflect in our work together. ProMo-Cymru will identify what tenants most value in their interactions with Merthyr Valleys Homes. We will use these conversations to outline how this social value can be strengthened.

    The voice of the people

    ProMo-Cymru believes that the best way to communicate with people is through putting their voice at the centre of services. Our work with Cadwyn, their tenants and staff aims to do this while drawing on the extensive experience of all involved. From the outset of this work, we have seen the benefit of the open approach to learning taken at Cadwyn. They empower their staff to share positive and negative experiences.

    Cadwyn is seeking to use digital transformation and scrutiny to make their services more responsive to tenants needs. This process has already started through their adoption of an app. This aims to make social housing match tenants expectations of a 21st-century service. It is also reflected in their staff attitudes to digital transformation with Neil Tamplin IT Officer at Cadwyn being named as one of the Inside Housings Top Tech Leaders 2018.

    Strengthening services

    Through our work in engagement and communication, we will be working with tenants to ensure that their voice is heard. From our conversations, we’ll review and make recommendations to simplify complex systems that sometimes get in the way of the user.

    We look forward to carrying out this work to benefit tenants and our clients. The learning from these projects will also continue to strengthen our services supporting and empowering young people, families and communities.

    If you would like to speak to ProMo-Cymru about engagement, communication and digital transformation, please contact nathan@promo.cymru.

    Everything starts with a conversation

    Tec model for digital youth work article

    ProMo-Cymru works towards building positive change and lasting relationships between individuals, families and communities. Providing innovative and creative solutions through meaningful conversations and digital technology. If you’d like to discuss how our TEC Model can help your organisation then get in touch.

    029 2046 2222
    info@promo.cymru
    @ProMoCymru

  8. Developing Digital Youth Work

    by Nathan Williams | 27th Apr 2018

    ProMo-Cymru is working with young people to develop digital youth work and digital youth information in the UK.

    We have been awarded funding by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation to develop a best practice model in digital youth work. ProMo-Cymru will examine how to further digitally enhance traditional youth work in order to support lifelong health, learning and active citizenship. By working with other organisations and breaking down silo thinking, we believe that Wales can become a leader in digital youth work.

    Our digital developments

    ProMo-Cymru has been at the forefront of digital development through its work with young people. This started with the development of theSprout, an online magazine for young people in Cardiff that’s celebrating its 10th year anniversary in 2018. This development pioneered a digital approach to youth information, engagement and participation. The work then fed into our development of Meic, the helpline service for children and young people in Wales, and FamilyPoint Cymru, providing information for families in Wales.

    This funding from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation will help us to develop digital youth work. Taking what we have learnt from our projects, and learning best practice from others, we will co-produce cutting-edge methods of digital engagement with young people and share this across sectors. We will also continue our links with the European Youth Information and Counselling Agency (ERYICA). This will allow us to gain further knowledge from other countries and input back into this influential European network.

    Understanding the sector

    ProMo-Cymru ensures that we place the voice of users and communities at the core of our work. Innovation and working digitally can help people and organisations to co-produce better services. We understand the pressures on other youth, third sector and statutory provisions. We know how services can suffer in the face of reduced budgets. However, through mutual co-operation and digital innovation, we can work to break down barriers to participation.

    If you are are interested in supporting us with developing our model of digital youth work or in any aspect of how digital change impacts your work, then please get in touch on info@promo.cymru or call 02920 462222.


    If you are interested in the work we do here at ProMo-Cymru then take a look at our other articles in the News section.


    Everything starts with a conversation

    Tec model for digital youth work article

    ProMo-Cymru works towards building positive change and lasting relationships between individuals, families and communities. Providing innovative and creative solutions through meaningful conversations and digital technology. If you’d like to discuss how our TEC Model can help your organisation then get in touch.

    029 2046 2222
    info@promo.cymru
    @ProMoCymru

  9. Messaging Apps & Community Engagement

    by Nathan Williams | 3rd Nov 2017

    Should you ditch email and just WhatsApp your clients and service users? We look at how the third sector can use messaging apps to engage communities.

    Third sector and community groups routinely use Facebook and Twitter to engage with their communities, which we think is great. However, it is important to routinely assess the most effective social media platforms for engaging with the people we serve. Also, we must not feel bad about abandoning platforms that are now ineffective. A recent Reuters News report has highlighted the importance of social messaging apps. In this article, we discuss what that means for community engagement.

    WhatsApp with messaging apps?

    The majority of us will be familiar with social messaging apps. Billions of people around the world regularly use services such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Snapchat. And let’s not forget the oldest social messaging app of all: text message.

    The advantages of these services are that they allow people to create their own trusted private networks. This can be with friends, family, colleagues or other communities of interest. Also messaging apps help to avoid some of the privacy pitfalls that come from using traditional social media.

    "The benefits are increased engagement when compared to email and traditional social media." for Messaging Apps article

    Once there was an emphasis on having an app for everything. Now the prevalence of social messaging services has made it more important to have a strategy to exist across all social messaging platforms. The benefits are increased engagement when compared to email and traditional social media.

    “Messaging is one of the few things that people do more than social networking.” Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook.

    An example of a third sector organisation that engages people in its work through the use of Whatsapp is Doctors Without Borders. WhatsApp has allowed them to tell stories directly from conflict zones with speed and a feeling of immediacy not found in other communications such as email.

    Another more advanced example comes from Charity: Water. They now take donations through an automated piece of software called a bot on Facebook Messenger.

    No signal?

    Third sector and community organisations have generally been slow to adapt to these new messaging services. One of the reasons for this is that many associate these apps with the mobile phone instead of the computer, which we still use for the majority of our day-to-day work. ProMo has previously highlighted a useful programme called Franz that allows you to run your social messaging apps through your computer. This makes dealing with multiple platforms and typing a lot easier.

    "Ask your community how they would like to interact" Messaging Apps

    There is also the problem with becoming familiar with certain platforms. It has taken some time, but third sector organisations generally know the basics of using Facebook and Twitter and that everyone else uses them. However there can be an assumption that these platforms must be OK for their needs and their communities.

    What works for your community?

    As we said at the start of the article, it is important that you understand what works best for your community. If it is email, great. If it is Snapchat, brilliant. You should ask your community how they would like to interact. You should also remember that these platforms can act as a way to become a digital community anchor, ensuring your organisation’s continued relevance in peoples’ everyday lives. The community, not the platform is the priority.


    Everything starts with a conversation

    ProMo-Cymru works towards building positive change and lasting relationships between individuals, families and communities. Providing innovative and creative solutions through meaningful conversations and digital technology. If you’d like to discuss how our TEC Model can help your organisation then get in touch.

    029 2046 2222
    info@promo.cymru
    @ProMoCymru

  10. Why Accessibility Matters To Everyone

    by Nathan Williams | 21st Sep 2017

    ProMo-Cymru is helping charities find digital solutions to better communicate with users.

    We’re currently working with two charities that aim to increase the accessibility of their digital services and reflect the needs and voice of disabled people. We’ll shortly be showcasing this work.

    In this post, I’d like to share what I learnt through working with these charities and their users. Mainly how good design is important for everyone, and how it helped me.

    "Good design is important for everyone" accessibility infographic

    As part of developing new digital services for these organisations, we spoke to a range of users to understand how they used digital platforms. Their biggest frustration was the same as mine. Namely with badly designed services.

    Yet the outcome for this group was that they often had to work harder to access services. This was especially true when online access points were poor. This could result in having to undertake complex travel arrangements to meet service representatives in person. Sometimes it meant having to wait long periods of time so that arrangements could be put in place to meet their needs.

    Screen readers and text to speech apps

    What became clear is how services other than the government and the third sector are innovating to ensure online accessibility. One person I spoke to gave me a quick tutorial in how he used the accessibility settings on his iPhone. He showed me how an iPhone can read almost anything on the screen to you, as well as other functions. This was one of the most effective demonstrations that I’ve sat through. It took three minutes and has improved the quality of my life.

    It took three minutes and has improved the quality of my life - Photo by Raul Petri on Unsplash

    The demonstration was a revelation because I suffer from an eye condition. It means I have to wear contact lenses rather than glasses to correct my vision. Without contacts reading is somewhat of a struggle. Trust me glasses don’t help.

    I’m a prolific reader. To feed my habit I sometimes stay up late reading. Yet I have to take my contacts out before I go to bed. The upshot of this iPhone demonstration was that I could have written online content read to me. This means I could take my contacts out and go to bed earlier. Waking up for my 6am start has become a little bit easier.

    Good online accessibility makes services easier to use for everyone

    Before seeing the accessibility software on iOS (and an alternative on Android called Pocket), the software I had seen used in the statutory and third sector was a bit dated. It was also hard to use and I couldn’t see myself using it. Experiencing audio reading has also given me an understanding of how badly-optimised websites can make text translation difficult to comprehend.

    "Accessibility software I've seen used in the statutory and third sector is a bit dated and hard to use" infographic for accessibility article

    From talking to people about their experience using online services, I’ve learnt that accessibility means that using services becomes easier for everyone. And through listening to other people’s voices we are able to strengthen our own.

    Everything starts with a conversation

    ProMo-Cymru works towards building positive change and lasting relationships between individuals, families and communities. Providing innovative and creative solutions through meaningful conversations and digital technology. If you’d like to discuss how our TEC Model can help your organisation then get in touch.

    029 2046 2222
    info@promo.cymru
    @ProMoCymru

    Cover Photo by Drew Graham on Unsplash