Tap into IT Where You Are:Overview
Who are We?
Tap into IT, as an organisation, commenced in early 2008, when Mike Ellis established it as a part-time, sole trader operation providing 1:1 computer tuition to people in their own homes. In early 2011, it became a full-time operation and by March 2012 had become a company limited by guarantee, operating as social enterprise - Tap into IT Where You Are Ltd. It is based at Mertoun Place, Edinburgh. A board was formed in early 2015. Staff soon followed with appointment of a Volunteer Co-Ordinator and a Administrator.
What we do
Our mission is “to help everyone (particularly older people) to get online, promoting social inclusion and benefiting all of us. We do this where people are - in their own homes or the places where they feel ‘at home’ in the local community. “
The following services are delivered primarily by paid Digital Support Workers.
Why these services are needed
Statistics show that 3.1 million over 65s do not even see friends, family or a neighbour once a week. The digital revolution over the last few decades has transformed the way we communicate and interact at all levels and creates new opportunities for people to stay in touch and involved. Despite that, 5.9 million UK adults (11%) had never used the internet in 2015. 3 million non-users - over half - are in the 75+ age group. Applied to Edinburgh (-population 486k) this means that over 53,400 adults are offline and approximately 26,000 of these are over 75. They are losing out personally, financially, health-wise and otherwise. Our service is helping to tackle the ‘digital divide’ and reduce isolation by enabling people to get online and in contact with friends and family through a service that is local, accessible, tailored to their needs and responsive to what they want.
Isolation can also breed mental health issues, and we believe that bringing older people to classes and club activities, encouraging social interaction and involving them in communal activity all help to counter such potential problems, boosting self-confidence and positivity and even having positive knock-on effects on both diet and levels of exercise.
Further, we are enabling people to remain independent through accessing the practical solutions that the web offers -ordering prescriptions online, downloading library books, catching up on TV at times convenient to the person, tapping into a whole new world of learning as well as opportunity to pick up on old interests in new ways.
Internet access can help financially, through access to better deals online, helping to counteract diminishing savings interest and decline in pensions value.
We believe passionately that the kind of basic training that we are providing needs to be made much more widely available and accessible to achieve the goal of digital literacy and digital inclusion for the over 53,000 people in Edinburgh who have never used the internet. It also has to be accompanied by effective, affordable ongoing support for people to stay online and build their digital skills.
Tap into It Target Users
1. 'Self-funding' customers who are likely to be retired/semi-retired people from social groups AB and Ci who are motivated to learn. They may have attended a course as part of a group but require more individual attention to become confident in using their particular equipment at home. Our remote support service fills a particular need for a friendly, reliable, responsive and affordable source of technical support as the need arises.
2. Social Landlords, Organisations, Businesses and Local/Central Govt who are
Staff and Volunteer Roles see Tap into IT Role descriptions and Volunteer agreement
The bigger picture
Directors and Staff
Board of 5 Directors + Members.
Bridget Stevens, Chairperson. Former Director of International Summer Programmes for Continuing Education at Edinburgh University, now retired. Bridget is very community-minded - e.g. she is Chair of South Edinburgh Arts Fair Association which organises the annual 'Spring Fling', designed to showcase the many opportunities which exist in this area for people aged over 50;also is on the Boards of the Eric Liddell Centre and Dig In Community Greengrocers in Bruntsfield. She is actively involved in local government, serving on various Councils & Committees e.g. Merchiston Community Council (-is former Chair). You can find out more online e.g. this Scotsman/Evening News article .
Mike Ellis, Executive Director is a former Social Work professional with 27 years experience, from the 'hands-on' to management of social care services for adults. His awareness of the needs of users in this field together with an understanding of the obligations and demands on Social Landlords and social care providers is invaluable. It has provided many networking opportunities and channels for referral of people who are likely to benefit from the services of Tap into IT.
Sheona Hall, Board member. A former Head of Learning Support at Firrhill Secondary School, Edinburgh. As well as relevant teaching experience including with people who have additional needs, she has been involved in staff support and training and strategy development and implementation. Sheona started with us as a Computer Club Volunteer. She is an excellent 'sounding board' as well as source of practical ideas for service development.
Moray Rumney, Board member. Moray works in electronics and mobile communications and was with Hewlett-Packard/Agilent Technologies for about 30 years, now with Keysight Technologies as Lead Technologist. He has been a Volunteer at the Gillespie Crescent club for nearly 2 years where he has already demonstrated substantial commitment to helping people get online.
Mamie Donald, Board member. Mamie set up Third Age Computer Fun for over 50's and developed a network of computer clubs around Edinburgh and further afield (including West Lothian and Falkirk). The charity wound up in 2015 but the clubs continue to run as independent groups, testimony to how well they were set up and how they are valued by their members.
Together the Board is responsible for strategic and financial planning, marketing and support.
Board:Members. Tap into IT is committed to involving service users in the strategy and development of the company as outlined in Tap’s Company ‘Articles of Association.’ Currently a working group comprising representatives from each of the computer clubs is looking at how we recruit ‘members’ and launch ‘membership’.
Staff of 2 (Managing Director, Administrator) together with Club Facilitators and Digital Support Workers paid on a sessional basis. 17 Volunteer Tutors who assist at the Clubs.
Mike Ellis, Managing Director is a former Social Work professional with 27 years experience (see above)
Administrator:new appointment pending, to start in January 2017.
Further info:see Company Articles of Association
More info on Services Offered
Beginner classes and a club are set up in each location supervised by a Club Facilitator/Tutor, supported by Volunteer Tutors.
Fees and Charges
Where Landlord or the organisation funds provision of the service, it is provided without charge to Tenants.
Club members from the local community who are not Tenants are asked to pay £3 per Club or £5 per beginner session.
1:1 services to people in their own homes:£30 per hour session.
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