Roger Darlington is a member of the Online Centres Foundation board. Here he guest-blogs about the recent Technology4Good Awards.
A few days ago, in my capacity as a Non-Executive Director of the Online Centres Foundation, I attended the Technology4Good Awards at the BT Centre in central London. It was the second such event and, as last time, it was admirably hosted by the media presenter Mariella Frostrup.
This year, there were around 200 entries with 24 shortlisted and eight winners. The first award to be presented, the Community Impact Award, was sponsored by Microlink and UK online centres, so the latter’s Chief Executive Helen Milner was on the stage for the presentation. Runners up were Riots Clean Up and On Road Media, but the winner was the Stroke Survivors Group which is actually a member of UK Online Centres.
The Stroke Survivors Group meet each week in Paignton library working at their own pace using the Go On online website and other websites and programmes. The library has only been open one year and is a fantastic community resource. This project started with one person – Colin – who plucked up the courage to attend a computer course after surviving more than one stroke and we have seen his drive and vision result in opening up new horizons not just for himself but for many others too.
In association with the library and the Stroke Association, a weekly group was set up and has proved to be a great success. As the first support group of its kind, this groundbreaking project is creating user-led models of good practice that can be adapted to other community and/or clinical settings around the country. Colin understands this and is now determined to push for this model to be rolled out nationally. His vision is to develop partnerships between the Stroke Association, UK online centres and local communities to set up similar groups to aid the recovery of stroke survivors around the country.
The Stroke Association Coordinator says that this group, in addition to its role in developing computer literacy, is having a profound and positive effect on stroke survivors communication and sense of ’belonging’ in the community. Recovering from a stroke is not just about learning to talk and walk again; it is about wellbeing, community, and building belief and confidence in individuals in order that they can see and re-build a future after a devastating event.
Members of the Stroke Survivors Group enjoying a spot of lunch to celebrate winning the Community Impact Award.
From left to right: Doreen, David, Charlotte, Susan and Liam.
On personal note, I was delighted to see The Stroke Survivor Group win this award because my mother suffered very badly from a stroke and I know the devastation that it can cause.
You can access the Group’s current web site here.