We do various forms of bespoke paid for training for all sorts of people in the third sector, government, housing associations and others, but every month we also give free help for local active citizens.
We organise a free social media surgery in Central Birmingham.
The aim is to help local community and voluntary organisations get free help to understand how social media can advance their cause. The help is provided free of charge by volunteer “surgeons”, many of whom have considerable experience of blogging and using tools like facebook, twitter and flickr.
We liase with the fine people at The Studio (who lend us the space for free) and organise things, plus turn up an help.
The surgeries are not for businesses, people who work in funded statutory bodies or politicians (bless them all anyway) . Instead they are volunteers helping volunteers, or voluntary groups.
The spread of surgeries
We started these in October 2008 alongside a whole group of friends from the Birmingham bloggers group. Now the idea has spread to more than 60 other places in the UK plus 5 other countries and they are organised through a site we’ve built to simplify running surgeries. They have also now formed part of our business, a way in which we help organisations develop their own skills, the skills of the people they work with and then keep track of the benefits of using social media in a civic way.
This month the 1,500th person signed up to for one of 71 social media surgeries established since 2008, nearly 400 of those are volunteering to share their skills, the rest from community groups and charities across the country.