Pauline Roche & Paul Webster keep the VCSSCamp ball rolling, but we do welcome offers of help and will work with local colleagues, typically those involved in a CVS, who want us to bring VCSSCamp to other locations.
In 2012, three of us (Pauline, Paul and Lorna), with a background in technology for good in infrastructure organisations, got together in Brewsmiths Coffee and Tea (sadly now closed) in Birmingham’s Livery St to organise the first VCSSCamp for June 2013. A few google docs, emails, skypes and phone calls (and much tea and cake) later we had an event planned!
The first one was so much fun, we decided we’d do two in 2014, the first in Birmingham and then a second in Barnsley. While we believe technology for good in infrastructure organisations is a national issue, we also accept the limitations of cost and the importance of regionalism.
So 2015 came around and we did it again. Firstly in Birmingham in June and then in November in London.
The current organisers are:
I am the Managing Director of RnR Organisation, a social enterprise supporting data informed programmes focussing on asset-based community development and tech for good, where I tweet as @RnRworks. For 3 1/2 years (to Sept 2015) I was contracted to run the Information and Communication function, including tweeting (as @_rawm), for the VCS infrastructure support organisation Regional Action West Midlands (RAWM) where I first came across Lorna Prescott and Paul Webster.
I believe in the importance of data for good and the use of data science for the voluntary sector and run the Twitter account @DatainBrum. I co-Chair Open Mercia, the Midlands open data users collective, and West Midlands Open Data Forum, an independent group which influences, advises and lobbies on issues relating to the release and use of public data by local government and other publicly funded services. I co-organise with Paul Webster Net Squared Midlands, free events for people interested in using web or mobile technology for social good. I’m Chair of the regional funders network WM Funders Network.
I attend social media surgeries in Birmingham, sometimes to get help, sometimes to give it. I am also a member and an associate of a women’s business networking organisation, Shakti Women, and have trained many members in the uses of digital tools and social media to improve their businesses.
I like talking with people about what I enjoy and find useful about using tech solutions, especially open source, and maybe demonstrating one or two things.
My favourite cake is carrot cake made with ginger and sultanas (preferably made by The Pantry in Kilkee in Co. Clare). You can get me on 0797 440 7017, RnR.Organisation@gmail.com and on Twitter @paulineroche and @RnRworks
I’ve worked in and around technology and voluntary sector organisations for almost 15 years. Probably the most eye-opening time was the 5 years at NAVCA helping local infrastructure organisations understand how they could use technology for good. I have been involved in projects that have supported organisations through all forms of technology including access to refurbished PCs & Laptops, Circuit Rider development, digital inclusion, social media and e-learning.
I work for Lasa on the Connecting Care project, supporting managers and staff in voluntary sector social care organisations and care homes to use technology for good. Also to discover how users and residents can make the most of the using Tablet PCs to enhance care and quality of life.
I deliver freelance training, coaching and support to CVSs, local support providers and other charities all over the UK, mainly in making the most of social media tools.
Together with Pauline Roche I jointly run Net Squared Midlands and in a voluntary capacity I am developing the network of similar face to face meet-up events in the UK and across Europe. I have run and taken part in a number of unconferences and helped at the first social media surgery in Birmingham back in 2008, a model I’ve continued to take around the UK. I’ve helped set up and supported surgeries with many CVSs and in coffee shops to festivals, and country shows and beaches to community halls.
If all that isn’t enough I’m also on the trustee board of Mansfield CVS.
It’s vital that organisations put people first and see how technology can fit around them, not the other way round and to not re-invent the wheel. If we all connect together, collaborate and share ideas, the ‘movement’ grows.
Infrastructure Organisations can be an part of the sector that gets overlooked, but play a vital role in linking together local activity and being a channel to both local government and national bodies. The use of digital technology can help this process and can help organisations be more effective and more efficient.
I want to see this event as an informal space where they can chat about the issues they face, the technology that is out there to help and how the two can come together.
I have been working and volunteering in the third sector for several years, in a number of roles and on a number of issues. I’m deeply passionate about both digital and the third sector. I believe that when used well digital can help you be more attractive to funders, engage your supporters, and improve efficiency. Which is why I bought these two areas of experience together to set up Fancy Guppy – an organisation helping not-for-profit organisations to make the most of digital to save the time and money.
Organisers we’ve worked with on previous VCSSCamp events are :
Kate White (London – November 2015)
I am responsible for managing Superhighways – Kingston Voluntary Action‘s ICT support and development project. I joined KVA back in 1999 as the sole project worker. Superhighways is now a team of 5, with over 10 regular volunteers and provides services benefitting organisations Londonwide.
My role is to deliver on our social and business objectives, essentially sustaining Superhighways through a mixture of grant funding and generated income, and developing new opportunities and projects to benefit the sector. I am a member of the London ICT Sub Group, London Circuit Riders Forum and the South London Staying Connected Consortium and contribute to the London ICT e-bulletin. Not the techiest of the team – I am particularly interested in information and communications and enjoy delivering training.
Prior to Superhighways I completed a Masters in Information Science and travelled and worked around the world. I have two young children to occupy my spare time – but like to fit in the odd game of badminton when I can!
Becky Pickin (Birmingham – June 2015)
I’ve been supporting people in Dudley borough to set up and develop charities, voluntary organisations, community groups and social enterprises since 2008. My work is total privilege; I love learning about and supporting the amazing work that our sector does, sometimes completely under the radar, with minimal resource and an abundance of passion.
My relationship with digital began at college and university and I’d describe myself as a DIY tinkerer, making a website using guesswork and basic html and communicating on early incarnations of social media.
It’s so lovely that those hours of tinkering between exams weren’t wasted! Over the past year or so I’ve been helping Dudley CVS and the organisations we support to share their stories, connect and collaborate using technology, particularly social media. I’ve recently set up a blog with colleagues to share the inspiring stories of people doing great work in Dudley and highlighting the ways we support it. You can read it at www.dudleycvsblog.com. I also co-tweet from @DudleyCVS. I love taking part in social media surgeries and how so easily we can help and be helped at the same time!
This is my first VCSSCamp and after hearing lots about it from my colleagues, I’m really looking forward to being involved.
Carolyn Ellis (Barnsley – November 2014)
I worked at an infrastructure organisation in Derbyshire doing a multitude of things including admin, information dissemination, training, development work and that bit in your job description that says ‘and anything else which may be required as part of your role’! This really did open my eyes to the wonderful world of the voluntary and community sector and all the work that goes into supporting communities.
I then went to work at NAVCA as the communications officer for the development team. This role gave a different perspective to the role of infrastructure organisations and allowed me to see how the organisations across England differed, but also their core similarities. I also met the very lovely Paul Webster at NAVCA which was ace and gave me the opportunity to see how technology can help organisations in a variety of ways.
And now, well I’m back working for an infrastructure organisation, but this time in Barnsley. I was born here and still have lots of family that live here so I know the area quite well. I am amazed at the passion the voluntary and community sector has in Barnsley and how they want to make things better for the people living in the borough. I also see how the staff at Voluntary Action Barnsley help and support the groups in a variety of ways.
I went to VCSSCamp for the first time a couple of years ago and was blown away by the enthusiasm and knowledge that was in the room. I met some lovely people (including Pauline), ate some lovely food and went back again earlier this year. After another wonderful day learning and sharing knowledge, information and cake preferences with people I spoke to Paul and Pauline about bring VCSSCamp up north and here we are!
My Twitter biography is right- I do love sleep, cake (all types!) and books, and I detest rudeness, bananas and Angel Delight (it truly is wrong on so many levels!). Get in touch with me on Twitter or email firstname.lastname@example.org and I look forward to meeting you all in November and having another inspiring and informative day!
Eileen Fielding (Birmingham – June 2014)
I’ve been working in the voluntary sector since 2000 when I joined Dudley CVS. Prior to that I’d been volunteering for 5 years as I couldn’t work, preceeded by working in the statutory sector and the NHS. I’ve always embraced and enjoyed technology, but as regards social media, I would describe myself as an enthusiastic amateur, having only taken the plunge in February 2013 so am definitely an entry level model in comparison with Pauline, Paul and Lorna, and their wealth of expertise in this area.
I was coerced into doing some blogging by a volunteer who set up my Operation Santa blog for me. He’d got a job so couldn’t find time to blog and suddenly I was dropped in the deep end, and it wasn’t too bad. In fact, I quite enjoyed it! From there I decided, after deliberation and much discussion with the same volunteer, to convert my static [and stagnant] website into a blog-based one www.volunteeeringcounts.org.uk With support from a social media savvy colleague I set up a Twitter account @Dudleyvols and the rest, as they say is history.
An integral part of my role is communicating with people, sometimes individuals and often groups or networks, and that’s what I love about social media, it’s so easy to share. I’ve met so many like-minded, fascinating and interesting people via social media, and gained so much knowledge. People can choose the platform they prefer to use – be it blogging, tweeting, Facebook or others – to interact and share. The only boundaries are time and your imagination.
VCSS Camp last year (2013) was my first ever Unconference and the informality of it was a real pleasure. The other big thing in its favour was the fact that the attendees were in control and could choose what they wanted to learn or share. I was flattered to be invited to be involved in this year’s VCSSCamp and just hope I live up to expectations.
My favourite cake is parkin, the stickier the better. Always reminds me of home and my Grandma, who made the best parkin in Lancashire! You can contact me on 01384 267414, email@example.com or on Twitter I’m @Eileenfielding2
Lorna Prescott (Birmingham – June 2013)
I’ve worked in infrastructure in Dudley since 2001 and was the first at Dudley CVS to start tweeting and blogging. My colleagues weren’t really interested at first (some still aren’t) , but I’ve been really inspired by a relatively recent interest and take up and in social media use by colleagues.
I’ve also been co-hosting social media surgeries in Dudley for 2 years. I think it will be great for people who are old hands, people who are new and getting in to the swing of things, and people who haven’t dipped their toes in very far to just come and talk about it all – share ideas and concerns and maybe even do some stuff while we’re there. I know from being involved in unconferences and things like Brewcamp that it really is worth taking a step back from the day to day to think about this stuff and learn from other people.