InspireIT and DellTechUK shortlisted for the Tech for Good Award

Dell and Action for Children- Inspire IT

Organisations

Dell Technologies is a multinational technology company leading in digital transformation that drives business success. Dell Technologies is instrumental in changing the digital landscape the world over, fuelled by the desire to drive human progress through technology.

Action for Children is one of the UK’s leading children’s charity working to ensure that every child has a safe and happy childhood and foundations they need to thrive.

Our partnership

Action for Children and Dell Technologies have been working together for 10 years now to deliver our unique Inspire IT programme. Dell Technologies staff also volunteer their time to support our projects and organise a number of fundraising activities across the UK each year. Through our partnership, over the last 10 years that we have been working together we have raised almost £2 million.

The need

Many of the families and young people that we work with are disadvantaged and have low household income. These young people can often find themselves in digital isolation, leaving them feeling alone and unsupported. In the current economic climate, educators, local authorities and voluntary organisations are all trying to find ways to cut back on costs. This means moving their services online, leaving those who are already isolated, further away from the services that are vital to their wellbeing.

Our programme – Inspire IT

Inspire IT was created to address these issues, connect those in digital isolation to technology and give them a safe online space for learning, access to key services and social connection.
Through Inspire IT we provide:
·      Technology and training for children and young people
·      One to one support to the children and families at our Action for Children services
·      Personal educational plans after identifying the specific needs and barriers for each one of our beneficiaries
·       On-going support throughout and after completion of the programme

How it works

Through Dell Technologies2020 Legacy of Good plan, we receive significant annual funding and gift in kind equipment that enables us to deliver Inspire IT to more than 80 services across country. These include nurseries, children’s centres and employability services.

Inspire IT enables learning and signposting via our portal which currently includes sections like:
·       Our pre-employability Skills for Success toolkit which aims to provide young people with useful tips and information for successful job hunting, from career orientation to job search sites and interview tips.
·       Our money management skills aim to signpost our service users to useful websites where they can access advice about money saving tips, everything they need to know before they take a loan and what the best options for them are.

In the last year Inspire IT was also delivered to our mental health, parenting and employability programmes via outreach and mobile classrooms which use a variety of outreach venues in very remote locations.

More specifically, in 2019 Inspire IT has benefitted:
·      Our Youth Build Employability Service in Scotland which supports young people who have incredibly chaotic lives and who are often struggling to deal with a combination of chronic issues such as homelessness, being in the care system, mental health issues, gang membership, substance misuse and more.  Service users access Dell Technologies equipment to communicate and collaborate through social media, attend Skype interviews, take part in employability and parenting programmes and internet safety workshops.
·       Action for Children’s Separated Parents Information Program (SPIPs), a programme that helps parents handle the challenges of parenting after separation.
·       Our Blues Programme- a schools-based, 6-week preventative mental health course for teenagers aged 13-19 aiming to reduce the signs of adolescent low mood and negative thoughts and promote prevention. By providing IT equipment to the young people taking part in the programme, we support them to express and exchange opinions about mental health, learn how to safely access support online and how they can use technology for their benefit.

Constraints

The main constraints that we have had to face throughout the 10 years of the programme’s operation are mostly related to the fact that our beneficiaries live in remote communities, feeling very isolated and far from resources. Inspire IT addresses these issues by providing high tech equipment to help relieve isolation & aid in job searching, homework clubs, government benefit claiming and more. Also, we have always been extremely considerate of ensuring that our young people always remain safe when using our equipment. We therefore have a set of procedures and security systems in place that inform us when young people try to access inappropriate or dangerous/unverified websites, helping us always stay in control and ready to intervene when needed.

Impact and Measurement

Last year, Inspire IT reached more than 7,000 children and young people across the UK with 2,800 successfully completing the programme. It is estimated that over the 10 years that the programme has been operating more than 30,000 people have been reached.

Action for Children monitors progress of all the children and young people who attend our services to measure the impact and their support needs. Every month, Inspire IT programme managers are being reported to from the services which benefit from the programme.

The assessment focuses on the educational, employment and life skills benefits of the technology and is divided in the pre-assessment and post-assessment stage.

Our pre-assessment approach is a paper-based report with 10 questions usually completed by the parent, young person or child themselves where they are able to do so. This is supplemented by qualitative feedback from the support staff in the form of case studies or comments and testimonials from the parent, young person or child. We follow up with a post-assessment approach which mirrors the pre- assessment approach to ensure it accurately reflects the impact which the programme has had on the young people who have taken part in it.

Dell Technologies funding gives us the opportunity to make a huge difference to the children young people and families that we support; an opportunity which simply wouldn’t be possible without Dell Technologies commitment.