May 25, 2015 : Sally Dyson

DigiScotFest on tour

Reflections on our journey around the country to talk about digital participation

Over the last two months we’ve taken ourselves, our programme and most importantly our eyes and ears to some of the more remote areas in Scotland.  Last year, when we launched SCVO’s Digital Participation programme in Edinburgh we made a commitment to get out and about as far as we possibly could. Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles were the areas we chose to visit this Spring.

Along with colleagues from partner organisations Citizens Online, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the Royal Society of Edinburgh, members of the team had a fantastic time in all three areas. Sharing some of our findings, getting involved in brushing up on our own Basic Digital Skills and most importantly listening to the challenges faced by our more remote communities.

We know that broadband coverage and speed isn’t always as good as some parts of the mainland – however we were delighted that the majority of the focus at the events was on what could be achieved in the current climate. It could have been so easy to have a good moan, but the can-do attitude we found was really inspiring.

So, what did we find out:

  • There’s a really thriving network of people and organisations supporting the development of basic digital skills with a real appetite for driving digital as far as possible
  • There are some innovative working practices from larger companies which we’re keen to explore the extent of
  • Facebook has quite a significant presence for communicating about local activity
  • There’s huge overlap between digital participation for people and charities and for small businesses – with all of us facing many of the same challenges
  • People are really imaginative when it comes to finding hooks to getting others involved – from local history to making movies, and everything in between
  • Great hospitality, weather and cake!

Across all of our events a key feature has been just how many names and numbers are scribbled down, or business cards thrust in our hands or swapped. These new contacts made, or re-made are just as important a feature as  the learning which takes place.

We’re going to spend a wee while reflecting as a team on everything we’ve learned before we embark on further adventures.

Two things to be sure of – we’ll be looking to bring people together for a networking event in autumn and The Gathering in February (we’re already planning).

Important: Opinions expressed by bloggers are their own and don't represent those of the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations.

by Sally Dyson