Getting Online Cyrenians


Charity registered in Scotland SC011052

Cyrenians' mission is to support people who are socially excluded through a number of services focussed around intervention, support, change as well as community building initiatives. Our services are grouped under four categories:

  1. Work and skills - We provide support for disadvantaged people in finding work and training opportunities. This is both through direct key work support as well as with in house training programmes.
  2. Home and housing - services focussed around helping people find a home or protect those at risk of losing their home
  3. Community and food - we provide services to individuals and charities related to the provision, growing and preparation of food.
  4. Family and people - We provide support to young people and families around conflict resolution, addiction recovery services supporting people who are in recovery through peer assisted programmes and a befriending service for older people who are living in isolation.
  • From 3rd April 2017 to 30th March 2018
  • Award: £9,983 via Call 4
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Project plan

Project description

The project will be embedded within Cyrenians current services working with people who are far from work and/or socially isolated. There are two components: 1) Facilitated courses in Digital Skills (4 blocks of 7 weeks) for a range of service users within the target groups - these will be tutor led and supported by 2/3 volunteers. 2) Intensive Course for over 50s - these would also be tutor led with volunteer support and run over one week targeted at a group of 8 over 50s jobseekers. All classes will run from Edinburgh venues. Longer term they will build these programmes into their ongoing provision through working with volunteers and intend to engage the tutor with volunteers as well as local students to help continue to deliver these courses on an ongoing basis. The project will be managed by their Learning & Work Manager.

Project milestones

Phase 1

Put out to tender for tutor - 31/3/17

Phase 2

Tutor in place - 13/4/17

Phase 3

Course content and delivery schedule signed off with tutor and services - 19/5/17

Phase 4

Equipment purchased - 19/5/17



I (Peter MacLeod) started work on the project on 28th May 2018. As detailed in the answers below, I've been visiting three Cyrenians Community Cook Clubs and teaching any attendees with an interest in learning digital skills.

The tutoring has been one-to-one (rather than in a group or class), since abilities and requirements have been different for everyone. I have made reasonably good progress with most attendees, with the majority attending regularly (at least 4 times in the first 6 weeks). Where appropriate I've tried to set goals both in what I'm delivering and what the attendees seek to achieve, and try to cover as many as the basic digital skills as possible. However, since most attendees have specific ideas about the skill area they want to develop, I've tried to be flexible and not too prescriptive. Also some attendees would probably have felt less comfortable or even intimidated by classroom style teaching. Using this flexible approach, allowing people to develop at their own pace, I hope to maintain their interest over the duration of the project.

In addition to the time spent tutoring, I also spend around 1 to 2 hours per week researching skills to teach, preparing simple teaching notes, and writing notes on what I've done with each attendee that week.

I hope to expand the reach of the project over the coming weeks, by starting tutoring at some of our activity groups for Older People in Edinburgh and West Lothian.

The project in the third quarter continued at the three venues in Edinburgh, as well as starting tuition for one of Cyrenian's OPAL groups (for over 60s) in West Lothian.

Numbers requiring tuition at the community cook clubs remained relatively low over the four months, but I was able to continue all of them until the end of the project, usually with between 2 and 5 people attending each week.

As noted in the previous report, the low numbers meant I was able to spend typically 30 to 45 minutes weekly with each attendee which meant we were able to cover subjects in detail.

The project will be embedded within Cyrenians current services working with people who are far from work and/or socially isolated. There are two components:

  1. Facilitated courses in Digital Skills (4 blocks of 7 weeks)

These courses will be tutor led and supported by 2/3 volunteers. Participants will come from these Cyrenians services; Good Food Programme working with people with history of homelessness and other issues who are far from work, Learning and Work employability services working with jobseekers with difficult histories including ex-offenders, Older People's Befriending - clients are elderly and isolated. Community Cook Clubs - we are setting up groups in local areas as follow on activity to our cooking classes at Good Food. Courses will be run from Good Food or the Cook Clubs around our lunch/evening cook clubs and we believe food will be the "hook".
6-8 participants will attend. The content of the course will include:
• Keyboard/mouse skills/navigating equipment (primarily laptops/tablets but some work with smart phones)
• Creating an online persona
• Basic online browsing and searching
• Using email
• Completing forms
• Uploading documents
• Finances online
• Shopping online
• Online diaries
• Being safe online
• Job search skills
• Help with DWP online activity

  1. Intensive Course for over 50s
    We would host a course to be run over one week targeted at a group of 8 over 50s jobseekers. This course would run as part of a wider programme supporting these people into work. It would include the above skills and would also include visits to community resources; e.g. libraries and using wifi remotely.
    Attendees would have 1-1 tutorials scheduled to address their specific needs. There will be plenty of 1-1 support available during the course. A tutor will lead supported by 2-3 volunteers.

Our digital work is delivered in partnership with: