Trust to Bridge Gap Between Community and Tech Sectors
The Building Change Trust is excited to announce the launch of our new ‘Techies in Residence’ programme which will bring expertise and knowhow from Northern Ireland’s ever expanding tech sector to the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Sector.
Along with CultureTECH, who have been appointed as the managing agent for the programme, the Trust will work with community and voluntary sector groups and organisations across NI by funding expert technology placements, supported by the region’s tech sector.
These experts – or ‘techies’ - will work with groups to develop solutions to pressing social innovation challenges and help them continue to make a difference in people’s communities across Northern Ireland.
Digital Social Innovation has been on the rise across Europe, and the collaborations between the tech and digital sector and the VCSE sector resulting in innovative projects and excellent citizen engagement.
An example of this is MySociety whose key mission is to help people become more engaged in civic life and democracy through the medium of digital technology.
CultureTECH’s Connor Doherty, who will be managing the programme, said: “This project isn’t really about technology, it’s about innovation - bringing together smart, talented people from the tech sector and community sector to design and develop new ideas to tackle some really big problems.
“This can be huge for Northern Ireland and, we hope, will generate ideas and methods of working that can be applied across the globe”.
Paul Braithwaite, who heads up the Trust’s work in Social Innovation which includes Techies in Residence, said: “We at the Trust are really excited to be launching the Techie’s in Residence Programme.
“The Northern Ireland VCSE Sector has traditionally lagged behind other sectors when it comes to adopting and embracing technology to carry out its work.
“With this programme we not only want them to adopt technology but we want them to get in on the ground floor by innovating and inventing.
“We’ll be looking for tech companies to provide the solutions but we need community and voluntary groups, as well as social enterprises and charities to come forward with the problems.
“This programme is not just about redesigning a website or managing your Facebook page, it’s about identifying a problem and using technology to solve it”.
The programme kicks off with an open call for VCSE projects- the team are looking for ideas that could be addressed with technology and are keen to help develop and refine the projects before the techies get stuck in.
Once they have the techies in place there will be a bootcamp at the CultureTECH festival in September, kicking off the residencies of the techies. After a period of testing, the team hope to show the prototypes to potential investors, as well as offering mentoring and support throughout.