Techies in Residence - The Chosen Few
Techies in Residence is a Building Change Trust initiative aimed at enabling the VCSE sector to develop and adopt innovative digital technology solutions to specific social challenges.

Techies in Residence - The Chosen Few

30 July 2015

The time has come to announce the organisations that will be proceeding to the next stage of the Techies in Residence Programme.

After a rigorous selection process, which attracted nearly 40 entries from organisations from across the VCSE (Voluntary, Community & Social Enterprise) sector, we’ve selected the organisations which are going to be working with techies on their projects.

Following the interview and selection process, a total of 6 projects, with 7 organisations represented will be going forward to the next phase where they will be ‘matched’ with a tech expert. We feel that these are all exciting, and potentially impactful projects that can have impacts not just in the work of individual organisations but in the VCSE sector, and in Northern Ireland and beyond.

The projects that will be involved in the “In Residence” part of Techies in Residence are:

Aware Defeat Depression

Aware Defeat Depression have been helping in the fight against depression in Northern Ireland since 1996. The organisation coordinates 20 support networks around the country, as well as encouraging people to talk openly about their mental health and access support appropriate to their needs.

Through Techies in Residence, they hope to come up with a way of growing their “Mind Matters” programme - a school based course delivered to students. They want to investigate how they can get this to a larger audience and have an impact beyond Northern Ireland.

Colin Glen Trust

A charity set up to transform an interface area in Belfast, they have developed a thriving park, which has won Green Flags. As well as the park, they deliver a massive education programme, impacting over 5,000 students every year, and youth empowerment programmes which have helped over 500 young people gain training qualifications.

The Trust want to develop the park and add new services, and have hit upon the idea of using virtual reality to develop a new, inclusive attraction, that can help kids in the area feel ownership of, as well as being a unique tourist draw to the park.


Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action is the umbrella organisation for the community and voluntary sector in Northern Ireland, helping their members lobby and campaign for their interests. Through Techies in Residence, they want to develop a definitive database and overview of the Northern Ireland community and voluntary sector that can be used by both NICVA and the rest of the sector.

This will complement and enhance NICVA’s ongoing work around open data through the Detail Data project.

Now Group

NOW is a social enterprise that works to help people gain qualifications and life/work experience and support them to move into jobs with a future. Their work is about social inclusion and leads to people having better health, education and a brighter future.

Through Techies in Residence, they want to investigate how they can develop their JAM (Just a Minute) Card, which their members use to ask people in service jobs to be patient while they compose themselves. The project will explore how digital technology can be adopted to improve the JAM card for both end users and for people in the service industry.


Working in the New Lodge area of Belfast, Tackling Awareness of Mental Health Issues (TAMHI) use sport to promote positive mental health. Working with a team of volunteers, TAMHI have long struggled collecting and reporting data, which is a problem that many organisations have.

How can this be joined up, and reported in a relevant way, without adding too much to the volunteers’ workload?

Place & DTNI

The final project is a joint project between Developments Trust NI (DTNI) and Place. DTNI help community organisations form development trusts which can help transfer publicly owned assets to communities, and Place (Planning Landscape Architecture Community Environment) is dedicated to making great spaces in Northern Ireland through community engagement and outreach. Together, they are interested in mapping areas of importance to communities, showcasing assets that can be used for new purposes.

Connor Doherty, Project Manager on Techies in Residence, commented “These projects cover a broad section of the Northern Ireland community, voluntary and charity sector, and it is hoped that the impact that can be gained from them can help not just these organisations, but the wider sector, through shared learning and transfer of skills from the tech community. We’re very excited to get these residencies kicked off at the bootcamp in September".

Paul Braithwaite, Social Innovation lead with Building Change Trust said “We’re delighted with the interest that Techies in Residence has generated so far and are looking forward to seeing each of these projects matched with a techie.

"This programme is fundamentally about a belief in the enormous creative and innovation potential that could be unlocked by bringing together the brightest tech talent with leading edge VCSE organisations working at the coalface of social need".

Whilst the projects are now in place, we’re on the hunt for techies. The advisory panel of the

Techies in Residence programme are on the hunt for people to help turn these ideas into working ideas by being placed in the organisations and working hand in hand with the organisations.

Once the techies have been identified, the organisations come together for a 2 day bootcamp (September 16-17th) at the CultureTECH Festival, where they’ll hear from some of the leading lights in the Tech for Good movement, and some organisations that will be able to help develop their ideas in the future.

For more information, or if you are interested in any of these projects,and feel that you would be interested in getting involved, contact us at

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