TSG wins Community Friendly Business Award from VODA

TSG is proud to announce that we’ve won the Community Friendly Business Award from our friends at VODA (Voluntary Organisations Development Agency).

In December 2017, TSG donated 6 laptops that we no longer used to aid the charity’s volunteers in various projects.

One venture, Friends of North Tyneside, enables people aged 50+ to try out a course of volunteering. Two projects ran concurrently as part of this, one of which involved working with young people with learning difficulties to help them into the world of work. The laptops were used to help the young people create CVs and conduct job research; off the back of this, three of the young people found a job.

The other Friends of North Tyneside project involved the volunteers working with socially-isolated older people, teaching them basic digital skills and showing them how to stay in contact with family members online. One woman contacted her son in Dubai, and her son said: “I know when I speak to mum, she’s very keen to attend the class and is always upbeat on the day that she’s attended so I’m really happy that this is working out for her.

“I feel somewhat detached and helpless in supporting her being based here, so I’m always happy when she tells me that she’s involved in classes like this.”

In addition, the laptops were used to aid SAINT (Social Action in North Tyneside) and its Universal Credit support service. Working with North Tyneside Citizens Advice Bureau, this project helps claimants with little or no digital skills to submit their online claims for the revised system. One volunteer said of the project: “The online Universal Credit application process presents a daunting prospect to many, especially to those even less familiar than I am with the mysterious ways of IT.

“I have found it a real pleasure to be part of the small team who spend one morning a week with applicants for Universal Credit, some of whom have hit hard times but many of whom find themselves a little lost in the face of all they are required to do.

“It is a privilege to sit down with them, hear their stories and lend a helping hand. Each week we are able to help people set up their Universal Credit account and arrange their first interview. They are now on their way, and that gives a real lift to those of us alongside them.”

The final project the laptops were used for was the #iwill campaign, which is dedicated to not only upskilling learners in areas including photography and graphic design, but also encouraging more young people into social action and activism. Young volunteers are learning how to create digital and media campaigns around causes they’re passionate about, and ‘pay forward’ their learning by supporting others to do the same.

Hannah Grey, an #iwill volunteer, said of the project: “I’m really enjoying being part of this project. We want to help people deal with their mental health in a positive and way and to share their ideas to support others. I’ve learned how to schedule Facebook posts, take photographs of people and share them online and to design a logo, which I’m really proud of.”

Our Senior Marketing Manager went along to VODA’s AGM to accept the award on behalf of Team TSG, saying: “it’s a pleasure to be able to help a vital organisation like this.

“Charities often don’t have the digital resources required to carry out a lot of work, relying instead on donations or very limited funding.

“Supporting the not-for-profit sector is something TSG is really passionate about, and we’ve got a fantastic project in the works involving Office 365.”

Ian Dodds, Coordinator of VODA’s Sector Connector, project said: “This one donation of laptops has enabled VODA to deliver social action projects that work with some of the most deprived people in North Tyneside and provide them with much needed support.  The donation has already touched so many lives through the projects that we have been able to run out in the community and will continue to do so.  We are grateful to TSG for its support.”