Grant awards December 2013

I-pads for the Learning Centre:   the WDT board has approved the purchase of two I-pads and accessories up to a maximum of £850, for use in the Learning Centre and Digital Inclusion projects.  These will be a great help especially to the older people taking part in the two I-pad classes that are already going, and the the folk waiting for the new class to start in early 2014.

A business loan application that had been received by WDT has now been withdrawn by the applicant.

Training Grants:  Nine further requests for grants towards the NFU Farm Safety course were approved, making a total of 22 people (of the 24 attending) being eligible for and each receiving a £50 grant towards this very important course.

NFU farm safety course
NFU farm safety course

Getting online – free classes

The first two Ipad classes are well under way with great enthusiasm, so watch out for some bigger than usual requests for Christmas presents this year, or unexpected new Skype callers!

Classes will continue in 2014, with at least one new group starting.   These can cover a wide range of needs:

–          People completely new to using computers or going online

–          People wanting to learn how to use Ipads (which can be much easier for older folk or those with difficulties with their hands)

–          Anyone who isn’t confident about using the internet

The classes are very informal, go at your speed, and you can use whichever type of equipment suits you  (Ipads, laptops, or desktop computers).  You don’t have to have internet at home, and you don’t have to have your own computer or Ipad.

Contact Corinne on 07766 266656 or leave your name and phone number at the WDT office if you think you would like to know more, or know someone who would benefit or would like to have a taster session.

I-Pad Classes

The first two I-pad classes have happened with the tutors blown away by the enthusiasm from all the learners.  They were really brilliant sessions with everyone getting stuck right into tapping, touching and swiping, and  looking forward to next week.   It was really inspiring to see older folk getting to grips with this new technology, especially as it was such an awful day to come out.

Please pass the word around to people you know who might want to have a go at using I-pads or laptops to get online – I’m already starting to take names for the next lot of sessions that will start in the new year.   No charge, you learn just what you want to know in a very informal way, and you don’t need to have internet at home or have your own I-pad or laptop.

This is part of the Get IT Together Orkney project.

I-pad and laptop classes for beginners

I-pad and laptop classes for beginners will be starting on Westray on Tuesday 19th November.  These are through the Get IT together project.  There is still time to sign up, so let Corinne in the trust office know if you are keen to learn how to get online.

Learning Centre – getting online

Janette Mackie from the Citizensonline  Get I T Together programme has been out to Westray again, and had some really great sessions with older members of the community.   Watch out for request for I-pads as Christmas presents this year – there will be an I-pad beginners course starting at the back end of October, as well as a beginners course for laptops or PCs.  Both of these will be very informal and you will learn what you want to know, at your own pace.  There is still time to sign up.  Contact Corinne at the trust office if you are interested, or watch out for notices.

We are still waiting for the 6 new computers  to be installed at the Learning Centre.  What is taking time is that we have to wait for OIC, UHI, and Orkney College to all coordinate on this, as the big news is that there will be wifi installed there – that means that folk will also be able to use their own laptops.

Also, if you live in social housing (OIC, or OHAL) and don’t have internet but want it,  let either Corinne or Janette (07788 395859) know, as there may be some assistance available.

Learning Centre – getting online

Janette Mackie from the citizensonline Get IT together project is coming back out to Westray on September 11th and 12th to help anyone who either wants to get online, or do more online.   There are also plans for more sessions later in the year, such as “doing your Christmas shopping online” and using Skype to keep in contact with family outwith Orkney.  Janette will be visiting the Auk club on 12th September as well to show people how they can use the latest technology.

During September there will also be a Learning Centre drop-in (for any help with training enquiries, computer use, getting online, etc) :

Wednesday 2.00 to 3.30 and Thursday 2.00 to 3.30 pm

New computers for the Learning Centre are expected to arrive soon, thanks to Orkney College, and there have been requests for an evening session for general computer learning.

Broadband development

To make sure that Westray remains eligible for community broadband project funding, Corinne will be starting to gather feedback on current broadband speeds.  If you haven’t already been contacted, you can get a survey form from the trust office or fill in the online survey here.



Spring Online

Janette Mackie at Kalisgarth

Janette Mackie at KalisgarthJanette Mackie, the Get IT together coordinator for Orkney (a citizensonline project) is keen to involve Westray folk in a very informal learning to help people get the most out of the internet.  A number of opportunities have been planned for people to talk to her, and pick up new skills.  Kalisgarth residents had the chance to try using ipads to view photos, and secondary school students were keen to learn more about projects such as “Internet Rangers”.

More information about the BT sponsorship of this project can be found in this link

Next Generation Internet Access

Currently only around 40% of Westray houses are able to be offered a 2 mbs broadband service (considered a baseline for todays internet needs), with many areas of Westray where speeds are unacceptably slow, and frequent drop-outs of service even in “good” areas.

With the push from the UK and Scottish Governments to implement a new superfast Internet highway that utilises the Next Generation Access (NGA) broadband technology we want to make sure Westray has the best opportunities for getting the same level of service as everywhere else, which in our remote community means we have to take some initiative ourselves.

Its exciting to see other projects where communities have installed their own fibreoptic cable, or are running their own telecoms companies, and doing it all for the same kind of ongoing cost as traditional service providers.

Westray has got together with two other Isles development trusts to investigate what really is possible here. An initial feasibility study is now underway (mid October 2012) to see if fibreoptic cable laying really is an option, whether working in partnership with other isles will give an economy of scale to make it financially viable, and whether community ownership or management of any part of internet services would be appropriate. With the results of the study to hand we will be in a good position to put in a bid to the new £5 million Community Broadband Fund to make it all happen, as well as being able to share what we learn with other isles.