Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Logging off for good...? Computers, cooking and so much more...

For the past six years, hundreds of Lockleaze residents have been inspired to take up the opportunity to learn new skills. From IT to cooking, first aid to drumming... these opportunities have been coordinated by local project, Connect Lockleaze.

The project first began in 2012 and was led by community organisations: Lockleaze Neighbourhood Trust, North Bristol Advice Centre and Stoke Park Children’s Centre, along with nearby partners, UWE and HP. Their initial focus was on tackling digital exclusion in Lockleaze and so, with equipment, funding and volunteer support from HP and UWE, they began to host taster sessions and short courses for local residents to improve their IT skills.

In 2013, a small team of friendly volunteers started running weekly computer drop in sessions at the Langley Centre, where people were invited to pop in with their computer questions and ‘have a go’! One lady who received some help at the sessions, with her husband, said:

“My husband is registered disabled and it’s a lifeline for him to come here; it’s only a short walk from home. He gets to meet different people and he’s learning something. I do know a little bit about computers, but I’m not ‘au fait’ by any stretch, and it’s brilliant that when I don’t know something there’s someone here who can help me. But for him it’s been an absolute marvellous thing. The people here are fantastic that’s the main thing – they will all try to help you.”

The Langley Centre has continued to be an amazing community resource and host to many sessions for people to develop their skills. A weekly “Work Zone” drop in has been running there since 2014 facilitated by Buzz Lockleaze who provide employability support to anyone looking for work.

But opportunities to learn in Lockleaze have not been restricted to digital skills. As the Connect Lockleaze project developed, the partnership sought to make learning for adults really accessible by hosting training at their venues in Lockleaze. A timetable of courses and workshops in a variety of subjects has attracted residents from Lockleaze and beyond to engage in learning at local venues. Over 850 people have been inspired to explored learning locally and over 100 people have gained qualifications as a result of their training.

“I really like doing first aid. It gave me confidence and now I know how to save a child from choking.”

“I am really pleased I can apply my new skills to ​make more aprons and bags as gifts or to sell.”

​“I am really pleased I stuck with it and I can now move forward.”

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Farewell Connect Lockleaze and thanks to all of our learners and volunteers

Connect Lockleaze, a partnership project that has been supporting local training and digital inclusion since 2012 is closing at the end of 2017. The Connect Lockleaze partners: Hewlett Packard, University of the West of England, Lockleaze Neighbourhood Trust, North Bristol Advice Centre and Stoke Park Children's Centre, came together to meet a need to support locally delivered training and engage with community needs particularly around digital inclusion.

Set up in 2012 with equipment, funding and volunteer support from HP and UWE, it has supported drop-in computer access at the Langley Centre, Cameron Centre and Boing! and has delivered a training on a variety of subjects, including basic IT, tablets, DIY, cooking on a budget, computers for work, food hygiene, first aid, English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and more. In addition the project has supported learners, directing them to further training, volunteering or employment opportunities.

After careful consideration the partners have decided that now is the time for local training to be looked at in a different way and therefore will be drawing the Connect Lockleaze project to a close. The project has been hugely successful in embedding training locally and many of the initiatives will continue beyond the project, delivered by local partners. Drop-in computer access continues at the Langley Centre every Tuesday, 10:30-12:30 and at Lockleaze Library. The project has supported over 650 learners and has been supported by over 50 volunteers.

Chair of the project, Sally Gapper, Chief Executive of North Bristol Advice Centre says:

“It has been a huge success and I want to thank all the partners, volunteers and staff involved in this project for their tremendous effort. I am really proud of what we have achieved. A special thanks to Rachel Varley for making the project such a success. It is no longer viable to run this local training partnership project but I am pleased that partners have embedded much of the activity into their core business, and we plan to continue to work to ensure that Lockleaze training needs remain on the agenda.”

The partners would like to take this moment to thank everyone who has been a part of making this project a success, including learners, volunteers and the wider professional community.

Monday, 10 April 2017

A story from one of our learners...

Samina* initially engaged with Connect Lockleaze after seeing an advertisement for a ‘Computers for Work’ course in the locally community centre. As a single parent and a survivor of domestic violence, it is no surprise that when she joined the course, Samina had low in self-confidence and was apprehensive about her abilities. In addition, English is not her first language.

Despite that, Samina was keen to learn, displaying dedication to the computer course with full attendance and a positive attitude.

Following the course, Samina made contact with the local community centre, enquiring about voluntary positions but unsure of what skills she would be able to offer. She was invited to our ‘Volunteering in Your Community’ course in March, during which she spent time reflecting upon her life experiences and considering what she might have to offer others as a result of these. She learnt about the rights and responsibilities of volunteers, and how to apply for a volunteering position.

Upon completion of the course, Samina returned to the community centre and has since begun volunteering with the weekly parent and toddler group. She has also connected with the local MoneySmart Online sessions to continue developing her computer skills, and Buzz Lockleaze Work Zone who are supporting her to explore future employment opportunities.

Both Samina and her course tutors reported a great increase in her self-confidence during this time and she now feels equipped to find opportunities for volunteering and gaining work experience independently.

​*name changed

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Introduction to Tablets Workshops

This week is was great to welcome a group of lovely learners to our first 'Introduction to Tablets' workshop at The Hub. It was a fun and interactive session giving everyone the chance to get stuck in and have a play on the tablets, emailing each other, taking photos and trying out different healthy apps.

Everyone who attended left feeling more confident and hungry to learn more! Each one was invited to join us for a series of one-to-one sessions to further their learning.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Get involved. Build your CV. Make a difference!

Following the success of last year's Lockleaze Volunteer Fair community organisations across the Lockleaze area are once again coming together to promote their projects and show the many different ways people can get involved in local activity through volunteering.

From helping at lunch clubs, cafes and IT sessions to driving roles, gardening, play and youth work , the list is endless! You can offer your skills to support groups or use volunteering as a way of picking up new skills.

Some of the benefits of volunteering that people told us about at our last 'Celebrating volunteers' event in June were that getting involved enabled them to meet people, feel valued and make a difference.

On Monday 17th October we held a volunteer fair for people to find out about the wide range of volunteering roles available locally. 

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Well done to all our learners!

We held our end of year celebration event on Wednesday 13th July. The event brought together all the learners who took part in courses and training in Lockleaze this year. It was really great to hear stories from different individuals and see photos from the different courses that took place this year. Plus, we had some food provided by Pieminister's #littleactsofpieness project too!

Thank you and well done to all the learners, families, volunteers, tutors and partners who came along and helped make it such a great event!

We hope you all have an amazing summer and look forward to seeing you at more training from September!

Tuesday, 3 November 2015


We were delighted to be presented with this award last night by Councillor for Southmead, Brenda Massey at Bristol City Council's Celebration of Employment, Skills & Learning for our partnership work with the Learning Communities Team to bring courses & workshops into the local area.

Thanks to all our brilliant learners for making that possible!