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.”