Digital cafe helps charity expand support

Kate-forbes-marie-trust

Kate Forbes MSP with Frances McKinley

The Marie Trust has benefitted from expanding its support through digital thanks to the Digital Participation Charter Fund 

4th November 2019 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

A charity that has embraced digital innovation has been praised.

The Marie Trust, a Glasgow based charity for the homeless, supports individuals who have a range of complex needs. With skilled crisis intervention teams based in its centre, the charity provides advice and advocacy, mental health advice, addiction support and other specialist counselling services.

The trust has a dedicated training suite where it operates a wide programme of skills development activity, from life-skills and further education opportunities through local college partners to volunteering and employment support.

Following a period of research, the trust identified service users would benefit from the introduction of dedicated Digital Café, operational five days per week, to complement their existing services and provide a range of dedicated drop-in sessions such as a job club, Universal Credit support, financial inclusion/budgeting assistance, healthy living coaching and wider skills opportunities.

Following a successful application to the Digital Participation Charter Fund, administered by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), the project kicked off in September and Kate Forbes MSP visited last week to hear all about the success of the project.

She heard firsthand what difference The Marie Trust is making to their lives thanks to the new WiFi in the café area, dedicated Digital Café iPads and volunteer support.

Reflecting on her visit, Forbes said: “The Scottish Government is delighted to continue to work in partnership with SCVO for round seven of the Digital Participation Charter Fund which plays a huge part in tackling digital exclusion and helping people to access the support they need. I was heartened to see such great work from a very dedicated team of staff and volunteers making a real difference to the lives of vulnerable people.”

Frances McKinlay, chief executive of the Marie Trust, said: “The Digital Café is already complementing the existing range of services we provide and has created an accessible environment that will empower our service users to increase their confidence with digital technology. Our volunteers will also benefit as they will be trained as Digital Champions, enhancing their own individual development, but crucially allowing them to work more closely with service users across all our programmes.

“Our aim is to see the Digital Café embedded as a centralised resource, volunteer-led and tailored totally to the digital needs of the service users.”