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Update from end-July 2020

Welcome to the end of July 2020 issue of Digital WM News and our ninth issue of 2020.

Apologies that it's a week late - call it the Covid19 effect.

We continue to help you and your organisation/community-led group to increase your digital skills and knowledge in 2020

In this issue we include:

  • News including 2nd Diversity in Tech Brum meeting, Code Your Future calls for volunteers, 1st BAME Online fundraising conference, APPG on Digital Skills report on Covid19 impact, Birmingham Tech NED Board members announced, Youth4AI work in peril, Tech for Good as topic for Charity Meetup Birmingham
  • Events and Training incl Developing a post-lockdown digital strategy, Practical tips to get more out of analytics, Black Tech Pipeline Fireside chat and Digital skills for seniors
  • People: David Scurr, Outgoing Partnership & Project Manager, Citizens Online
  • Resources incl NCVO Almanac 2020 and Tech for Good Live Digital Trustees session
  • Digital Stories: Deniz Ari & Adebola Alaba-Ige, student coders from Code Your Future 
...and so much more!

We continue to increase digital skills and knowledge in the VCSE sectors, as part of Project 2020, by curating the most useful items we see on the web during the month.

We'd love to hear your stories of increasing digital skills and knowledge too. Please email them to Pauline at, marking them for my attention.

For our new subscribers in July, we welcome you! We'd love to hear from you so please email or tweet us.

Please note that this issue and all previous issues can be found on our website here

In 2020 we aim to reach at least one person in every small charity, non-profit and social enterprise in the West Midlands. 

You can help us increase our reach and increase digital skills in the West Midlands by encouraging your colleagues and friends to subscribe to Digital WM News in 2020. 

They can SIGN UP HERE to ensure they receive the latest issue as soon as it is published.


Pauline Roche,
Editor, Digital WM News

BAME in Tech Brum second meeting

Diversity in Tech Brum Logo designed by Content Director Sophia Loren

A second meeting has been held to discuss important topics and objectives in order to support Diversity for people of colour and under-represented backgrounds in Birmingham within the tech scene.

Diversity in Tech Brum is a new initiative aimed at promoting a level playing field, talent and opportunities available to under-represented areas and people of colour in Birmingham and the West Midlands.

One of the group's key objectives highlights the limitations of categorising people as 'BAME'. Organiser
 Dan Hoff-Rodrigues, Founder and Director of CX Squared Talent Solutions recommends reading this article 'Don't call me BAME' by Kenan Malik from  for more insight into the thinking behind this. 

Code Your Future Calls for Devs to support students

Full details and dates here



BAME Online - first UK fundraising conference held by and for people of colour

In July 2020, event organising platform Fundraising Everywhere teamed up with #CharitySoWhite’s Martha Awojobi to host the first-ever UK fundraising conference curated by and for people of colour.

The conference was over twelve hours of discussions aimed at changing the charity sector, rooting out racism, and creating fairer ways of working for all. Details and bios of all the speakers are here.

Sessions from the whole event are now available here for access for up to six months with 50% of the on-demand fee to be donated to BAME-led organisations, and 50% to be used to fund development of future events for people of colour.

APPG on Digital Skills report on impact of Covid 19 on digital skills launched

Report available for download here 

New Grants to boost recovery of small businesses in England

A new £20 million grant scheme to help smaller businesses in England recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic was announced in July by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government.

Grants of between £1,000 and £5,000 will be available to help small and medium-sized businesses access professional, legal or financial advice and buy new technology or equipment.

The grants will be funded by the European Regional Development Fund in England and available through local growth hubs.

Read more about the grants at:

HT Debbie Assinder, West Midlands Enterprise Champion, Enterprise Nation

Latest WM REDI Economic Impact Monitor available

Full post and download here 

Birmingham Tech NED Board members announced 

"We are delighted to announce our new NED Board of Advisors and officially welcome Prof. Paul CadmanTracy WestallAmardeep GillPauline RocheDavid HardmanMark SmithAlex ColeClare StreetsJulian Beer and Pam Waddell OBE to Birmingham Tech as we look to expand our offering and get ready to announce Birmingham Tech Week 2020!

The team brings a wealth of experience, spanning across lots of different areas of the technology sector, and will help the Birmingham Tech team deliver a number of strategic initiatives over the next couple of years.

Yiannis Maos, the Founder of Birmingham Tech commented:

"I'm delighted to welcome the NED team to our organisation. They've been devout supporters from the very beginning and have continued to champion our efforts."

Kim Leary, the Chair of Birmingham Tech commented:

"I'm thrilled to welcome such an amazing NED Board to Birmingham Tech. Each person brings something unique and will enable us to shape our proposition and deliver more value to individuals and organisations across the West Midlands."

Birmingham Tech will be focussing on a number of initiatives over the next couple of months, including Birmingham Tech Week 2020"

NOTE: It has been pointed out on social media by Kari Lawler that there is no youth (14-24) representation on the board so this needs to be addressed, especially when the region is haemorrhaging young tech talent and ideas to cities like London, Manchester and Cambridge.

Youth4AI work in peril due to Covid 19 and lack of industry support

Kari Lawler, the 17-year old Youth4AI Founder, UK Space Agency SatelLife Winner, Barclays Entrepreneur Awards Midlands Icon of the Year, West Midlands 5G Board Observer and Young Combined Authority Board Member said in July on Twitter that “the realisation has come after 2 amazing years that I can no longer keep #artificialintelligence youth outreach work, namely @Youth4AI.

With COVID stopping all paid speaking work, money has been tight and, with ongoing overheads, it's been a tough decision. Unfortunately despite my best efforts and with the programme being recognised for awards, I was unable to obtain any industry financial support. So, without this much-needed industry sponsorship, I can't really see any way of moving forward.

It's a strange feeling as I do feel I'm letting young people down, But hopefully, something bigger may arise from the work I've done to support young people in understanding and accessing technology, like #AI, so far”.


Charity Meetup Birmingham: Tech for Good

Following discussion at a previous event that some attendees feel the sector is behind on IT and tech, third sector networking and skills sharing event Charity Meetup surveyed members of their Facebook and LinkedIn groups to find out how best they can support them.

Therefore their Aug 11th meeting theme is ‘Tech for Good' and the event will be suitable for everyone working in the sector. It will be hosted by self-employed marketer Vicky Kangurs and communications consultant Claire Colvine

Their four speakers and their topics at this event are: 

Kelly Round - Adapting to reach stakeholders

Kelly is CEO of Our Place, a CIC formed in 2011 to provide mentoring, advice and personal development services to children and adults in Sutton Coldfield. She will be describing how she and her team adapted to reach service users - some as young as six years old - to continue to provide support seamlessly throughout the pandemic.

Amanda Owen-Meehan – Confidence and influence in the online space

Amanda is a leader, coach and change manager with extensive experience across the not for profit sector. She will be giving advice to grow confidence when networking online, including speaking up at meetings and events and building an effective online networking strategy.

Sophie Edridge - Boost your digital health

Sophie is a mental health trainer who uses her personal experience to improve wellbeing. She will be talking about how technology can adversely affect mental health and how to identify and prevent issues in you, your family and your colleagues.

Emma Haslam - Measuring success

Emma is the founder of Borago Insights, a data analysis consultancy specialising in organisations doing social impact work. She will be giving a brief insight into how organisations can plan what success looks like and how to measure it from both business and doing good perspectives.

Full details and booking here


13th Aug

Leeds Libraries

12.00-13.00 Creating a Twitter persona with Megan Jones

Megan Jones is the Digital Engagement Officer at Leeds Museums and Galleries.Her role covers social media management, website content, e-news, blogging, film and podcast production. 

In this talk, Meg shares how Leeds Museums and Galleries turned around their tone of voice on social media and increased engagements, and will share the successes and trials along the way (with a special nod to the impact this job can have on mental health).

Find out how to get buy in from colleagues, why Twitter-flirting between museums still counts as promoting the serious work of our organizations and, most importantly, how to make Harry Styles count as ‘work’.

14th Aug


11.00-12.30: DigiShift - Developing a post lockdown digital strategy

This session will help you hone your digital strategy and put structure around your charity's rapidly changing digital services and processes. We will talk through some key frameworks and best practices to help you understand users and get strategic with digital.

17th Aug

The National Lottery Community Fund
 Digital Fund

15.30-17.00 Radical Collaboration and Ecosystems

Digital Fund Monthly Learning Event - each month The National Lottery Community Fund
 Digital Fund hosts an event based on their theme of the month to share insights, learning and reflections from the field.


19th Aug


10.00-11.00 Practical tips for nonprofits to get more out of Analytics

With the right approach, you can use data analytics as a powerful tool for your organisation - helping to streamline operations, identify your weaknesses, and target your fundraising campaigns more effectively.

We'll be sharing tips to get you rethinking how you measure, and what’s possible within the nonprofit sector.

Be More Digital 

11.00-12.00 Digital Q & A

A space for people working in the charity sector to ask questions about their digital projects and learn from peers.

Other dates available (monthly until November)

26th Aug

CIPR Not-for-profit

12.00-13.00 Fundraising & Communications

Media Trust and Charity Comms published research at the beginning of the pandemic which highlighted the challenges of adapting to digital fundraising, and the need to diversify funding. As organisations have adapted during the pandemic, your relationship with donors, members, funders and other stakeholders may have changed.

This webinar will help you consider how to adapt external communications to support your organisation during this difficult period.

Black Tech Pipeline

22.00-00.00 Fireside Chat with Pariss Chandler from Black Tech Pipeline

Pariss began her career as a front-end developer after graduating from Resilient Coders. She works for G2i as a hiring and platform member- vetting engineers as an engineer, and taking lead on social media marketing efforts.

If you’re leading efforts around diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) at your company, are just starting to dive into the topic at your workplace, or want to learn more about DEI at work, this meetup is for you!

Join others from a variety of industries, with various levels of experience and backgrounds who are also working toward creating equity in the workplace. Make connections, share experiences and learn from each other in a casual setting.

Open to all genders.

Sept 1st


09.30-17.00 5prinG Engage - Discover the true potential of 5G

5prinG Engage will take you through the fundamentals of 5G, working through case studies and guiding you through the process of spotting 5G enabled opportunities for your organisation.

You will be asked to complete a short 5G readiness questionnaire prior to the event which will allow organisers to give you a personalised report for your organisations 5G readiness and to tailor the event in order to give feedback and insights.

There will be 4 key tranches to this workshop

  • Transport
  • Construction
  • Manufacturing
  • Health and Wellbeing

Regular Meetups - *new this issue*
Birmingham Open Code
- weekly (Tues) open study session for folks who program or those who want to get started
Birmingham Settlement IT Club - weekly (Wed, 1-3pm)
Birmingham Tech Cluster - monthly (second Friday) tech, digital and innovation cluster
Brum SMC – monthly (last Fri) social media meetup
Coding Wednesday – monthly (last Wed) - Codeacademy, YouTube tutorials etc
Digital Evenings (Fircroft College) – semi-regular - improve your digital skills
*Digital skills for seniors (Upper Norwood Library, London) - weekly (Wed 11am) - help people learn how to use the internet safely and be more comfortable with technology*
fizzPOP – monthly (2nd Wednesday) Lock picking
Net Squared Midlands – regular #techforgood meetup 
- Net Squared Midlands meetups will start again as soon as we identify a new venue - watch this space!
Tech Wednesday – monthly meet up for like-minded individuals in tech industry in Birmingham area



Digital and IT
Fircroft College, Birmingham
David Scurr, outgoing Partnership & Project Mgr, Citizens Online 

David Scurr is passionate about 'Tech for Good' and social innovation. He has 10+ years'​ experience managing and developing international partnerships and networks in the social impact space.

To the end of July, David ran the Digital Brighton & Hove partnership for Citizens Online, bringing together over 300 local organisations from all sectors to create a more digitally confident city.

He also recently founded the Tech for Good Brighton Community, a collaborative platform which brings together over 600 members to explore how digital technologies can be a force for good.

Alongside this work, David has recently founded Worthing Ping United, a social enterprise focused on developing community integration through table tennis in Worthing, and he is actively involved there in the development of a new local Community Innovation Network.


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360 Giving Covid Funding Tracker

Find 360 Giving Covid Tracker here 


Radical Accessibility: Report and Recommendations

by Emma Owens, Head of Marketing, Reason Digital

A Reason Digital report which takes a deep dive into brand new data. How inclusive and accessible have charity digital services been during Covid?

Read stories of lived experience and expert insights they heard at the Radical Accessibility event

Latest sector data in NCVO Almanac 2020

Full almanac and highlights here


Tech for Good Live Digital Trustees (video on YouTube)

Video streamed live on 22nd July 2020 - 3 speakers, followed by a Q & A

- Janet Thorne CEO of Reach Volunteering
Janet Thorne is the CEO of Reach Volunteering. Reach connects up people who want to volunteer their skills with the charities which need them. Reach is the single largest source of trustees to the sector.

Having led Reach through its own digital transformation, Janet realised how crucial it was to have a digitally savvy board. Reach launched its Digital Trustee hub in 2016 to bring together digital trustee vacancies, prospective digital trustees and relevant resources.


- Pauline Roche - A digital trustee's perspective
Pauline Roche chairs both the West Midlands Open Data Forum and regional charitable funders group WM Funders Network; she is on the Steering group of the Open Data Institute Birmingham node and the organising team for the national Open Data Camp unconference; she co-founded and runs both the Net Squared Midlands: tech for social good meetup series and the UK unconference for voluntary sector infrastructure organisations.

@paulineroche and @RnRWorks

-Michelle Hill - A charity's perspective
Chief Executive of TLC: Talk, Listen, Change. The organisation delivers a range of integrated support, therapies and interventions in pursuit of safe, healthy and happy relationships. Prior to this, Michelle spent 12 years working for Nacro, the crime reduction charity. She started there working with young people at risk of offending and finished leading an organisation-wide change programme. 

Digital WM News has heard from a few more of the new West Midlands intake of students at CodeYourFuture (CYF), a non-profit organisation which trains refugees and disadvantaged people to become software developers


Deniz Ari is a student at CYF

Deniz Ari
“I am Deniz Ari a CodeYourFuture student in Birmingham. I am originally from Istanbul and moved to the UK 5 years ago.
I have a BA Degree in Sociology and MA Degree in Communication Studies. Before the pandemic I was working for BI Companies as Digital Communication consultant (freelancer) and my daytime job was in hospitality.
CYF is like a supportive family and strong community. They’re always ready to help and approachable. In a world where everyone is equal.
I am really interested in Big Data. I want to become a data scientist one day. CYF is a really big chance for me and is changing my future. Learning code is like learning a new language, seeing the different lands and being part of the digital revolution. I like to code because it gives me more confidence to understand digitalization and machine learning.
Diversity is one of the biggest challenges facing the tech industry today. As a woman with my immigrant identity I always face unfair treatment in interviews They need to close the diversity gap in the technology sector. 
If you want to learn code and are struggling to find the right direction don’t hesitate and contact CYF. They are changing, teaching and moving forward people


Adebola is a trainee Web Developer student with CodeYourFuture (CYF)

Adebola Alaba-Ige
"My name is Adebola Alaba-Ige and I am a Trainee web developer with CodeYourFuture and I am a Nigerian. I came to the UK in 2012 to study and I have so far graduated with Masters in Business Administration and also a Master in Financial Management.
I sought asylum in UK in 2019 and before then I had worked in various capacities.
I was introduced to CodeYourFuture by one of the Birmingham managers and I clung onto the opportunity as I could not afford to stay without doing anything. My hope for the future is to get to the apex of the tech industry in terms of leadership roles and I want to stay relevant by giving back to my community by creating an educational app for children.
My background was not in IT but I had always loved the idea of how code works. My best part of coding is the use of bootstrap as it is very easy to use and the flexibility is amazing.
In terms of diversity I believe there is still a lot to be done because the BAME communities and women are still underrepresented, according to reports (Nesta, 2019) “The tech sector is expanding at a rapid pace, faster than the rest of the UK economy. However, diversity and under-representation remain a key challenge within the industry. The tech sector is highly international, with a reported 8% of directors of non-British nationality, compared to 13% in all other sectors. Inclusive Boards research found that 74.5% of boards in the tech sector had no BAME members and that BAME people made up just 8.5% of senior leaders (Directors and Executives) in the sector.”
FTSE 100 states that “Just 8.5% of senior leaders in technology are from a minority background, according to the report from agency Inclusive Boards, while women make up only 12.6% of board members in the sector – compared to the 30% female representation now achieved by FTSE 100 businesses.”
After joining CodeYourFuture I was amazed at the level of diversity because in my years of experience in the UK I have not seen an organisation as diverse as CodeYourFuture. Also, the level of community support is amazing as you cannot get stuck on anything, except if you do not ask.

We have mentors, PD support personnel and Educational support personnel, so what more would anyone want than the feeling of appreciation and support and these are at large in CodeYourFuture? My journey so far has been a story of success and excellence.
I have learnt a lot within the short period of time and there is still so much to cover which shows that CodeYourFuture is a great organisation to be with. They also afford you a better platform for job opportunities.
Lastly, if I am one of the decision makers in the tech industry;
a) I will give listening ears to the underrepresented minority in ways to get them involved
b) I will give more opportunities to them using various supportive platforms/workshops/programs.
c) Change recruiting system, evaluation, promotion and other internal policies to accommodate diversity"


Hi, I'm Pauline Roche. I'm a freelance journalist with a special interest in data journalism.

I'm also M.D. of RnR Organisation - we're a social enterprise and we aim to increase digital and data literacy amongst smaller non-profits, including by running the Net Squared Midlands meetup and the VCSSCamp unconference for voluntary sector infrastructure organisations.

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Company Registration Number 9140623 
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