26 May 2021
The Foundation’s Techies in Residence programme awarded almost £70,000 seed funding to five local projects following a virtual pitch and online showcase (Thursday 20th May).
With seven projects taking part in the showcase, five received a financial boost of £12,000 each to invest in the further development of their tech project, while the remaining two each received £3,500 development grants.
The tech-for-good initiative matches local charities and social enterprises with digital technology partners, to help the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector develop new innovative solutions to address challenges and issues they have identified.
Since 2015, Techies in Residence has awarded over £1m to 32 projects in Northern Ireland through a combination of programme and seed funding.
Previous successful projects include the NOW Group’s JAM (Just a Minute) Card and Versus Arthritis’ symptom tracking app for teenagers.
Paul Braithwaite, Head of Innovation and Voice at the Community Foundation said: “Over the past year, the sector has had to adapt and change very quickly to keep delivering services where they are most needed. Participants have applied that same innovation to Techies in Residence, learning to collaborate and work successfully in an online setting.
“It is apt that this showcase has taken place during Philanthropy Fortnight (17-28 May) which celebrates the generosity of people, businesses and foundations. The support of our funding partner, Comic Relief, has allowed us to award seed funding to participants for future project development. The programme is also supported by Innovate-NI as a delivery partner and the Centre for the Acceleration of Social Technology (CAST).”
Highlighting some of the key outcomes participants gained in Techies in Residence, Andrea Tierney from MEAAP, one this year’s participating projects said: “The whole Techies in Residence experience has given MEAAP a sense of hope, by knowing as we come out of the Covid-19 pandemic, we’ll still be able to support older people (via technology) who will never be able to return to face to face groups.”
Grainne fellow participant, St Columb’s Park House added: “The mentoring element of the programme really pushed us out of our comfort zone and that enabled enormous growth, in terms of the skills in the organisation…It also allowed us to look at our organisation from an external perspective, which has changed…how we see ourselves and how we present ourselves to others. That’s been a really interesting process.”
The Techies in Residence 2021 programme projects were as follows:
Northern Ireland Chest, Heart & Stroke (NICHS)
Northern Ireland Chest, Heart & Stroke (NICHS) aims to reduce disconnection and isolation between community health champions. NICHS and techie Johan Gant have developed a communication and information sharing platform for volunteer health champions active in workplaces.
Mid and E Antrim Agewell Partnership
MEAAP aims to reduce digital barriers isolated Older People face connecting to online community groups and support. MEAAP and Damgeo have developed a remote access app that will reduce digital barriers of navigation and literacy for Older People to easily access their vital community online services.
Young Enterprise Northern Ireland (YENI)
Young Enterprise Northern Ireland (YENI) aims to address low education and employability skills with young people. YENI and Zoo Creative have developed a Virtual Reality (VR) problem solving game that develops enterprise and employability skills.
Linking Generations NI (LGNI)
Linking Generations NI (LGNI) aims to reduce social isolation, poor mental health and a societal disconnection between older and younger people. LGNI and Metadeck have developed a bespoke platform that can be used to deliver intergenerational activities online, engaging and connecting generations together digitally and safely.
Aurora aims to equip parents with knowledge and tools to support their child’s emotional health and wellbeing at home while awaiting counselling. Aurora Counselling and Kippie have developed the Kidz Xpress App with two main sections: Parentland – a library of useful content for parents and Kidz Xpress – an interactive therapeutic storytelling section for parent and child together.
Barnardo’s through a strengths-based approach, aims to promote self-advocacy enabling refugee families to report housing issues independently. Barnardo’s and Invisible Building have developed a bilingual reporting platform for directly addressing housing issues between landlord and tenant.
St. Columb’s Reconciliation Trust (SCRT)
St. Columb’s Park House (SCPH) aims to address social, emotional and mental health related to the societal disconnect from nature, for all ages. St. Columb’s Park House and Access Heritage have developed a virtual reality nature tour of the grounds at St. Columb’s Park House
For further information on Techies in Residence, how to apply or support the programme, contact Paul Braithwaite – email@example.com