Greater Manchester’s Tech Community Task Force has been launched today by Manchester Digital, supported by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) – with individuals and organisations across the GM digital technology sector encouraged to sign up and pledge their support to communities and groups across the region that have been most impacted by Coronavirus.
The Task Force will pair pledges with local not for profit groups, education bodies and charities that have been impacted in some way by the current pandemic. These include: The Greater Manchester Technology Fund, Bridge GM, Rio Ferdinand Foundation, Tech for Good Live, RECLAIM, Code Your Future and Mustard Tree, amongst others.
Having consulted with members, furloughed employees and the wider regional ecosystem around what support they need currently, Manchester Digital concluded that the Task Force was one of the most proactive ways it could help.
Available assistance will range from support for communities and groups that need to build their digital skills and donated tech equipment for organisations in need, right through to access to support groups, mentoring initiatives and CV reviews for people that find themselves out of work.
The scheme will prioritise supporting the Greater Manchester boroughs, communities and organisations that are sometimes overlooked and need the most support. Those interested can see the opportunities available and pledge their support here.
Katie Gallagher, managing director of Manchester Digital said: “COVID-19 has seen the tech industry play a critical role in keeping people connected, allowing education to continue remotely and people to work from home. However, it’s also highlighted the digital divide in certain areas and has increased social isolation in some cases for those without access to important devices or the skills to operate these devices.
“The Tech Community Task Force is bringing together the tech sector in Greater Manchester and asking them to support charities and not for profit groups that have felt the impact of the pandemic. It’s our call to all individuals and businesses within the tech industry, bringing different elements of the community together to pledge support, help us build the sector back up effectively, and create digital equality across the region.
“We’re asking everyone in our community to pledge support in any way they can, whether that’s in time, business resource, training, equipment, advice, or mentoring. Those not sure what to pledge can take a look at the list online for some of the things we’re looking for. We’ll be matching pledges with people and community initiatives across the region that really need some extra help right now.”
Councillor Sean Fielding, GMCA Employment, Skills and Digital Lead, added:“Over the last few months our businesses and services have had to transform digitally at a rate never seen before and our people have had to rapidly adapt. Digital transformation plans due to be delivered in years have had to happen over a few weeks! Gaps in digital skills and knowledge have unsurprisingly been exposed further but it’s fantastic to see the industry come together in this way to share resource, skills and knowledge and address these gaps.”
Manchester Digital has remained committed to supporting the region’s digital and tech ecosystem since the crisis began through a number of initiatives, including free support for businesses, lobbying Government for better support for small businesses and freelancers, and offering free memberships.
To find out more about how you can access your free membership, visit www.manchesterdigital.co.uk