Getting ‘rigged up’ for digital skills

19 Feb 2018

When an outdoor activity centre in the heart of rural North Yorkshire decided to use their newly refurbished space for digital skills lessons, a local Online Centre jumped at the opportunity to support them.

Ian Thorpe, Centre Director at Peat Rigg

Working with local people of all ages, Peat Rigg supports learners from challenging backgrounds, organisations looking for activities to bring people together or people just looking for something different to do. Activities like abseiling, canoeing, archery and orienteering are underpinned by a respect for the countryside, its wildlife and the preservation of nature.

In 2017, Peat Rigg renovated a new room for community-based learning activities, such as teaching people about nature and environmental issues. They also wanted to bring locals together to learn new skills, including better digital awareness and using the internet for online activities to improve their businesses and their lives.

Ian Thorpe, Centre Director at Peat Rigg, says: “The opportunity to use digital technology to enhance our visitor offer was something we knew we wanted to do, but it was a big step and one we needed guidance to take. The internet can offer so much to enhance our visitors’ understanding of the environment around them and we wanted to use this to highlight and reinforce our ethos.

“We also owe a lot to our local communities - the farmers and residents who support us - so we wanted to offer them a resource they could use so they too could learn the skills they need.”

Paul Davies, Centre Manager at Destinations@Saltburn, says: “The room looked great but empty. Money had been sourced for some ICT equipment, but no-one at the centre knew what would best suit their needs, nor had any experience in showing people how to utilise the benefits of digital.”

Destinations@Saltburn began working with the team at Peat Rigg as part of a project with Good Things Foundation and the Prince’s Countryside Fund, which sees them supporting rural businesses with digital.

Paul says: “In the first instance we took some of our ICT equipment with us to show the centre what could be achieved and to give them have a better idea of what to invest in. We helped them engage a local ICT provider and together put forward a proposal for new equipment. The kit was agreed, purchased and we helped install it.

“We also delivered some Digital Champion training.”

Now, the computer suite is up and running and community and school groups are making full use of the newly equipped room.

The room before the renovation...

The newly renovated room...

Paul says: “We’ve been working closely with Peat Rigg to plan for 2018, agreeing a series of sessions and learning opportunities that will become part of the overall visitor offer. In addition, we will be helping them create a ‘digital diary’ of the activities they provide. This will become part of their online and social media marketing as 2018 progresses.”

Ian says: “Now with the new room and the skills we have learned as a team, we can invite residents and communities along and show them how they can benefit from technology.

“Peat Rigg is all about bringing people together, where they can try new things, see new things and push themselves to do things they never thought they would do - experiencing the wonders of the world around them. Where better to use the internet to bring the world and all its wonders into our little piece of North Yorkshire?”