Warsop Infotech Group was founded in 1994 by a small group of people who were taking part in a short course run by the WEA at Warsop Town Hall. The group had a common interest in progressing their training further and they sought to bring follow-on courses into the Town Hall. They were successful in a bid to get Nottingham University to run a distance learning pilot project in word processing. The University loaned three computers and a printer to the group, who worked on a rota system to carry out their training.
This success spurred the group on to meet regularly to plan future courses and they formally constituted in 1995. As more people joined the group it demonstrated the need for locally based training facilities in Warsop, so campaigning for equipment and identifying suitable training schemes has been an important part of the group's activities.
From this small start, resources were gradually built up with help and grants from locally based organisations (Nottinghamshire County Council, Warsop Parish Council, North Notts TEC and the Rural Community Council). West Nottinghamshire College and the W.E.A have provided a wide range of courses. All the organisations have been very supportive of training initiatives at Warsop Town Hall, providing the local community with access to a wide range of computing qualifications.
The group received a tremendous boost by being awarded a grant from the National Lottery Charities Board. This enabled the training room at the Town Hall to be equipped with modern equipment running the latest software and a resource centre of training materials available to members.
The group was successful in gaining a grant of more than £84,000, awarded as part of the Government's "UK Online" initiative. Therefore we are now known as a "UK Online Centre" with access to the internet and online learning available to the community. This funding also enabled us to appoint a Learner Support and Resource Worker who supported members at drop-in sessions and enrolled and supported students who signed up for Learn Direct courses. This funding finished in May 2004.
The group was successful in gaining a grant from the local Neighbourhood Renewal Fund and completely updated the I.T. suite with new computers and TFT monitors. Further equipment was purchased at this time to allow us to move into digital video editing. Disability access has been improved with a range of equipment and software. A new Thursday evening drop-in session was also started.
The group continued to develop and by 2006 had 32 networked computers spread across three training areas, several laptops, digital stills and video cameras and was becoming known for its film production work, digital video training courses and extensive Family History resources and training. We started an additional Monday evening drop-in session. A single non-I.T. Spanish course was also started by one of our members.
With assistance of funding from local organisations the second I.T. suite was equipped with 8 large screen/keyboard laptop computers.
With assistance from local organisations we were able to purchase 5, Windows 7 Laptops and 3, Windows 7 desktop computers.
Funding was received from UK-Online to purchase a Projector and boom for the main I.T. suite and 2 more Windows 7 computers which has proved a big hit with our users.
Funding received from Bt Community Connection Scheme, free internet for 12 months helping Infotech to provide faster broadband speeds and accessibility to more users of our facility.
Funding of £23,235.00 was received through the Microsoft Donation Scheme, licences for 40 PC's and laptops for Office 2010 and License for server 2003 software.
Old lath and plaster ceiling and top section of walls, in the main I.T.suite were replaced due to severe cracking and water ingress. Whilst carrying out this vital work it was found that the roof needed replacing & thankfully Warsop Parish Council paid for this work to be carried out and we are now water tight and also have insulation in the roof - of which was not there originally, part way to making the building more energy efficient.
£500 Funding was received from Meden Vale Charity Shop towards the cost of replacing computer workstations in the main I.T. suite.
£500 Received from Big Warsop to fund some of the cost for replacing the computer workstations in Main I.T. Suite. The workstations were raised in height so that they can easily accomodate anyone with disabilities, who uses a wheelchair.
£200 received from Councillors John Kerr & Peter Crawford towards new blackout blinds for the main I.T. suite.
£5076.00 Recieved from the Coalfields Regeneration Trust to purchase 4 new windows 7 Desktop PC's, also Server 2008 & software. In addition to this we were able to purchase Adobe web & design CS6.
Event to launch the new website and show new computers in the I.T. suite and our other training rooms throughout the ground floor.
Infotech Chairmans awards:
Infotech's chairman was awarded 2 community awards in the space of 7 days. On Thursday 17th July 2015, he was at Mansfield Volunteers Awards night held at the John Fretwell Sports Centre at Sookholme, where he received the shield for his work in the community. He was nominated by Jane Baker who attends courses which Micheal helps arrange. The award was presented to him by Karen Bonsall who is part of Nottinghamshire County Council's Adult Community Learning Services, which helps provide courses & funding to put courses on in 'local communities'. Micheal who was totally taken by surprise when his name was announced thanked everyone who had voted for him. The shield is on display in Infotech's main I.T. suite in Warsop Town Hall.
On July 27th Micheal was shocked to hear that he had been nominated for a second volunteer award, which Warsop Parish Council were running to find the outstanding volunteer in community. Micheal was presented his award by Councillor and Chairman of Warsop Parish Council Andy Wetton at the Parish Council meeting. Micheal thanked everyone who had voted for him, he also said it was a great honour and a privilege to be awarded the award but would also like to dedicate the award to all the volunteers who gave their time to help run Infotech.
Warsop Infotech Group were awarded £6.300 by Big Lottery Awards For All, to provide a Citizens Advice worker 1 day per week for 12 months from the 1st of April 2016 – 31st March 2017. This service also gives service users the opportunity to access online documents on Citizens Advice Bureau’s website on 2 new Windows 10 pro computers purchased specifically for this project. Local residents will be able to use these computers on Tuesday’s (09.00am - 1.00pm) which is the Citizens Advisors usual day and other days of the week when the advisor is not available. This we hope will allow local residents quicker access to information they need - via the Citizens Advice Website, such as to apply for other online benefits, such as Universal credit and other benefits on the days when advisor is not at the town hall. This is part of Infotech's on-going commitment to provide help for the local community.
£280 was received from Big Warsop towards the cost of 3 new HP Windows 10 Pro laptops purchased. These are to replace some of our older one's which were out of service, due to faulty motherboards & found to be no longer economical to repair. Hopefully when more funds are available - we will be able to replace the rest of our laptops with Windows 10 operating system.
We continue to look for new funding opportunities and new ideas for training to provide in our suite. As the group has developed there have been big changes, but we do hope to keep the friendly and helpful spirit of the Infotech drop-in sessions, where members are always willing to share their knowledge and help each other.
The HP 4550 Laserjet printer was replaced with a second hand unit of identical brand and model as sensors on previous unit failed and actually cheaper to buy a whole second hand unit than to purchase said sensors. This is our main printer for printing out the Warsop Infotech course guides.
We also purchased 4 HP 17" monitors, to replace ageing broken unit and to have back up available in case of further units failing.
Keith Knight: The accountant for which Warsop Infotech Group has used for many years retired (which we wish him all the best for the future) which left us to find a new accountancy firm to do our annual accounts. This we have now done in the form of Susan Holmes.
We purchased (On behalf of) Big Warsop a 17" laptop and set it up ready for use for them.
We are still looking for volunteers and in particular have the roles of: 1. Minute Secretary & 2. Group Treasurer. This as well as general help in running the groups courses and drop in sessions. Contact us via email: firstname.lastname@example.org - Telephone on: 01623 846794 - via the contact us part of our web site: http://www.warsopinfotech.org.uk/contact or in person (during our opening hours) at Warsop Town Hall. Ask for Mike or Simon.