In 2019 the Government Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) worked with the Office for Civil Society to commission a number of digital leadership projects around the UK. The aim was to provide charities and similar organisations with innovative skills training for their leadership teams. Cosmic were successful in receiving funding, allowing us to develop our Charities In the Digital Age programme (CIDA).
In the first quarter of 2019 Cosmic worked with 10 leading regional charities, including Age UK, Exeter Leukaemia Fund and Devon Air Ambulance, providing executive level training to their senior leadership teams and trustees. Each charity put forward 10 members of the leadership team, attending 3 full days of training (per charity) and focussing on a number of real-time projects and challenges. Cosmic’s trainers guided the 100 learners through a number of modules, encouraging the charities to focus on their Digital vision and strategy, whilst exploring how technology can benefit their staff, volunteers, processes, operations and ultimately, their beneficiaries.
One of those charities was Plymouth Music Zone (PMZ): an award-winning charity that believes passionately in the power of music to reach out and help transform the lives of some of the most vulnerable children, young people and adults across Plymouth and beyond. Making use of their music education centre and high-tech facilities, PMZ work with people and music to help change lives for the better. They now support over 1000 disadvantaged children, young people and vulnerable adults with over 50 weekly activities delivered by up to 25 music leaders.
PMZ enthusiastically signed up to the CIDA digital leadership programme, with ten of their senior leadership team attending the course. CEO Debbie Geraghty reflects on the training they received and the developments made over the last year: “We were very clear from the outset that we wanted as many of the PMZ team as possible to take part in the training. We wanted people from all levels of the organisation to go through a process together as we felt ‘buy in’ would be key to any successful future implementation. Creating a Digital Strategy together was the original aim but in fact it gave us so much more.”
“The 3 days of the course were comprehensive; yet the trainer was still able to flex to our own needs and level of understanding to ensure it was continually engaging.”
A year on, we caught up with Debbie to find out how they are moving forward with the lessons learned: “We wish to continue to strengthen our remote working practices to allow us to keep being flexible when required. We still need to spend time understanding our ‘customer journeys’ and how we could use technology to make those more ‘frictionless’. Indeed, the word ‘frictionless’ became the most commonly used word following the digital training.”
“We are now looking at how we can use digital technologies to reach some of the most isolated participants. We are already using technology within our music sessions to increase access for many groups. We want to explore how people can have a digital window on our world as either a resource in itself or as a first step to coming to see us.”
It was certainly a fun experience working with PMZ! We wish them every success for the future.