I have to apologise for not having written any blog entries for an entire month. For most of November I have been busy polishing up my front end. Before you complain that that's more information than was required by way of apology, please have a look at the front page of the Catbytes website, and you will see what I am referring to. The website now has a new front page. Hopefully it will be clear that this is an improvement on what went before, in layout, colour scheme and message. If this is the first time you have been to the site, then please believe me that the old one was worse.
This new look is a reflection of a change in direction for Catbytes. I am focussing less on the commercial side of the service. I wasn't getting any cold callers anyway. So it's less about how we can build websites for you and host them. It's more about how we initiate projects to improve digital knowledge and opportunities locally.
Our digital hubs and techy tea clubs have always relied on partnerships, which are core to what we do. However the projects we are involved with haven't come about because other people requested them. In fact, we initiated them them and looked for people to work with to complete them. So I am moving away from the image of Catbytes as a service provider and more to it as a kind of community activism, or intervention, or something like that.
This change from Catbytes as a service to Catbytes as a community campaign are reflected in the new front page. I've got rid of the 0800 number. I've grouped down the work into three main areas: techy teas, digital hubs, and community development. Community development refers to hosting and building websites, but also to the other projects, like the Wellbeing Map, that hopefully will turn into something more substantial next year. It also looks back to the croftonpark.com website, which was a community development project which had mixed success, and which I have learned from.
Website news aside, there was some proper work done this month. We ran a couple of taster sessions at the Lewisham Irish Centre. These were arranged with the help of Vincent Lydon of Community Connections, and Kathleen Sheridan, who runs the centre. We had two sessions, which had a pretty low turn-out. The first had two students, and the second had three. But it takes time to build something like this up. We are budgeting for laptops with these clubs. So part of what we are trying out here are pop-up digital hubs. They are pop up hubs because they will have to be packed away when not in use, unlike the Stanstead Lodge and Ewart Hall hubs. It will be interesting to see how easy to pop up we can make them. The pop up hub (like the non-pop up hubs) is designed to attract job seekers, as opposed to retired people who want to learn digital skills.