The E-Volve Project was a pilot project involving 25 communities throughout the South-East of Ireland. The project commenced in February 2007 and came to an end in June 2008. The aim of the project was to introduce new and existing Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to support the participating Muintir Community Councils and Community Alert Groups.
Marion Sinnott, E-Volve Project Co-ordinator for Muintir na Tíre, held a series of workshops to identify the support required by Community Groups and then proceeded to address those needs with the groups involved. The contribution of the volunteers was invaluable in identifying the ICT requirements of the groups and Muintir na Tíre would like to thank all participating communities for their involvement and support.
One of the aims of the project was that each of the communities would have their own website which they would be able to update themselves. Template websites were designed and community training sessions in web development and maintenance took place with many participating community groups throughout the South-East.
Group SMS training also took place. The ability to contact several people at once by sending just one text, e.g. reminders to attend meetings, informing people a meeting had been cancelled etc. was warmly welcomed and viewed as a great time saver by many volunteers.
As part of the E-Volve project a web-based Volunteer Timebank was also developed. This initiative was a response to feedback from communities which highlighted that they were finding it difficult to recruit volunteers to help them with their work. This is an online resource where individuals can register their interest in volunteering with groups in their locality. The idea is to match people’s abilities and skills with the relevant group providing a pool of volunteers to be called on where necessary.
Networking and Information Exchange was also encouraged. All of the communities involved were encouraged to keep in regular contact with each other through their websites, email, newsletters and texts to facilitate the exchange of information and provide networking opportunities.
A similar project was undertaken in the Gwynedd region of North Wales and both the Irish and Welsh projects worked together and shared information in order to provide a solution-focused approach. In May 2007, the Irish E-Volve team travelled to Caernarfon in Wales, to hold a series of meetings with the Welsh team, representatives from Caring Organisations and the Welsh Local Authorities. These meetings enabled the exchange of ideas and highlighted disparities between the projects. For example, the infrastructure for Broadband availability and Mobile Phone coverage in Northern Wales appeared to be far more advanced than here in Ireland.
The E-Volve Project proved to be mutually beneficial to both Muintir na Tíre and our Welsh partners whereby we promoted the use of ICT to support voluntary organisations in the provision of services to elderly and disabled groups.
To visit some of the Community websites developed under the E-Volve Project please click here