Thank you all for pledging to support us. Without your support, ProjectFunction would not be able to accomplish our mission of helping the under-represented & marginalised get into tech.
As you’re all aware, the pandemic has brought about changes within the industry. Some people have started working remotely, and many others have been furloughed. Companies who have the capacity and flexibility to move to remote setup have done so smoothly, whilst those who have been put on furlough have found themselves with more free time.
Meanwhile, ProjectFunction has paused all courses to ensure the safety of its instructors and learners. We’ve also opted-out of running remote courses as it would mean that those without sufficient access to the internet and/or equipment, would not be able to to participate. However, this does not mean that ProjectFunction has gone into hibernation — quite the contrary; our focus has been looking at ways to best use our position, influence, experience, and connections, to enhance the project overall. As a result, we have come up with bigger goals that could help improve the situation for many, by making the course more accessible.
With this in mind, our Team has grown to align with these growing goals. We have refined our team structures to include a dedicated communications officer, and an advisor. Additionally, we have briefed all team members on the upcoming plans and our new goals for the year. In doing this, every team member is able to focus on a specific aspect within ProjectFunction, allowing us to continue to work towards our overall mission, and enabling us to focus on new projects that further improve ProjectFunction and Nottingham as a whole.
While our mission remains the same; to help the under-represented and marginalised get into tech, we have defined some immediate and long-term goals that we are confident would have a positive impact on the tech community. Our biggest focus for this year is to make our courses even more accessible through the introduction of our AccessForAll programme.
This programme will enable us to purchase resources for our learners to ensure that anyone who wants to take part in our courses can do so, even if they do not have access to the internet, or their own computers. Over the last few iterations of ProjectFunction, there has been a clear pattern that we have seen; around 30% of the learners who joined ProjectFunction either didn’t have access to a laptop, or had to borrow ones from the university library.
This meant that they had difficulties due to not having administrative rights to install the required software. As ProjectFunction continues to grow, it is important for us to focus on making our courses more accessible to those without the necessary equipment.
The AccessForAll programme will focus on providing learners who need equipment with the following:
- A Windows 10 Laptop
- An Internet dongle
- A mouse
To do this, ProjectFunction plans to raise over £5000 to buy the necessary equipment, and to make sure that each learner is not hindered from participating in our courses.
We believe that all learners, regardless of their race, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, religion, or financial position, should have access to the resources they need to take part in our courses, so that no learner is disadvantaged or discouraged from taking part.
The aim is to start our next course (4th wave) by October, 2020. Even if the pandemic situation prevents us from running them in person, we will be better equipped to run remote courses as needed. While we prefer delivering courses in person, we are equally preparing to deliver our next course remotely if current circumstances persist, to ensure everyone has access.
Once we reach this target, we will start to direct our focus at finding a permanent home for ProjectFunction in Nottingham. Currently, and for the past 2 years, we have been located at NTU. However, this proved to be challenging at times, as we were limited by the university’s closing times, and occasional double bookings. This meant that learners would often find themselves lost trying to find the new room, or find themselves unable to access certain parts of the building where the course was being run. This was especially the case for learners who were not NTU students and had no student card access into the facility.
From our research of centrally-located, meeting spaces in Nottingham that meet the accessibility and size requirements to run our courses, it will cost us around £500 per month to find a suitable home for ProjectFunction where we can host our sessions for our learners.
How you can help:
You can amplify our message and help us fulfil our mission to reach further corners by spreading our messages within the companies you work at (especially senior leadership), the friends you have (and the friends they have and onwards), and the people you think would benefit from our courses. It will take more than support from the people we directly know, to make this happen.
We have set up a few ways in which you can help us in this endeavour.
- If you are able to make a longer term commitment through a recurring pledge to support our work, you can become a patron by visiting our Patreon page (if you are already a patron, refer your friend to sign up!).
- Alternatively, if you (or your friends) are unable to make monthly donations but would still like to help us make a difference, we have one-off sponsorship packs available for purchase.
- If you could convince your company to support us, there are larger sponsorship opportunities available. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- We also accept sponsorship in-kind. If you feel you or your company could help us reach our goals, get in touch with us at email@example.com
- If you are personally unable to financially support us, but would still like to help us make a bigger impact, retweet our tweets, share our posts, and spread the word!
Once you are on board, spread the word; tell your family and friends about ProjectFunction and what we do, and let them know how they can support us too. If each one of you could persuade two people to sign up by becoming a patron or sponsor, and they did the same, we would reach our goal in next to no time.
We are available on the following platforms: