Project #: 465651

"604 Connect!" - VolNet Work Plan

Detailed Project Work Plan

Project Overview

The structure of the delivery agency will consist of three components: the Management Committee, a Community Advisory Committee and a Project Manager (appendix 1).

The Management Committee (appendix 2) consisting of the core Delivery Agency partners and the Project Manager will be responsible for all decisions regarding implementation of the VolNet package. A Community Advisory Committee has met once to offer community based advice and advocate for the community at large. The structure, agenda, minutes and human resources are attached (appendix 3 - 5). The Community Advisory Committee will offer advice through the Project Manager to the Management Committee.

The Project Manager has primary responsibility for project management and will take direction from the Management Committee. The Project Manager will be responsible for and supervise all project activities, program delivery, appropriate record keeping and reporting. The Project Manager will report to VolNet at the end of each calendar month by email with the current group tracking database and a one-page progress report. The Project Manager will also participate in delivery agency network activities including on-line discussions and will forward information throughout the management structure as appropriate.

Additional human resources will include the following paid staff positions: Project Co-ordinator, Trainers, Help-desk Co-ordinator and Administrative Assistant. Also Volunteer staff positions will assist delivery of the VolNet Service Package where appropriate. Positions will include assistant trainers and installers, office, phone and email support.

A Gantt chart representing and overview of how the project will be organized was developed by the Management Team as part of the planning process. It will be used to provide a framework for implementation phase decisions and strategy (appendix 6).

Communication Protocol

A communication infrastructure will be established to ensure that all announcements and information about project activities reaches all groups that are participating in the project. During the first part of the Implementation Phase, communication will largely be using mail, fax and phone. As the groups get connected, email backed up by web based information will displace mail, fax and phone as the primary methods of communication. For instance, Applied Skills workshops will be announced via an email list that will only include those groups which have received Basic Skills Training and have their computer installed and configured. A web page will also be kept up to date with all workshop information. Eventually, the email list will include all participating groups.

Enhancing ISP capacity

Internet account contracts will be developed for the two hundred groups to receive the VolNet Service Package. While accounts have been reserved for these groups, the ISP policy demands that all users sign a user agreement. The contracts will allow the activation of the group's Internet account and may be signed at the time of computer installation.

Enhanced help and support procedures will be implemented for groups calling Vancouver CommunityNet. This work will be conducted during the early part of the Implementation Phase before computer installations have occurred and services are needed. A comprehensive menu of assistance to callers who are having access level problems will be installed on a voice mail system attached to the help desk phone line. Callers will also be able to request fax copies of help pages on demand and at any hour of the day.

Any changes to the server and modem pool for groups will be made at an early stage in the Implementation Phase. Any additional services and staff skills development will be scheduled for completion prior to computer installation at group locations.

 

Technology Options

The primary technology options available to groups will be between new computers purchased through the national supplier and refurbished computers acquired and upgraded through the work of the "604 Connect!" delivery agency consortium. However, strategies will be developed for handling other requests. These will take the form of reply policies, protocols and policies on what to refer to external agencies. For instance, this might apply to requests for Macintosh computers. These will be made available through the refurbishing process if the call for used equipment donations provides suitable equipment. Otherwise no provision will be made for supplying or training on Macintosh computer equipment.

Some future groups may wish to use text-based access to the Internet or adaptive technologies, which depend on comprehensive text service. A strategy for providing these technologies will be developed on a case by case basis as they arise. Furthermore, strategies will be developed for handling language specific requests and other issues external to "604 Connect!" such that even if the project is unable to meet some needs, groups will be given full information and directed to resources which will be useful to them.

 

VolNet Service package - refurbished computers

Overview of implementation

The following section outlines how the "604 Connect!" project will deliver services to the 200 voluntary sector groups qualified in the Assessment Phase. "604 Connect!" has developed a delivery structure which integrates both staff and Management Committee resources into a team for each of the implementation functions – acquisition and storage, refurbishing of used computers, installation and testing.

A project management system will be developed to ensure that all functions are coordinated in a timely manner. This project management system will be available by download to all staff and Management Team members so that information is transparent and up-to-date. Key components of this project management system are:

  • The schedule of installations
  • The database of used computers
  • The not for profit database

The schedule of installations will be developed and managed by the Project Manager. It will take into account expected installation times, human resources required for an installation, and hardware required. It will generate a refurbishing schedule.

The database of used computers will support the project management and track the refurbished computers. As each computer passes through the "604 Connect!" projects, this database will document:

  • solicitation of used computers
  • responses to those solicitations
  • computers acquired – in storage at the United Way or Tradeworks
  • status of the computer on acquisition – what work needs to be done
  • destination (not for profit agency, parts, scrap) of the computer
  • assignment of the computer to a voluntary sector group

The voluntary organization database of participating groups is that database completed by the assessment phase. This database contains the organization's key contact, who will be the person responsible for coordinating all VolNet interactions within the voluntary sector organization.

Acquisition and storage of used computers

This function will be co-managed by the Project Manager and the Management Team's representative from the United Way. A call for used computers will be developed, and distributed through the United Way network, as well as the networks of the other project partners.

It is anticipated that a large percentage of the used computers to be acquired by "604 Connect!" will come through the United Way. These computers will be collected by the United Way at its depot, and shipped to the refurbishing location – Tradeworks Training Society - by the United Way as determined by the refurbishing schedule.

Used computers identified through other networks will be handled directly by "604 Connect!" When someone indicates that they wish to donate a used computer, "604 Connect!" will qualify that computer to see if it is appropriate for the project. If so, "604 Connect!" will pickup the computer, and store it at Tradeworks Training Society for further handling as determined by the refurbishing schedule.

Refurbishing of computers

The Tradeworks Training Society will refurbish all used computers. Tradeworks will use two of its in-house projects – the Computer Refurbishing Training Project, and the Bistro Youth Community Action Project – as its principle resources for refurbishing computers. It may also call on other Downtown Eastside Vancouver community projects – such as Dreamscape computer refurbishing – to assist as required by the refurbishing schedule.

The Tradeworks Refurbishing Project Manager will be responsible for all aspects of the "604 Connect!" refurbishing. This will include:

  • receiving used computers (either from the United Way or other sources)
  • documentation computer status
  • assigning refurbishing resources to computers
  • assigning refurbishing computers to future installations

All refurbished computers will be Y2K compliant. The technology (software or hardware) used to fulfill this compliance will be at the discretion of the Tradeworks Refurbishing Manager. All refurbished computers will have a one-month warranty.

Computer installation and testing

Computer installation and testing (herein referred to as installation) will be managed by "604 Connect!" staff at VCN. The Project Manager will develop a schedule of installations. This schedule will consider the priority of the installation, hours of operation of the voluntary sector organization and availability of install components and crews

Each installation will be coordinated with the voluntary sector organization's key contact person.

Two categories of installations will be considered. Priority one installations are those which are straightforward. Priority one installations will have equipment, whether new or refurbished, available to install and/or configure, have a telephone line and location for the equipment ready, have completed basic skills training if needed and have group members available for training immediately after configuration. Priority one installations will be assigned a three hour window (AM or PM) for completing the task

All other installations will be Priority two. Priority one will be scheduled first – this will maximize the number of installations done early in the project and hence increase our learning so that future installations are easier. Priority two installations will be included as the schedule permits and at the discretion of the program manager.

The installation schedule will be developed to maximize notice given to both the installation crews and the voluntary sector agency receiving the computer.

Installation crews will consist of one paid staff and one trained volunteer. Volunteer Vancouver will manage the recruitment of these volunteers. Training will be done by "604 Connect!"

Installation protocol will be as follows.

  • Installation to be scheduled by the Project Co-ordinator with consent of the voluntary sector organization key contact
  • This scheduling will:

a) Trigger the Refurbishing Manager to assign a refurbished computer to this installation

b) Trigger assignment of an installation crew

  • Two days prior to installation, staff will confirm the installation with the voluntary sector organization's key contact. Failure to reach the key contact will cause rescheduling of the installation and may result in this organization being allocated Priority Two. Similar consequences may result if the not for profit is unable to accommodate the scheduled installation time.
  • On the day of the installation, installation crews will pickup all components required for that day's installations from Tradeworks Training Society.
  • Installation crews will arrive at the site on time or inform the key contact of any delays.
  • The key contact will be on hand to facilitate the installation. This will include leading the installation crew to the agreed upon install site, ensuring that all organization staff are aware of the installation and not in the way, as well as responding to needs of the installation crew

The onsite installation will take a maximum of three hours. If at any time during the install it becomes apparent that the install may take longer than three hours, the install crew will consult with the key contact to determine if:

  • The install crew can extend their stay (subject to the install schedule and other constraints)
  • The install crew can return at a future time – every effort will be made to pick a time in the near future but NO guarantee can be made that this will happen

During the installation, the install crew will perform the following three functions:

  • Set up all hardware
  • Test all preloaded software
  • Configure and test the Internet connection

The key contact must be present for the entire install. Ideally, a technical person from the not for profit will also be available for the entire install to observe and learn how to perform the above three functions. This will ensure that some in-house trouble shooting expertise is developed.

The installation may also include basic training in Internet use. This training will review the Basic Internet Skills and provide practical application of the skills learned to the particular group. This direct link between the voluntary sector organization's focus and resources provided with on-site training will leave behind a tangible motivation to integrate use of the Internet with other work activities of the organization. This training will take place after all the above testing is completed. This training must be attended by at least the key contact person and the technical person – ideally one or more staff members who have been identified as potential users will also be in attendance.

This training will focus on:

  • Dialing up and connecting to the Internet
  • Email basics – sending and receiving
  • Web browsing basics - and using search tools
  • Questions of particular interest to the organization

Where time is available, the training will also facilitate the key contact or other users to:

  • Practice connecting to the Internet
  • Set up a folder and address book for "604 Connect!" information
  • Subscribe to the project email list and another of interest to the group
  • Place bookmarks for the project web page and others of interest
  • Subscribe to Newsgroups of interest to the organization

At the end of an installation, the key contact person will review the install checklist with the install crew and initial those items that have been completed. If there is further install work, basic training to be done or other outstanding issues, this will be highlighted on the install checklist.

Completed install checklists will be returned on a regular basis to "604 Connect!" staff for updating of the voluntary organization database. Install staff should explicitly draw any uncompleted install or training work to the attention of the Project Manager so that rescheduling can be expedited

 

VolNet Service Package - New Computers

The Project Manager will liaise with the authorized national computer supplier to set up a new computer order system. This opportunity will be used to confirm ordering details including official name, cost of equipment and delivery, mailing addresses and other delivery requirements. The Project Manager will then draw up a standard contract form to be used by participating groups to order, purchase and ensure correct delivery of new equipment. Purchases will be made through direct contact between the participating group and the national computer supplier.

Voluntary sector groups that choose the new computer option will be sent a standard order form contract kit according to a schedule developed by the project team when prioritizing implementations. The group will order the computer hardware package directly from the national supplier using the provided contract, an addressed envelope and a cheque for the required group contribution to the purchase of hardware. The group will notify "604 Connect!" as soon as computer hardware has been ordered and again when a delivery date has been confirmed with details of the dates and times. If it is feasible, configuration and on-site training will be scheduled to take place immediately after installation. If equipment configuration and training is not scheduled for the same day as installation, the group will notify "604 Connect!" as soon as the computer equipment has been delivered to trigger the scheduling of on-site configuration of equipment and training for group members.

The hardware supplier will deliver and install the computer equipment at the voluntary sector group’s location under the same conditions as with refurbished computer installations. At least the key contact must be present for the entire installation. If training is to take place on the same day a technical person and others who plan to use the equipment should be present also.

Upon successful installation, configuration and on-site training, as evidenced by the install checklist, the organization database will be updated to reflect the progress of the group and its readiness for applied skills training and workshops.

Applied Skills Development

"604 Connect!" has developed an innovative set of training programs to address the three areas of need it has identified. Basic Internet Skills development training will be available to all participating groups. There will also be two further components of applied skills development delivery to groups which have attended basic skills development and are connected to the Internet. General drop-in workshops for groups will be held on a weekly basis and specific topic related workshops will be offered to participants on an occasional basis and be dependent on prior reservation.

 

"604 Connect!" would like to have Basic Internet Skills attendance and connectivity as pre-requisites for attendance of applied skills development training. However, it is understood that some groups may be connected later during the Implementation Phase, so a flexible approach will be taken to attendance.

Basic Skills Development Training

Materials and evidence from the Assessment Phase discussions with eligible groups will be analyzed to extract recurring requests, needs and issues. Once a comprehensive picture of group needs has been established, it will be compared with the national basic Internet skills curriculum materials to ensure compatibility and comprehensiveness of training. Any evident gaps in training will be noted to ensure that references or supplementary materials to address these topics are provided in training support materials generated by "604 Connect!" Other resources and materials will be added to the resource package from time to time throughout the project to ensure that training resources reflect voluntary sector group needs. Existing training tools and resources will be integrated with materials to be made available where they will complement resources provided with basic skills training.

An online resource kit will be developed for use throughout the Implementation Phase and remain available as a community resource after project completion. This web page will be the online starting point for groups participating in "604 Connect!" and will include links to all training curricula, online resources and tools. It will also provide links to the "604 Connect!" email list and other resources that are of specific interest to groups during the Implementation Phase.

A detailed training needs support checklist will be generated from the basic skills materials. The checklist will be used to help assess the training needs of individuals within organizations to be served by "604 Connect!" Trainers able to deliver the package will be identified and contracted to provide the basic skills training curriculum to groups according to a schedule developed by the Project Co-ordinator.

The Project Co-ordinator will identify training labs for basic skills curriculum delivery and confirm bookings upon approval of the Implementation Phase. Basic Skills Training session times and facility locations will be communicated to all participant groups. Each voluntary sector group will be able to send 2 people to receive basic skills training. Reservations for positions in a particular workshop will be made in advance of the workshop and the schedule of groups will be maintained by the Project Co-ordinator.

Two days prior to basic skills training workshops, the participants will be reminded of their reservation, the time of the workshop and the location.

 

General Applied Skills Development

Weekly workshops will be available to participating groups to help build their capacity through using Internet based tools that meet their needs. Groups will be encouraged to attend one or more of these workshops until they are comfortable with using the medium. The workshops will provide groups with an overview of the ways in which they can integrate use of the Internet to voluntary sector work on a regular basis. Groups in attendance will review the basic skills learned at earlier workshops and explore some of the ways in which groups have used these tools to better achieve their goals. Skills such as using discussion groups, email lists and developing web pages will be introduced from the perspective of a publisher or information provider rather than from the earlier user perspective presented in basic skills workshops. The purpose behind this approach is to expand how participants look at the Internet, from that of regular users to non-profit developers of content an information. (appendix 7)

Specific Applied Skills Workshops

Capacity building workshops on a range of specific topics will also be provided to all participating groups. These will offer an opportunity for intensive learning of specific new skills and personal networking with representatives of other groups. These workshops will vary in duration from 3 hours to a full day and be either in a computer lab or other facility as needed. The workshops will take place throughout the Implementation Phase and will be offered to all participating groups who have received Basic Internet Skills training. Groups that are interested in a particular workshop will be able to reserve places for that workshop. Popular workshops will be repeated at later scheduled dates to accommodate overflow and those who were unable to attend earlier sessions (appendix 8).

The workshops will address three areas of need:

  1. Content development: Specific workshops will provide more in-depth training in web page development, email, list management and related activities. They will encourage more structured opportunities to develop content during the workshop with the immediate support of workshop leaders who are familiar with the media, its potential and its limitations.
  2. The needs of particular isolated sectors: workshops will be offered to address the needs of particular sets of groups with shared interests such as women’s groups, poverty issue groups and multi-cultural groups.
  3. Of interested to all voluntary sector groups: workshops of interest to most groups and tackle important day-to-day functions such as research, volunteer recruitment, membership development and fundraising.

 

Support to Voluntary Organizations

A detailed strategy for ongoing support for voluntary organizations will be consolidated after further review of Assessment Phase information. The Management Team will review Assessment Phase records of voluntary sector group experience and stated needs to ascertain the most effective delivery methods. It is anticipated that ongoing support will include the 5 core components listed below. A Help-desk co-ordinator will be recruited to help implement and organize technical support for participating groups. The Project Manager will train the co-ordinator in the specific technologies that will be encountered on a regular basis and assist the Help-desk co-ordinator to develop appropriate facilities for volunteer technical support, policies and procedures relating to help-desk staff.

Support services will be thoroughly tested to ensure that most common barriers and problems will be promptly and appropriately addressed in manner satisfactory to all. Common barriers will most likely include language issues, changing the computer hardware configuration, software conflicts, adding new hardware and otherwise altering the configuration of the computer. New support issues arising and their resolution will be documented to leave in place an increased capacity to respond to similar problems. A feedback mechanism will be implemented to ensure that the technical needs of volunteer groups receive appropriate attention and response by support staff and to assure quality of service is maintained.

The help-desk co-ordinator will work with current and new volunteers to ensure appropriate assistance is available to groups in need of help. Volunteer Vancouver will assist in the recruitment of technical help volunteers. Volunteers will be trained by the help desk co-ordinator.

After participating groups have attended training and had their computer equipment installed and configured, ongoing support will be provided in five core ways:

  1. Volunteer help teams will be available if necessary to provide on-site help with computer installation and access problems.
  2. Weekly drop-in workshops will provide ample opportunity for question and answer sessions to allow groups to get help with their particular problem
  3. A help desk for groups will take questions and inquiries in person, by phone, by voice mail or by email and respond appropriately.
  4. A regular mailing to announce new workshops, tools and solutions will be sent to participating groups.
  5. Help materials and frequently asked questions will be made available online and on a comprehensive phone help menu system to allow some self-directed approaches to resolving problems.

 

Outreach to Priority Groups

One of the goals of Vancouver Community Network is to encourage the broadest possible participation of community groups in both making their information available on VCN and in using VCN to meet their Internet related communication needs. To achieve this goal VCN has set in place structures to help groups overcome barriers to using the Internet. "604 Connect!" will build on those structures to ensure priority groups are the first targets of outreach.

A multi-approach strategy will be used to reach out to priority groups throughout the life of the program. "604 Connect!" will continue to liaise with larger networking agencies which service priority groups. Priority groups that have taken advantage of the program will be encouraged to network with other groups in their sector to share their experiences. They will also be encouraged to provide information on other priority groups in their sector that will form the basis of further outreach. Once they have received the VolNet Service Package, priority groups will be encouraged and assisted to publicize their success stories in their community's media.

If groups are unable to receive the VolNet Service Package through a change in circumstances, an attempt will be made to fill those vacancies with priority groups. Furthermore, VCN will continue its outreach to priority groups through workshops, public speaking and conferences targeted at those communities.

Strategy to Accommodate New Groups

It is anticipated that the eligibility status of some groups will change during the Implementation Phase so that occasional groups drop off the list of those to receive the VolNet Service Package. In these cases the database will be updated accordingly of changes with a brief explanation of history and reasons for the change.

"604 Connect!" will operate a continuous intake of new applicants throughout the program, if groups are needed, while actively targeting priority areas as opportunities arise. As new groups apply to receive the VolNet Service Package they will be assessed for eligibility as they arrive and added to the database of organizations accordingly. Monthly database reports and one page progress reports to VolNet will identify groups with changing status and new applicants. It is anticipated that new applicants will be absorbed into the program as expeditiously as possible to facilitate their maximum benefit.

Capacity to Deliver Services in Both Official Languages

"604 Connect!" will deliver the VolNet Service Package in French through a partnership with La Federation des Francophones de la Colombie-Britannique and has offered support for its application to VolNet (appendix 9). The Federation will, as a Sub-Delivery Agency of "604 Connect!" is well positioned to provide language-specific components of the package to groups that choose the French language option. A letter of understanding for support to the Sub-Delivery Agency is in the process of being drawn up.

"604 Connect!" will provide connectivity and hardware as applicable, installation if refurbished computers are needed, and assistance with designing and delivering other aspects of the program as requested by the Federation. Currently three or more groups which use French language materials have been assessed as eligible to receive the VolNet Service Package. The Federation has set a target of identifying a further fifty voluntary sector groups which primarily use the French language.

Serving Groups in Rural Areas

The Vancouver local dialing area (appendix 10) consists of a number of smaller, more isolated communities (appendix 11), but all are within easy reach of the city. The following are some strategies to serve these communities:

  • Some basic skills training sessions will be held at locations outside of the city to offer a convenient opportunity for nearby organizations.
  • Computers will be installed at the group’s workplace regardless of location and on-site training will be offered to all those who are available and likely to use the equipment.
  • Applied skills workshops will be offered outside of the city if demand warrants it and appropriate facilities are available.
  • Ongoing support to those in rural areas will be provided via email and phone.
  • "604 Connect!" will form two volunteer help teams that will be able to make visits to locations throughout the delivery area if on-site help is required.

"604 Connect!" has already reached out to isolated communities through using local media and other local institutions including: municipal halls, libraries, shopping malls, community and recreation centres, sports halls, grocery stores, community notice boards and word of mouth. It is anticipated that ongoing strategy for rural outreach will build on earlier successes.

 

Partnerships and Leverage

Training

Applied skills training workshops related to particular areas of expertise will be developed and delivered in partnership with trainers from other agencies at reduced costs to VolNet by taking advantage of shared interests. For instance, Vancouver Cultural Alliance will help offer applied skills specific to arts and culture groups, ONE Northwest will offer workshops in the use of the Internet to support the work of environmental groups and a collaboration with PovNet will provide an intensive workshop on using the Internet as an advocacy tool.

Evaluation

It is intended that evaluation will be both summative and formative, taking place throughout the implementation and evaluation phases of the project (appendix 12). Evaluation will be conducted by the Centre for Policy Research in Science and Technology at Simon Fraser University. Funding to support this extended evaluation model is being negotiated with BC Advanced Systems Institute under their Industrial Partnership Program.

Refurbishing

Tradeworks Training Society, a member of the management team, is a focal point for skills development in computer repair and maintenance. In addition to its computer refurbishing project, it also supports a number of other related projects which will be used for computer refurbishing resources.

  1. It is home to the Bistro Project - a computer skills development program for youth. This project is part of the BC Government's Youth Community Action Program (YCAP), where youth build skills and do community work in exchange for tuition credits.
  2. It works with Dreamscape computers - a not for profit at nearby RayCam community Centre which provide refurbished computers to homes with school age children in the downtown eastside.

Equipment

Progress has already been made towards acquiring used computers for refurbishing to go to recipient groups. Also two computers have been donated by the United Way to the "604 Connect!" team office. It is anticipated that further donations will build the "604 Connect!" infrastructure to support voluntary sector groups.

 

Capacity Building

"604 Connect!" will pursue partnerships with other capacity building projects

among isolated community groups. The Connecting Communities Conference (September 24/25 '99 in East Vancouver), sponsored by jobSTART and the Simon Fraser University Graduate Communications Department, is focusing on development of information technology capacity among agencies in East Vancouver. "604Connect!" will help provide hardware, connectivity and training to organizations participating in the conference

Opportunities for the Delivery Agency Network

The primary work of the delivery agency network will be information sharing. While there are many regional, sectoral and structural differences in the work of each delivery agency, there are also many similarities and lessons to be shared. Delivery agencies will use the network to present information on local issues and barriers encountered in facilitating the use of the Internet by voluntary sector groups. Shared information will include success stories and best practices as well as detailed accounts of the barriers experienced to program delivery.

The delivery agency network could also be utilized for assessment and field testing of tools and initiatives for the voluntary sector especially ones that include Internet based components. The network could make tools of use to the voluntary sector widely available to groups across the country. In some instances even Internet based tools may be most appropriately made available locally with local support an integral component.

Thirdly, delivery agencies, through the delivery agency network, could be contracted to deliver federal program components to voluntary sector groups, especially where the program components are related to information technology.

Finally, the delivery agency network could also ensure that the interests of voluntary sector groups, in relation to Internet related technologies, are given voice and shared with other delivery agencies through taking on advocacy or liaison role.

Voluntary Organizations to be served

Database of Voluntary Sector Groups

A database of groups (appendix 13) has been compiled to reflect the groups that have applied to "604 Connect!" during the Assessment Phase to receive the VolNet Service Package. Many other groups have been contacted both directly and indirectly but have not applied for the package. Over 2000 groups were contacted with information about the VolNet package.

Overview of Groups Approached

 

Outreach to Voluntary Sector Organizations was through the member groups and sub-agencies of larger networking agencies in the Lower Mainland (see appendix 14). Some of these agencies participated in the Community Advisory Committee either in person or through assisting with community based advice and promotion of the VolNet program opportunity. Others are Delivery Agency consortium partners. Some outreach to voluntary sector organizations was approached through the local electronic and print media. Some success was had with radio interviews and print media (appendix 15). Information on VolNet, "604 Connect!" and the application process has been made available on the Web to encourage those who do have Internet access to share the opportunity with groups they know of that are not using the Internet (appendix 16).

Applications for the VolNet Service Package have arrived steadily since the opportunity was first announced. However, at this date the target of 200 eligible organizations has not yet been reached. Some components of outreach through networking agencies are still being making their way through their distribution channels so it is anticipated that applications will continue. Some distribution channels were not entirely successful and an opportunity to re-approach those isolated sectors would likely lead to further interest and applications. While there has been some interest from seniors, aboriginal, disability and multicultural organizations, these areas warrant further outreach. This extended outreach could be integrated with the first part of the Implementation Phase and achieve the target quickly.

Eligible Organizations:

These groups clearly meet the intentions of the VolNet program and will benefit greatly from the VolNet Service Package. However, a few words must be said about Internet access and connectedness in the Vancouver region. Many public libraries in the region have public access terminals and many of those allow web based email access these are used by some people in some groups. Many training and other programs have been used by individuals to establish a web site and some of these are for organizations. For example, the "604 Connect!" assessment found groups that have at one time had a skilled volunteer or Board member who set up accounts and a web page for the group but that this connectivity was not integrated with the organizations activities even.

For a voluntary sector organization to have an integrated Internet strategy, reliable convenient access is required on-site and on a computer that is readily available for that purpose. For the connectivity and use to be sustainable it should be reliant on the voluntary sector organization's resources rather than on another organization or individual's goodwill.

 

A number of organizations have been assessed as eligible but have unusual and particular circumstances. For example, two organizations have total budgets that exceed the limit but these funds are not available for discretionary use and their operating budgets are very small. Three other organizations are currently in the process of Provincial non-profit registration, so while their status is pending, it is anticipated in time to receive VolNet Service Package delivery. Some groups are clearly eligible but due to their isolation are slow in organizing their support materials and responding to requests.

A further factor influencing the outcome of the Assessment Phase has been the three-week strike affecting social service agencies in the Lower Mainland. Many of these agencies deal with disability issues and include individual, home and adult support programs. Strike or job action on the part of the BC Government Employees Union, the Hospital Employees Union and the Health Sciences Association had a negative impact on people answering phones, checking email and mail.

Ineligible Organizations

Very few clearly ineligible organizations applied to "604 Connect!" The program was seen as being for groups in need so many which doubted their eligibility simply did not apply. Some groups saw VolNet as a way to get a public or member access terminal to complement their existing infrastructure. In general most groups who did apply talked with VolNet staff before submitting their application so enquiry's that were not likely to be eligible often went no further.

Database Overview

  • the name of each organization to be served - (appendix 17)
  • the total number of urban organizations - 167
  • the total number of rural organizations - 13
  • the number of new computers to be purchased - 115 (approx.)
  • the total number of Internet accounts needed - 200 (in near future)
  • a summary description of other equipment needed

There have been a number of applications from organizations dealing with disability issues. We have not been able to fully assess adaptive technology needs of all of these organizations but some will definitely be required. We are still soliciting information, but two examples might be "NBRS - Voice" which provides time sensitive print media material to visually impaired Canadians that requires text to sound technology and "Pacific Disabled Women's Network" who require special keyboard, mouse and voice recognition software to enable multiple users. Most requests have been for assistive devices for the visually impaired, such as one Braille printer, however there have also been requests for new Macintosh computer, modems, memory, scanners and printers. There have also been a number of requests for software such as talking screen reader, large print and grade 2 Braille programs.

  • total number of organizations needing basic Internet skills development - 200

Almost all organizations have requested training. "604 Connect!" would like to be able to offer basic skills Internet training to 2 people from each organization to ensure a degree of sustainability in the integrated us of the Internet.

  • a summary description of the types of organizations being served (i.e. the group, region or sector targeted, priority groups included).

Eligible groups consist of a wide range of voluntary sector organizations from the Lower Mainland of BC. All are within the Vancouver local dialing area. Over 25% of the eligible groups fall into the VolNet priority category by reason of their isolation.

Financial Proposal

(contact 640connect@vcn.bc.ca for financial information)