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BESTIE partner, Creative Spark, based in Ireland recently celebrated its 10th anniversary.

Creative Spark is A Place To Work - providing permanent and sector specific workspace, business development support and mentoring on-site,   joint meeting and training rooms and providing the opportunity to network and collaborate.

And, A Place To Learn - the project would provide industry specific training and advisory support services, interdisciplinary courses in innovation, decision-making, and new technology training to stimulate new business opportunities facilitating transferable skills development, with design and innovation in all products and service offerings and programmes tailored to the specific needs of the local community.

Officially launched in November 2012, Creative Spark opened its doors with the goal of providing dedicated creative training and workspace facilities for new and established enterprises in County Louth. To date Creative Spark has supported the creation 198 jobs, 6,808 people have participated in training and the centre makes an estimated local economic contribution of €3.88M annually.

In May of 2014 the Creative Spark Print Studio was launched. The Print Studio was established to provide printmaking facilities, workshops and opportunities for visual artists. Since opening it has had 79 induvial visual artist-members who create and innovate within the studio, and welcomed 48 artists as part of the Artist-in-Residence Programme.

Local creative networks are an important part of Creative Spark’s impact in the community, in particular Louth Craftmark Designers’ Network, a network of 65 designer makers, and Art as Exchange (AAEX), a group of over 40 visual artists who meet and collaborate to provide access to creative participatory arts.

Creative Spark has achieved much in the past ten years from creating and supporting employment, to providing working space to 54 businesses employing 88 people currently, within Creative Spark. Creative Spark is growing and expanding, with the launch of the Creative Spark Downtown Hub in May of 2022 in the centre of Dundalk town and the planned opening of its Enterprise FabLab and Community Café in early 2023.

BESTIE (Juntándonos por la convivencia y la inclusión digital) os presenta a la Fundación Cibervoluntarios, la organización colaboradora del proyecto que se encarga de facilitar espacios (físicos y virtuales) para que se reunan las personas jóvenes, migrantes y mayores de 65 años, interesadas en cubrir sus necesidades con las nuevas tecnologías mediante grupos de trabajo de la comunidad. Llamados, formalmente, Grupos Comunitarios. Además de facilitar los encuentros de las personas que quieran apuntarse, vamos a poner a disposición del público una plataforma de aprendizaje online, con los recursos que puedan servir de apoyo.

El Covid19 ha acelerado el proceso de digitalización en cada aspecto de nuestras vidas. De pronto, nos enfrentamos al uso de herramientas digitales para la educación, en el trabajo, para conectar con las personas, en los servicios de salud, para las actividades culturales, incluso para comprar, acceder al banco y realizar gestiones administrativas.

El crecimiento del mundo digital podría ser una barrera que deja a parte a las personas más vulnerables de la sociedad. La falta de interacción con los medios digitales puede acentuar la desventaja y la exclusión de quienes tienen menos oportunidades. Esto se ve más entre personas adultas mayores, personas migrantes y refugiadas, incluso entre la juventud, donde la falta de habilidades digitales es sinónimo de aislamiento social y pérdida de autonomía. La educación, la formación gratuita en Competencias Digitales, la construcción de comunidades y la colaboración entre generaciones y culturas serán claves en la evolución del proyecto BESTIE.

La Fundación Cibervoluntarios cuenta con una experiencia de 20 años luchando contra la Brecha Digital a través del voluntariado tecnológico y actividades formativas gratuitas en competencias digitales dirigidas a personas mayores, inmigrantes o jóvenes, entre otras. Cibervoluntarios es una ONG española de alcance internacional, creada en 2001 por emprendedoras sociales. Con el fin de promover el uso y conocimiento de la tecnología como medio para cerrar brechas sociales, generar innovación social y empoderamiento ciudadano, favorecer sus derechos y potenciar sus oportunidades a través de las competencias digitales. Nuestro trabajo se basa en la colaboración. La organización cuenta actualmente con una red de 2.000 personas cibervoluntarias y más de 1.500 organizaciones con las que colaboramos de forma directa y habitual. A través de actividades de formación gratuitas, llegamos a más de 60.000 personas al año.

BESTIE (Befriending for social Ties and Digital inclusion) es un nuevo proyecto Erasmus Plus desarrollado por 5 organizaciones localizadas en España, Francia, Irlanda, Dinamarca y Grecia. BESTIE ofrecerá el método más natural y socialmente beneficioso: ¡Encuentros para el intercambio de conocimiento de personas de la comunidad para crear conexiones y resolver dudas tecnológicas! Las organizaciones colaboradoras crearemos entornos de aprendizaje de inclusión digital a través del proyecto planteado, donde cualquier persona está invitada a acudir a los encuentros y desarrollar habilidades digitales y sociales de su propio personal.

¿Cómo beneficiarán las acciones y herramientas BESTIE a las comunidades locales, y el diálogo entre generaciones y culturas, para una transición digital inclusiva?

• BESTIE beneficiará a las personas mayores con pocas oportunidades de adquirir las habilidades digitales para funcionar mejor en un mundo digital cada vez mayor, además de desarrollar lazos sociales con la comunidad, superando las amenazas de soledad y exclusión.

• BESTIE beneficiará a las personas inmigrantes y refugiadas que, al asumir ambos roles de aprendices, mejorarán sus competencias digitales y vínculos sociales, y también aquellas personas migrantes con habilidades digitales más avanzadas pueden ser mentores.

• Las personas jóvenes se beneficiarán al desarrollar sus habilidades de comunicación, liderazgo y tutoría, adquiriendo una reputación como educadoras e implementadoras de apoyo comunitario, además de construir sus redes y aumentar su confianza, lo que conduce a mejores perspectivas de empleo en el futuro y mejores vínculos con la comunidad.

• Todas las herramientas y el trabajo generados se centrarán en promover la cooperación entre las personas de distintas generaciones y culturas de la comunidad local, acercando a personas mayores, migrantes y jóvenes, con la ayuda de educadores y educadoras, para superar la exclusión digital y social de estos colectivos, permitiéndoles trabajar juntos para cerrar la brecha digital.

BESTIE (Befriending for social Ties and Digital inclusion) is happy to introduce Fundación Cibervoluntarios, the partner organization who will co-lead the creation of spaces in which young people, migrants or people over 65 years of age will be able to communicate and share their technological needs: Intergenerational Network Clubs. In addition, all these spaces will be included in an e-Learning platform.

Covid19 has accelerated the digitization of every aspect of our lives. We’ve been facing sudden digital usage in education and work, access to social networks, health services, cultural activities, banking electronic administration or shopping. Our increasingly digital world has the potential to leave behind the most vulnerable of society. The inability to engage with digital media can accentuate disadvantage and exclusion for those with fewer opportunities. This is particularly evident among senior adults, migrants and refugees, even young people where a lack of digital skills is synonymous with social isolation and loss of autonomy. Education, free training in Digital Skills, community building and intergenerational collaboration will be keys in the evolution of BESTIE project. 

Fundacion Cibervoluntarios has a 20-year experience fighting Digital Divide through technological volunteering and free training activities in digital competences addressing older people, migrants or youth, among others. Cibervoluntarios is a Spanish NGO of international scope, created in 2001 by social entrepreneurs in order to promote the use and knowledge of technology as a means to bridge social gaps, generate social innovation and citizen empowerment, favor their rights and enhance their opportunities through digital competences. Our work is based on collaboration. The organization currently has a network of 2,000 cybervolunteers and more than 1,500 organizations with which we collaborate directly and regularly. Through free training activities, we reach over 60,000 persons annually.

BESTIE (Befriending for social Ties and Digital inclusion) is a new Erasmus Plus project partnered by 5 organizations from Spain, France, Ireland, Denmark and Greece. BESTIE will offer the most natural and socially beneficial method: community-based exchange in creating human interpersonal connections! The partners of the project will use the project to create the digital inclusion learning environments in their own organizations and develop digital and social skills of their own staff.

How BESTIE actions and tools will benefit local communities strengthening intergenerational dialogue for an inclusive digital transition?

• BESTIE will benefit seniors with few opportunities to acquire the digital skills for better functioning in an ever increasing digital world, as well as by developing social ties to the community, overcoming threats of loneliness and exclusion.

• BESTIE will benefit migrants & refugees by taking both roles of learners, they will improve their digital competencies and social links, and also those with more advanced digital skills will be mentors.

• Young people will benefit by building their communication skills, leadership and mentorship skills, acquiring a reputation as educators and community support implementers, as well as build their networks and boost their confidence, which leads to better employment prospects in the future and better links to the community.

• All the tools and work generated will focus on evoking cooperation within the community on an intergenerational basis, bringing together seniors, migrants and young people, with the help of adult educators, to overcome the digital and social exclusion of these groups, by allowing them to work together on bridging key skills gaps.

https://www.cibervoluntarios.org/

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