A cash-strapped community café which provides a vital resource for job-seekers in Salford has received a much needed upgrade.
Housing association Salix Homes, which owns 8,500 properties across central Salford, and its partner contractor A Connolly have come to the rescue of Ordsall Community Café on the South Ordsall estate and upgraded its IT suite.
The IT suite is used every day by the unemployed and local job seekers to improve their computer skills and apply for jobs online, but the equipment had become outdated and not fit for purpose.
Salix Homes, which has recently completed a major refurb to 166 homes on the estate, asked its contractor A Connolly to upgrade the IT facilities as a lasting legacy for the community.
Mark Foster, head of investment at Salix Homes, said: “Families on the South Ordsall estate are now enjoying their new and improved homes, but Salix Homes is about so much more than bricks and mortar, so when we heard that Ordsall Community Café was struggling with its outdated IT equipment we asked our contractor to step in.
“The community café provides a vital resource for hundreds of local people helping the unemployed improve their skills and get back into work. Salix Homes has run a number of courses for our tenants at the café over the years so we know how much of a difference the new facilities will make to the community.”
As part of the upgrade, A Connolly has worked with charity Business in the Community (BITC) and IT specialists Fujitsu to fit five new laptops and five new desktops computers as well as upgrade the broadband and software.
Simon Harrison MD A Connolly Ltd comments; “Its fantastic that we have been able to create an digital programme for local people, when we where first approached to assist the Café in upgrading the IT suite, we wanted to embrace the essence of the Social Value Act, and do more than just upgrade the facilities. With help from Graham Suggett at BITC we have been able to start to create a digital inclusion legacy for Salix Homes residents. Digital inclusion programmes are becoming more important than ever, helping people to , book doctors appointments online, keeping in touch with family and friends through to employment opportunities, we hope to provide a digital inclusion programme of events that can benefit everyone“.
The community café has been open for the past 10 years and, other than the library, is the only place in the area where the community can access computer equipment for free.
Sam Hickey, director of Ordsall Café, said: “A lot of people in this area don’t have computers at home and when it comes to applying for jobs, you have to do it online these days so the new computer equipment will make such a difference for us.”
The new and improved facilities opened to the public this week, and James Timpson OBE, national ambassador for BITC and owner of high-street store Timpson, stopped by to check out the work that’s taking place.
HM Revenue and Customs will also be running digital inclusion courses at the café starting in December to teach people essential IT skills to improve their job prospects. To reserve your place call Carla Whitworth on 07494 543183.