On a brisk Tuesday morning, the Refugee Council's offices in Stratford East London buzzed with a unique energy.
Tech issues can pose a significant challenge for small charities and community groups, but our 'Bring Your Own Tech Days', in collaboration with the Refugee Council and HEAR, have addressed these hurdles head-on.
At two recent events participants brought their own devices and received expert assistance from the Superhighways team, tackling problems ranging from sluggish performance and virus threats to software updates and video call disruptions.
The events provided practical, hands-on solutions, enabling organisations to operate more effectively and continue their important work without technological hindrances.

Who attended?

BYOT - Group shot

The events drew a diverse group of attendees from various organisations such as Salem Health Project, Reconnection (also known as East African Diaspora Community Network), Make Mee Studio, Wheat Mentor Support Trust, Southwark Travellers' Action Group, Wanstead and Woodford Migrant Support, Kaleidoscope Group,  Creative Croydon CIC, Amberliegh, Childhood Trauma and HEAR.

We fixed lots of hardware

BYOT - Colin & laptop

The two days resulted in a series of successes. Hardware issues were addressed, with each breathing new life into these essential tools for Charities:

  • Laptops screens fixed
  • Memory installed
  • Data migrated between devices
  • Disk cleanups
  • Rejuvenating laptops

Sorted out software issues

BYOT - Sorrel

Software upgrades and assistance were another highlight, including:

  • Windows systems updated and reinstalled
  • Installing Anti-Virus software
  • Fixing problems when running out of Gmail space
  • Users transitioning from Office 2019 to donated versions of Microsoft 365
  • Help provided to use software tools such as Mailchimp, Wordpress and EmailOctopus

Provided 1-1 training

BYOT - Jamie and Colin

Another significant focus was on education, with attendees learning about free software access, particularly the shift from purchased office software to Microsoft 365 donated licenses. Informal 1-1 training sessions were held on topics ranging from:

  • Cybersecurity
  • Managing data and OneDrive
  • Managing a WordPress site
  • Helping with Mailchimp and EmailOctopus newsletters
  • And notably for myself helping a visually impaired user, empowering them to confidently navigate and utilise Zoom and Teams from their home laptop.

Networking was a natural outcome of both days, fostering connections that led to follow-up meetings. These sessions were dedicated to further technological empowerment, such as migrating from Ionos email to M365 Outlook, setting up M365 for multiple users in small charities, and providing on-site training for Outlook following email migrations.

Whilst apparently small successes, the impact of these activities was marked. Not only did organisations save time and enhance efficiency, but they also regained access to critical documentation through M365 and transferring data from inoperative laptops to new ones. The day also served as a team-building opportunity for Superhighways and our clients. It was a joy to meet face-to-face with individuals we had previously only interacted with online or through Teams calls.

We look forward to running another couple of these events over the next few months.  For further details keep an eye on our training page and/or subscribe to our newsletter.