Meet our finalists – Technology Award

February 9, 2021

Leading the way in the use of technology in 3rd sector care, these three finalists share their feelings on being shortlisted for the Markel 3rd Sector Care Awards.

Theresa Shearer, Group Chief Executive, ENABLE Scotland and The Piper Group

By sharing the cost of its back-office services, The Piper Group allows ENABLE Scotland to invest in what really matters, the front line. It is committed to accelerating change to improving people’s lives through social care, employability and skills, and community-led campaigns and projects, in order to deliver a more equal society.

What made you want to enter the awards?

We hoped that our entry, focused on empowering our frontline workforce using technology, would provide some welcome positivity in these challenging times. Ultimately, we wanted to celebrate what our frontline social care workforce had achieved in a year, and the capacity this has to change lives across Scotland.

Our investment in a low-cost, rapidly-deployed, mobile-first digital transformation was driven by our desire to have better communication with our 1,800-strong social care workforce across Scotland. By doing so, we knew we could continue to provide life-changing support to the people we work for, regardless of their location, the state of public finances or – as we found out subsequently – global pandemics!

How did you react when you found out you were a finalist?

We were surprised and honoured to be named as a finalist in the awards!

Sometimes the great work that goes on in Scotland can be missed but not in the case of the Markel 3rd Sector Care Awards, we’re very happy to say.

What does it mean to you to be a finalist in the Markel 3rd Sector Care Awards?

We see being named as a finalist in these prestigious awards as well-earned recognition for our frontline teams, who continue to deliver social care each and every day regardless of the weather, pandemics or other challenges, and who have embraced our new technology and the possibilities it brings.

How have you had to adapt your services for COVID-19?

COVID-19 has inevitably affected ENABLE Scotland, as it has all social care providers. However, our digital transformation has significantly reduced the challenge it presents.

We now use Zoom and Microsoft Teams to engage with our frontline workforce across the length and breadth of Scotland, whilst these frontline teams can also check in digitally with those for whom we work, as well as providing conventional support, to help prevent loneliness and isolation. The operational data we need to continue functioning effectively and efficiently continues to be collected and collated automatically, reducing our administration workload and focusing our energy on who is most important: those we work for.

We produced a video to demonstrate to those attending our (virtual) AGM just what a difference our transformation means to those who work for ENABLE Scotland and those we work for.

Digitisers, Surrey Choices

Surrey Choices empowers a team of Digitisers who enable people who could have been isolated during the pandemic to keep in touch with friends and families, join Zoom skill-building sessions, visit virtual job sessions and do online shopping, watch catch-up TV or use Facebook. Just one month after the programme’s launch, it had already helped 37 people to regularly get online.

Support 4 Independence (S4I Ltd)

A not-for-profit enterprise, S4I Ltd has created an app that allows people to be more independent and less reliant on others, promoting independence and confidence in their lives. With technology available to use at S4I Ltd’s skills workshop, users can create and run an enterprise within S4I Ltd.

What made you want to enter the awards?

We entered the awards as we believe we brought a new idea to the table.

The way we work is to offer real skills in a real environment. We don’t tend to enter awards but this year with COVID-19 we believed we were a different kind of health and social care company. By this, I mean we truly do give the choice and control over to the individuals who attend. We have built an enterprise business for all of them, no matter their skill level, that they can be a part of, run and learn the basics supported by ourselves to make it a success. We have looked into technology and created an app with those we support; it’s their idea – we just supported them to make it happen.

How did you react when you found out you were a finalist?

Both myself and the individuals we support were very excited as we didn’t expect to hear anything back. It was a nice compliment and gave a little excitement through what has been a difficult year.

What does it mean to you to be a finalist in the Markel 3rd Sector Care Awards?

To be a finalist has pushed us on to do more

and it’s nice to be recognised for the extra mile we do go as we normally just get on and don’t enter awards.

What has been your greatest challenge in the last year?

The greatest challenge has been COVID-19 this year, although by working together with those we support we’ve managed to remain open for all but the first lockdown. We have invested well into protecting those who attend and have taken huge steps to ensuring we would never have to close again. It’s been great that both staff and individuals alike have been flexible, worked together and managed to do online sessions through the first lockdown. We sent everything out to the individuals and managed to have every day the same as if they were here, and this has enabled their confidence and everything they’ve worked towards to continue.

The Technology Award was kindly sponsored by everyLIFE Technologies

This year we will be revealing our winners at a Virtual Ceremony on Friday 12th February. We’d love for you to join us. Sign up to attend the event here.

You can also keep up to date with all the latest on this year’s finalists on social media #3rdSectorCareAwards @3rdSectorCare