About Together Co
Together Co, are a people-powered charity that creates connections to change lives for the better. Based in Brighton, UK, they work with a wide range of volunteers, aged 14-87, who spare an hour or more a week to support people struggling with social isolation and loneliness.
Key project features
Caring in the age of Covid
The Covid-19 pandemic forced massive changes in terms of how we all live. However, for people already struggling with isolation and for organisations that rely on face to face contact, these challenges proved even harder to overcome.
As a direct result of the pandemic, Together Co experienced a huge surge in demand for their services, with a year’s worth of referrals received in the first four months of 2020, as well as a surge in volunteers. As the charity was restricted to telephone befriending and facing a high volume of doorstep deliveries, it needed to significantly change the way it delivered support to local people, while training up over 100 volunteers at speed on how to operate safely and effectively.
Getting new volunteers up-and-running via 1-2-1 web or phone calls was too time-consuming in a crisis and attempts to deliver training via Zoom were unsuccessful - synchronising timings was difficult and many volunteers missed their slots.
"Before COVID-19, befriending was largely done face-to-face, but volunteers had to switch to providing social and emotional support and public health guidance via phone, as well as practical help with shopping.
We needed to recruit and train a huge number of new volunteers fast. We not only had to change the way we trained our volunteers, but the way we provided support to isolated people.
Kineo and StoryTagger helped us to make this urgent operational shift.”
Emily Daniel, Operations Lead at Together
Being able to give something back to the community is central to our Social Purpose. Together Co had an existing relationship with Kineo and asked if we would be willing to help them deal with the emergency. Kineo quickly responded and also recommended partnering with StoryTagger to help Together Co by offering free access to their technology platforms and know-how.
Rapidly distribute key information to a large number of volunteers
Using StoryTagger, a video storytelling tool for business & education, Together Co staff created twelve bite-sized training videos conveying vital information for volunteers to watch. Kineo aggregated these videos into a digital training programme which included additional written and visual information and a quiz to check understanding.
The deliberate simplicity of the solution’s approach allowed all parties to react and deliver swiftly - critical given the urgency of the situation.
Face-to-face sessions weren’t possible during lockdown, and calls were difficult to schedule with volunteers
StoryTagger enabled Together Co’s trainers to film themselves delivering the training from the comfort of their homes without the need for a film crew. A tailored story framework and prompts were designed in the app to enable staff to record a broad range of topics in a structured way.
When pulled together with a variety of other assets by Kineo and hosted on their learning platform, the resulting training programme was made available for volunteers to complete in their own time, whenever they wanted. This solution was scalable, with a single set of videos available online to all volunteers.
Showing and validating volunteers had sufficient training to go and help others
Kineo created an interactive quiz for volunteers, testing and validating their understanding of the training information. The results were available for Together Co to follow up with volunteers who needed clarification about what they could and couldn’t do during the pandemic.
Deliver scalability to help other support groups and charities deliver the same impact
The videos were set up as a playlist on YouTube, accessible not only to Together Co’s volunteers but also to loneliness charities across the UK. Kineo supported the videos with additional information, an interactive quiz and an online learning platform to test that volunteers were support ready.
Combining the agility of on-point, purpose-led selfie videos and robustness of a managed platform to test understanding meant 150 new volunteers were trained in half the usual time to an extremely high standard. Over a third of these completed training in the first month of the lockdown, ready to respond to people in need immediately.
Together Co were thus able to respond to the immediate needs of the community; training and inducting volunteers to deliver vital services in very challenging circumstances.
The project was also shortlisted for the ‘Best UK Public & Non-Profit Sector’ project award at the international Learning Technologies Awards in London.
THE NEXT STEPS
StoryTagger continue to make their user generated mobile video tool available for the creation and maintenance of new and existing videos. Kineo have created a suite of templates in our Adapt authoring tool, which will allow Together Co to create and maintain their training. We also continue to host Together Co’s training on our learning platform.
With the success of the first phase of work, Kineo are now supporting Together Co to become digitally self-sufficient in terms of training in the future. With frequent changes in government guidelines and local restrictions, Together Co need to be able to respond quickly with the most current advice for their volunteers.
“The program has been truly transformative. Digital transformation will form part of the vision for the future of Together Co, improving efficiencies and creating more impact with the money we raise.”
Assuntina Cardillo-Zallo, Befriending: Operational Lead at Together Co