The LCR Connect Social Value Fund was launched this time last year with a mission to help drive digital inclusion and support communities across the city region. Over the last twelve months this fund has been put to good use – from connecting community hubs to gigabit-capable connectivity to help people get easy access to fast internet, to refurbing laptops, to inspiring IT superstars of the future. Here Marie Steele, Social Value Manager at JV Partner ITS Technology Group (ITS) discusses the highlights, successes, and ongoing plans for this fund.
LCR Connect’s commitment to supporting communities
My role at JV Partner, ITS lies in Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG). I believe passionately that every business has a responsibility to the communities that they impact. ESG represents the three areas where businesses can improve their social impact overall while also reducing any negative impact.
At LCR Connect, we are implementing this through our Social Value strategy with our Joint Venture partners prioritising social inclusion, particularly digital inclusion, and the environment. We want to get as many people as possible connected to gigabit-capable services and equipped so the digital divide is no longer a barrier. We will continue this great work through LCR Connect by increasing our input into social value projects such as working with schools and colleges to raise aspirations through careers, skills, and employment programmes.
Ultimately, the more people that can access affordable and reliable broadband, the more options and opportunities they will have – businesses will be more efficient, and services can be more reliable, boosting local economies and creating better environments. We are working to deliver a social value programme for the Liverpool City Region that is sustainable so we’re not just helping today but for the future.
Some recent highlights from our Social Value Fund Programme:
- Through St Helens Chamber’s ‘Learning to Work’ Programme, schoolchildren have the opportunity to speak to local employers and find out more about the industries they work in. Staff from across JV Partners ITS and NGE attend these events in order to help young people understand the different career routes open to them, challenging gender stereotypes, and opening their eyes to what the world of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) can offer to help them fulfil their ambitions.
- Our partnership with InnovateHer is helping to inspire and nuture the Liverpool City Region’s next generation of girls and young women to follow a STEM career. As an InspireHer partner, ITS has been working with InnovateHer to help promote the wide range of opportunities there are in the digital and technology sector to teachers, parents, and most important, the students.
- Make CIC is the first of many community hubs across the Liverpool City Region to benefit from an ultrafast connection as part of the Social Value Fund, known as ‘LCR Connect Community Hubs’. As a beneficiary of the scheme, Make’s gigabit-capable connection will be funded for 12 months. Make’s hubs range from affordable office space for small businesses, to workshops, event space, a café and shared garden. Make’s nurturing environments continue to be a launchpad for artists and craftspeople, turning their hobbies into businesses they can earn a living from, as well as a place that people from the local community can visit to get online.
Recent events the LCR Connect team have participated in:
- Tuesday 8th November we were at the Wirral Skills Show, a careers event aimed at Year 10 students from all secondary schools in the Wirral area. ITS and NGE teamed up to showcase our network, our work, the businesses, and the opportunities a career in STEM can offer.
- Monday 14th to Friday 18th November was Aspire Week at Riverside College – a weeklong event aimed at inspiring students from the college, giving them insights into the ‘world of work’ through a series of talks and presentations.
For more information about LCR Connect, its social value fund, or the connectivity services on offer contact firstname.lastname@example.org