NOTE TO: LEARNING COMMUNITIES SCRUTINY COMMISSION FROM: EXECUTIVE MEMBER, COMMUNITY SERVICES LEARNING COMMUNITIES SCRUTINY COMMISSION – THURSDAY 3 APRIL 2003 BRIEFING ITEMS – CULTURE/LIFELONG LEARNING 1.0 THE PEOPLES NETWORK The People’s Network is a project, which has connected all public libraries to the Internet, as part of the Government’s commitment to give everyone in the UK the opportunity to get online. Lottery- funded by the New Opportunities Fund and managed by Resource, more than 4,000 library centres have been created through the initiative. In Bury we have had a grant of £330,000 to extend our Internet access to all public libraries, and with this we have:- Upgraded the Internet access pc’s to 108 modern Windows & Office XP’s across 11 branch and Community libraries; Upgraded internet connections to broadband so that each access point has a connection speed of 2mbs minimum; Provided disabled access pc’s at each library’ Provided pc access for Urdu speakers; Provided scanners at each library; Provided network access to CD Roms at each library; Made all this access free for users. 1.0 (cont.) As part of the Peoples Network programme all library staff have been trained to European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL) level, and had specific training to support users of ICT equipment in our libraries. From 1 April 2003 public access to ICT services including the Internet is free of charge at all Bury libraries. 2.0 AINSWORTH LIBRARY On Monday April 7 2003 Ainsworth Library, the smallest permanent library in the country, will re-open after a month long refurbishment. For many years the library has changed little and it undoubtedly looked shabby. But now after a consultation with local people and taking into account the Village Design Statement the building is being completely revamped. The building will have new windows and doors, the interior will be stripped and redecorated and modern beech shelving installed. All the existing library stock will be replaced and two public access computers with broadband Internet connections will be installed. A third PC for staff use will also be available. Material to support children and young adults with schoolwork will be introduced and a homework club is planned. For older people regular afternoon tea and talk sessions will be introduced. 2.0 (cont.) Ainsworth Library has tended to be overlooked by local people in recent years but now it has the chance to become a focus for village activity for years to come. 3.0 LEARN DIRECT ACCESS POINT AT BURY CENTRAL LIBRARY Bury Central Library is to become a Learn Direct Access Point. The Access Point will be situated in the Reference and Information Section of the Library. As an Access Point the library will provide:- a dedicated Learn Direct PC, connected to the Internet and printer; a dedicated professional member of staff for 20 hours per week; a phone available to learners for free calls to the Learn Direct helpline. Learn Direct offer 650 modular on-line courses, some take as little as 15 minutes, others a few hours to complete; Learn Direct offers an alternative method of learning, where you can learn at your own pace, tailor your learning to suit individual needs and also an alternative to conventional learning environments; Courses cover a wide range of popular topics, such as Computer skills, Information Technology, Words and Numbers and Business Management. 3.0 (cont.) Our dedicated member of staff will be available to:- Offer assistance in choosing courses; Enrol Learners on a course of study; Refer learners to appropriate agencies for more detailed guidance, for example a Learn Direct Learning Centre (Tutor assistance), IAG (careers guidance) etc. 4.0 YOUTH SERVICE PLAN The Youth Service Plan has now been approved by the Executive Committee and by Government Office North West. An action plan is being drawn up to prioritise the new Council funding being made available for Youth Services in 2003/4. 5.0 CONNEXIONS A review is taking place of the role of local Connexions managers across Greater Manchester. The review is to be concluded by May 2003. 6.0 MAPPING THE VOLUNTARY YOUTH SECTOR Substantial work has been carried out aimed at mapping the voluntary youth sector in Bury. 90 organisations have been identified and contacted and a conference held on the 19 March attracted 50 representatives. Discussions included a consideration of how the sector could be represented at a strategic level within the Borough and how the voluntary sector could work with the Youth Service and other providers. A small steering group was set up to progress action and report back to a future forum.