Focus: Communications - Three minutes with Helen Beckett, Media Trust

What are the free courses you are offering?

In partnership with the ICT Hub, we are offering free new media courses to charities and not-for-profits with an annual turnover of less than £2m. We are focusing on smaller organisations because we know from our own feedback that they want to make greater use of new media but lack the resources and feel they can't compete with larger organisations.

We hope that people without knowledge of new media won't be intimidated. This is why we have called the courses New Media Made Cheap and Easy.

Where will the courses be held?

The half-day courses start in London tomorrow, but we will also be running them at nine other locations around the country. We won't just be concentrating on large cities - there will also be courses in some of the smaller towns later in the year.

We will be training 1,200 delegates in total and, if the courses are oversubscribed, we will put on more. The one in London got booked up very quickly, so we will be doing another.

What will the courses consist of?

They will be practical and hands-on so that those who take part can go back and put to use what they have learned. We will be podcasting the courses, so people will be able to see for themselves exactly how they work. We will adapt the content, depending on what people find most useful.

Can half a day make a difference?

We recognise that the courses are only a starting point, so we are also encouraging charities to use our media-matching service, which I manage. This pairs up organisations with volunteers from the world of media who have the skills they are looking for.

We are also planning a number of events. We have noticed an increase in requests for help with online communications recently, so we are hoping to recruit more volunteers with this kind of experience.

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