orb 3 450From “digital natives” in their early adulthood to “silver surfers” of more advanced years, the range of creative IT activities offered at Orb is designed to meet the needs of all generations.

Some of our older clients, who would have grown up in households without computers, may find themselves initially struggling to grasp the underlying concepts of IT. This can be an isolating experience, which is not conducive to improved mental well-being.

Here at Orb, we help these clients overcome any such entry barriers, enabling them to bridge the “digital divide”, and fostering a greater sense of inclusion. To this end, we have helped many people acquire basic IT skills over the years: how to get online, how to use Windows to run programs and manage files, how to work with a word processor, and so on.

As for our younger service users, many of whom already feel at home with the fundamentals of IT, our mission is centred around helping them to unleash the creative potential that computers can offer, in a way that will fuel their own personal creativity.

Regardless of their age, many of our clients may have little or no access to IT equipment, due to being economically inactive for health reasons. Again, Orb can play a major role here, simply by offering them a place to learn, practise and develop.

Thanks to a number of talented volunteers, each with their own particular areas of expertise, we are able to offer a wide range of specific skills. This includes such areas as digital photography, blogging, web design, videography/film editing, sound recording, digital art, and any combinations of these skills.

It’s not our aim to be an IT college, running specific, pre-ordained classes. Instead, we approach each new client on an individual basis, helping them to decide what they want to achieve from using the technology, and tailoring each one-to-one session accordingly. In this way, we can nurture the untapped potential of budding artists, writers, web designers, photographers and film-makers alike, moving forwards at a pace that each student feels comfortable with.

We don’t offer IT for IT’s sake. Instead, we use IT to help people develop a creativity that will impact positively on their lives. To this end, a number of grants over the years have helped us greatly. A few years ago, the Big Lottery “Awards for All England” scheme enabled us to set up our current facilities, funding the purchase of PCs, laptops and a Mac for the music studio. We have also accessed schemes that allow us to purchase proprietary software at substantially discounted rates.

As a result, we now have a solid range of hardware and software at our disposal, which our service users make use of every day. Creativity can take many forms, and as our experience shows, IT can take its place alongside other more traditional creative disciplines, as a powerful and valuable medium for therapeutic self-expression.