Deputy Minister for Economy launches Tech Festival for Social Good

The Wales Co-operative Centre is this week (12-16 October) hosting an online festival for organisations interested in the benefits of digital technology for social good.

Part of Digital Leaders Week, the ‘Tech Fest for Social Good’ will bring together experts from across the public, private, third and social business sectors to share experience and knowledge and inspire others to explore the potential of digital technology to improve people’s lives and the communities they live in.

Today (Monday 12 October), the Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport Lee Waters MS, will be officially launching the online festival. He said:

“The past few months have highlighted the important role digital technology plays in the services we rely on and our ability to connect with each other.  As well as having the technology itself, it’s important that people have the skills needed to maximise its benefits for our communities.  I’m very pleased to be launching the Tech Festival for Social Good which provides an exciting opportunity for us all to look to the challenges we face, and how technology can help deliver more user friendly public services.”

Karen Lewis, Digital Leaders Wales Chair and Director for External Engagement at the Wales Co-operative Centre, said:

“During the Covid-19 crisis, we have seen many examples of tech’s positive potential for social good, with charities, social enterprises, voluntary and community groups diversifying or changing the way they operate in order to survive and thrive during this difficult period.

“But if digital service delivery becomes the new norm post Covid 19, how can organisations better co-design, build and use tech to deliver their business and social outcomes?

“The Tech Fest for Social Good is our opportunity to bring together individuals and organisations who are passionate about the potential of technology to improve people’s lives, livelihoods and communities. From thought-provoking panel-led discussions to practical hands-on learning experiences, it will be a chance to get involved and be inspired.”

One of the events taking place during the Tech Fest will be looking at how Virtual Reality (VR) technology is transforming the health and social care sector here in Wales. Two experts in this area, Simon Jones and Matt Wordley, will be showcasing examples of VR products being used in a health and social care setting, from using VR in care homes with dementia patients to helping NHS frontline staff during the pandemic.

Simon Jones is the Digital Communities Wales Advisor for North Wales. Through his work with hospitals and care homes, Simon Jones has shown how Virtual Reality (VR) headsets can help people with dementia. Last year, Simon pulled together a partnership of organisations including BBC Wales, the National Museums of Wales, Alzheimer’s Society Wales and medical experts to produce new VR material suitable for Welsh speakers.

Matt Wordley decided to form Rescape in 2019 after seeing the game changing impact of VR for the healthcare and wellbeing of patients. This year the company has successfully raised £480k to further its clinical research and product development, which includes a recent service evaluation of the platform for reduction in anxiety for frontline NHS staff – which is now moving forward towards a multisite RCT trial across the UK.

Other keynote speakers across the week will include: Sangeet Bhullar, Executive Director of WISE KIDS; Ross McCulloch, Director of Third Sector Lab; Dan Sutch, Co-founder of CAST and Zoe Amar, recently voted one of the 25 most influential charity leaders by Charity Times.

To book your free place at next week’s Tech Fest for Social Good, visit: https://week.digileaders.com/topics/tech-fest-for-social-good/

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