2020-21 Strategic Performance

Our staff and volunteers have been brilliant, navigating the new challenges thrown up by the pandemic. We are incredibly grateful to all our partners who supported us to stay open, to extend our Befriending Services, to offer Scotland wide learning services and flex our services to meet people’s changing needs. This webpage offers a brief summary of our Strategic performance, with more detail provided in our Audited Annual Accounts and Trustee Report 2021-22.

  • Highland learner: “I was feeling at rock bottom, but being given a device and support, helped to motivate me to get online and search for a job”.
  • Aberdeenshire learner: “I’m now self-employed and I’ve just started up a community interest company (a kick start) and I just would have never ever had the guts to do it, if I hadn’t done this qualification”.
  • Dundee learner: Learner talking about our OpenLearnCreate Everyday Computer Skills Course, “I find when we talk about things on the course, I understand it more and it helps me remember”, “I like problem solving and this is really making my brain work, I look forward to our call each week – it’s the fastest hour of the week, I love it!”

Strategic Objective 1 target: Increase the number of people engaged and progressing in our learning & befriending services per year to 700: By reaching 1,396 service participants we have significantly exceeded this target by 99%. This is due to unprecedented demand for our remote short course learning services.

  • 88% of all local community-based adult learners reported increased confidence.
  • 100% of 94 local community-based adult learners who responded to surveys this year said they would recommend lead Scotland.
  • 99% of 255 participants surveyed on national learning projects would recommend our accessible digital skills training (from a total of 652 surveyed, 39% survey response rate)

Strategic Objective 2 target: Increase the number of disabled people and carers actively participating within communities per year to 150 people. We supported 123 people to actively participate in their communities, 18% short of our target for reasons related to Covid-19, for example many learners found volunteering placements were on hold or people were not yet sufficiently confident to volunteer online. 53% of learners tracked at 3 months said they felt more connected to their community as an added value outcome on top of their learning achievement.

Strategic Objective 3 target: Extend our learning and helpline services across Scotland across 27 local authority areas. We exceeded our target by 18% reaching all 32 local authority areas with remote learning opportunities. 305 in depth helpline enquiries from 122 people across 24 local authority areas: our helpline continues to be unique and useful. We tracked 90 people, 26 responded (29% response), 100% reported impact benefits.

Feedback from a parent: “Rebecca was excellent. Hugely knowledgeable, she provided the relevant information for me to help my son get his life back on track following the difficulties caused by his late diagnosis. She also gave us both hope, and the confidence that there were options available to him that would enable his return to further education. I can’t praise her, and the invaluable help she gave, too highly.”

Strategic Objective 4 target: Increase our unrestricted funding, target £45,000. We raised £58,697, exceeding our annual target by 30% and we exceeded last year’s performance (2019/2020: £18,666) by 214%. The growth in income enabled us to exceed our strategic targets.

Looking ahead to 2021-22

Learner, volunteer and staff surveys have provided us a clear understanding of people’s changing needs and expectations in the Covid recovery period. There is a new appetite from the majority of learners for a blended face to face and telephone/online services. 57 learners responded to our survey in April 2021 asking them to look ahead. 5% of learners want remote only services, 25% would like face to face only and 70% want a blend of face to face and remote services. Volunteer surveys return a similar picture, with slightly more people (15%) looking for remote only volunteering opportunities . This opens the door for volunteers to add value beyond their local geographic area.

Emma Whitelock, CEO, Sept 2021