The Social Media Surgery, a national network created to support community and voluntary groups, is the latest winner of the Prime Minister’s Big Society Award.
The Leeds Social Media Surgery – one of more than 60 across the UK – is held monthly at the Round Foundry in Holbeck. These are very informal events bringing together people with web expertise and the desire to share it with people who need help to get their community group online. No lectures, no curriculum, just a relaxed space where people can learn together.
The first Social Media Surgery was organised by Birmingham entrepreneur Nick Booth in 2008. The surgeries were incredibly popular and are now held in 60 locations around the UK with nearly 400 volunteer “surgeons” giving their time to help nearly 1,700 local groups and active citizens take advantage of the internet to support their cause.
Congratulating Nick Booth on the award, the Prime Minister said:
“This is an excellent initiative – such a simple idea and yet so effective. The popularity of these surgeries and the fact that they have inspired so many others across the country to follow in their footsteps, is testament to its brilliance.
“Congratulations to Nick and all the volunteers who have shared their time and expertise to help so many local groups make the most of the internet to support their community. A great example of the Big Society in action.”
Accepting the award, Nick Booth said:
“It’s wonderful to have recognition for everyone who has organised a social media surgery or turned up to volunteer their help. I think the surgeries work because they are simple. They are very easy to organise, fun to do and not in the least bit intimidating for people who want some help. They give active citizens and community groups the confidence and skills to use social media to campaign, organise and hold power to account. They’ve grown because of the passion and energy of bloggers and voluntary groups up and down the country.”
Weekly award winners receive an invitation to a reception at No.10 Downing Street and get the chance to attend a practical networking and support event earlier in the day. They also receive a plaque and signed certificate from the Prime Minister.
The next Leeds Social Media Surgery is held on Wednesday, March 14, at the Round Foundry (6-8pm). More details here.