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Cosmic – supporting local and regional recovery from Covid-19

Cosmic is an ethical IT agency, which specialises in website development, IT training courses, business consultancy, tech support, digital marketing and search engine optimisation. As a social enterprise, they work to achieve meaningful social impact for individuals and organisations across the South West and improve people’s lives.

The fundamental social aim of Cosmic is to address the issue of Digital Inclusion – ensuring that people from all backgrounds, communities, geographies and demographics have equal opportunity and ability at excel through the use of technology.

Response to Covid-19 – supporting businesses to adapt to remote working

When the Covid crisis struck and the first national lockdown was announced, Cosmic responded immediately by opening up a free helpline for all local business needing urgent support to adapt their services and staffing plans during this crucial time. This was followed rapidly by the offer of free mentoring for business leaders seeking support to develop resilience plans and adapt their plans rapidly to ensure their people, customers and services could be secured. Many of these businesses and individuals were challenged to deploy a rapid switch to homeworking arrangements.

Clients ranged from sole traders through to major workforces in large businesses, which also required a rapid deployment of collaboration and communications applications. During the 12 weeks of full lockdown, Cosmic ran over 120 live virtual workshops providing essential skills, understanding and confidence to businesses across the South West, supporting over 1,500 learners.

Digital programmes to improve the resilience of local businesses

In recent months, Cosmic’s programme of virtual workshops has grown significantly. They have switched all of their programmes and projects to virtual delivery for the time-being. They have also ensured that content is made available as widely as possible, and that courses being developed and delivered matches the needs of business and individuals, so that they have greater confidence in their future digital plans.

Photo of a woman presenting to a group of people with text overlay 'Digital Skills Training'Bounce Back Digital, Digital Advantage and Adapt & Thrive are three examples of specific programmes being adjusted in this way. Cosmic’s ongoing work in Digital Leadership programmes and in Digital Growth Support has also been adapted to ensure a very clear focus on continued resilience – and on identifying key opportunities now starting to emerge for many businesses.

Developing local and regional recovery plans

Cosmic’s leaders have also been significant players in the development of local and regional recovery plans working with the LEP, Devon County Council, voluntary and community groups and others to highlight the main challenges ahead, and to illustrate ways in which digital skills and digital technologies will present major opportunities for businesses, charities, social enterprises and individuals.

Cosmic has also created a specific report on the environmental impact success, and the ways in which digital communications and collaboration hold the key to continuing this success well beyond the current crisis. They feel that a shift in increased remote working offers one of many ways to reduce carbon footprints. Cosmic’s staff saved 60,000 miles of business and commuter travel during the first lockdown – the equivalent of 40 mature oak trees worth of atmospheric carbon over a year.  They have found this inspiring, and intend to build upon this shift to a greener way of working.

In their own words…

Julie Hawker_CosmicJulie Hawker, Joint Chief Executive of Cosmic explains why social enterprises are so important to the national recovery from Covid-19:

 “Social enterprises like Cosmic have a major role to play in the recovery and establishment of new ways or working and doing business. There is a golden opportunity to maximise and embrace the new community of interest in achieving a ‘build-back-better’ approach to the coming years.

And social impact is high on everyone’s minds as we identify the multiple ways in which local communities have pulled together during the Covid19 challenges. If we could make social enterprises a distinguishable part of keeping that going then the golden opportunity might just be realised.”