Place Category: Digital
Cosmic is a professional digital agency based in Honiton, East Devon. We design, build and host websites, support organisations with social media, search engine optimisation and pay-per-click consultancy and management.
We also provide expertise through IT technical support, IT training, leadership and social enterprise consultancy.
Cosmic is a social enterprise, which means our business has a social aim; to ensure the benefits of living in a digital world are available to everyone.
Social Impact Declaration: Social-Impact-Declaration_Cosmic-1.pdf
Social Impact Statements:
Social Impact Statements
The Social Enterprise Mark criteria includes a requirement that the applicant can demonstrate that social and/or environmental objectives are being achieved.
In support of this, new applicants and renewing Mark holders are asked to respond to a set of social impact questions, which are designed to help them think about the social impact they create, and to articulate this clearly and succinctly.
Updated February 2018
1) What social differences and changes have you aimed to create (or supported)?
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. There is disparity in skills, awareness, education and access to digital technology. This is a hindrance and obstacle to development for many people – especially in the South West, where Cosmic predominantly operate. We seek to counter this issue through a variety of services.
As a by-product of this social aim, we address issues of health, wellbeing, financial stability, employability, ageing, isolation and mobility. We use the focus of Digital technology (the skills and the access to resources) as a medium for engaging with groups and individuals – allowing us to support them in a number of ways.
2) What actions have you taken to address the above social aims?
Cosmic provides a number of commercial services and also deliver a variety of funded projects – all of which directly support our social aims.
Delivery of engagement and training though funded projects:
Cosmic operate this project in Devon and Somerset. It aims to help those furthest from the workplace overcome their personal barriers and move towards work/volunteering/job search. In so doing it aims to improve life chances and provide better opportunities to people out of work and socially isolated. It aims to reduce social exclusion and combat personal barriers to employment.
This is done through Change Coaches who support individuals and refer to or buy in specialist provision tailored to help remove personal barriers. One of these barriers is people’s confidence in their ability to use technology and their understanding of how it can help their daily lives. Cosmic are delivering the digital element of this project as we believe that without exception everyone can benefit from technology.
The Devon BBO project is also in the process of recruiting Digital Change Coaches, who will be able to directly inform on digital needs enabling us to provide more effective digital support.
This has been made available to support existing Somerset and Devon based businesses wishing to grow, expand or who just wish to have an outside view of their current business. The programme provides an initial 3-hour business diagnostic and for suitable businesses a further 9-hour support package including an assessment of digital opportunities.
Enhance Social Enterprise Programme:
The ESE programme is available across Plymouth, Torbay, Devon and Somerset, and is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and local partners in order to increase the number of social enterprise start-ups and to support the growth of existing ones. Eligible applicants are able to receive up to 12 hours of support for their business from any of the partners involved. Workshops and mentoring support are available for social enterprises looking to explore all aspects of their business including digital, leadership development, and managing growth. For any social enterprises that are not yet trading there is support available around legal structures and governance.
Prince’s Countryside Fund:
We have funding under this project to enable us to provide one to one free digital mentoring for farms and farming communities within Dartmoor and Exmoor. The support provided could include: basic payment scheme support, Google hangouts and Skype, benefits of cloud, using social media, and connectivity. Through this project we are able to support farming communities to understand benefits of using digital, introduce them to new software, apps and hardware and help them become more efficient and less fearful of the future of technology. (See PCF Six Month Report 2017)
Get Up To Speed:
This project will come to an end as of 20th February 2018, and has been very successful over the course of the project. It has been a support service in association with the Connecting Devon and Somerset programme, that provided individuals and businesses with knowledge and skills of how to make the most of current and future faster broadband, throughout the whole of Devon and Somerset. We provided free workshops, talks, stands and meetings for both communities and businesses to help boost digital skills and share the benefits of superfast broadband.
Get Business Get Digital:
A training programme that completed in December 2017, and was funded by Sedgemoor District Council, Taunton Deane District Council and West Somerset Council. This project enabled us to support small businesses and individuals creating startups to become successful. This was through workshops and one to one mentoring which was split into two: business support and digital support. The workshops covered a range of topics within digital and business, and the one-to-one mentoring was tailored to the client’s specific needs.
In-house support and training for housing association communities at Yarlington Housing Group:
- Our permanent, full time in-house digital trainer supports the 20,000 residents with a variety of training and advisory services.
Business support for commercial entities:
- skills training
- knowledge building
- workforce development
- digital leadership support
- strategy development
IT Tech Support:
- Traditional IT support services for Schools, charities and local businesses.
- design, build and hosting of affordable websites for schools, charities, local parishes, community groups and commercial businesses.
3) What has changed and what benefits have been realised as a result of your actions?
The delivery of Cosmic’s commercial services typically has real tangible and measurable benefits; e.g. the production of a new community or school website, the support of IT infrastructure within a charity and the training and education of staff within businesses. The impact is usually immediate and in plain sight.
The delivery of many of the funded projects are hugely impactful, much of it instantaneous and tangible, but also much of it more long-tail, intangible and harder to measure. We have worked hard to capture and record these benefits. The sections below attempt to describe how our funded work have benefitted individuals, communities and other stakeholders:
BBO Positive People:
The focus of this project is to gradually, over a long period, support individuals on their own personal journey back into work. Getting people into work not only benefits the individual but has a far greater social impact e.g. reducing peoples’ involvement in drugs, alcohol abuse, criminal activity and increasing economic progress and growth.
Personal benefits are increased confidence and maps onto the “five pillars of wellbeing” which we promote as part of our engagement with the recipients.
Growth Support Programme:
The benefits of the Growth Support Programme include output focussed advice aimed at challenging and motivating small businesses drive for success; access to wide range of support material; two-way growth conversations which explore the potential to harness digital technology to drive productivity, increase turnover, reduce costs and enhance customer service; and, tailored action plans designed to help businesses reach their full growth potential. Some benefits are immediate, such as increased social media interest in a business. Some are much harder to monitor, such as the long term growth and success of a business through improved digital marketing.
Prince’s Countryside Fund:
The way in which businesses have benefitted from this project is that we are able to provide free digital training to remote businesses who otherwise may not have this access to knowledge and skill. Due to the funding we have been able to travel to our clients’ own remote locations and provide the support at their business, instead of them having to pay the expense of travelling to us. The way individuals have benefitted is being able to understand more about technology and how it can enhance their businesses, such as using online retailers to order farming equipment, and using social media to promote their products.
Get Up To Speed:
Over the course of this project we have been able to provide support and knowledge to a number of businesses, communities and individuals. The ways in which clients have benefitted from this project is that they have been free, and the workshops, talks and stands have been held all across Devon and Somerset to allow everyone to access. We have also regularly provided talks or workshops for businesses and community groups, when they have asked, tailored to their specific needs. These workshops and talks have covered everything Digital such as the new GDPR laws, cyber security, and “standing out on social media”. This benefits the attendees because it provides them with more information about future technology, how to use Digital to its full potential, and during practical workshops it also provides them with the skills they need to access the world of Digital.
Get Business Get Digital:
The benefits of this project to our clients were, that the workshops and mentoring sessions were fully funded and free for them to access, and they had the choice of receiving information and advice about business or Digital concepts, or both. The one to one mentoring sessions were based on what the client wanted help or advice about, and provided in depth knowledge and skills to practice. The project covered businesses and individuals within Taunton Deane, West Somerset and Sedgemoor areas, and the workshops were organised to cover these districts.
Enhance Social Enterprise:
The benefits of the Enhance Social Enterprise programme are that it provides free workshops and mentoring consultation advice across Plymouth, Torbay, Devon and Somerset, and works towards enabling the growth of social enterprises in these areas. Each business can have 12 hours of support, from any of the partners, on any topic they need advice on and can attend any of the workshops organised to provide them with continuous skills and knowledge to apply to their businesses.
4) How do you and other people know your aims are being achieved? Or how will you know?
How do you and other people know your aims are being achieved? Or how will you know?
With all our commercial and project work we conduct either feedback surveys or request full evaluation testimonials from the beneficiaries. We ask students of our training sessions to score and rate their own development and to evaluate the quality of our service. Feedback is always of a good quality and indicates that we are making a positive impact. Typically, people feel upskilled and educated around new areas of digital technology – which in turn impacts their confidence levels, productivity and ability to succeed.
With some of the longer-term projects, such as Positive People, our impact will be measured by external bodies such as SERIO as well as the lead partner, Pluss. We have a range of external targets to hit which cover the core numbers (engagement, sessions count, hours etc), but in addition to that each member of staff has been given KPIs to ensure we are all individually reaching those in need. These numbers are reviewed on a monthly and quarterly basis, and are discussed on both a team and management level to ensure improvements to delivery can be made.
Indicators of change that we measure are:
Project outcome Indicators of change How we measure change Enabling Individuals
- Individual “distance travelled” measure demonstrates an increase in positive mental outlook
- Individual “distance travelled” measure demonstrates an increase in improved personal resilience
- Digital diaries
- Photos and videos
- Feedback forms
- Distance travelled assessment
- Case studies
- Survey of participants shows an increase in awareness of services
- Survey of participants shows an increase in use of services
As abovePlus: External evaluation by SERIO (Plymouth University) Health & Wellbeing Participant’s action plan has goals related to health and wellbeing, e.g.
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Being more physically active
- Eating a healthy and balanced diet
We have devised a course that address these issues – Cosmic has introduced/teaching digital to help with these issues by using specific Apps. E.g.Healthy weight – apps that help with nutrition and healthy life style. E.g. very fit pro
Increase physical activity – Fit bits
Leaving a Legacy Using digital technology, we aim to increase involvement in community activities, e.g.
- Participation in community groups
- Positive People community ambassador
And show an increase in number of positive actions
Introducing the use of GPS for those anxious of leaving the home – therefore enabling them to “walk, catch a bus, cycle” to the activity before they walk out of their front door.The use of social media to link with others in the community, work place
We report our progress and successes in a number of ways. We provide frequent updates and progress reports through blogs and articles upon our own website, which is then widely publicised through our popular social media channels.
Less frequent, but more formal reports are made and shared, and in March 2018 Cosmic will be publishing a publicly available Social Impact report for 2017.
The below questions are not mandatory, but Mark holders are encouraged to answer them where possible, to provide a fuller account of their social outcomes and the social value they create.
5) How many people have benefitted from your actions?
Somerset: March 2017 to Feb 2018
- Number of participants who have directly benefited from a workshop or 1:1 intervention = 84
- Number of workshops delivered = 25
- Number of engagement events delivered = 132
- Number of digital inclusion hours delivered = 800
Devon: March 2017 to Feb 2018
- Number of participants who have directly benefited from a workshop or 1:1 intervention: 90
- Number of workshops delivered: 32
- Number of engagement events delivered: 189
- Number of digital inclusion hours delivered: 1616
Princes Countryside Fund:
Under this project we have completed 68.5 hours over 12 months of contract, and have worked with 32 individuals from farms or farming communities over Dartmoor and Exmoor. Within this 68.5 hours conducted, we have provided 35.5 hours of support to rural communities and have completed 33 hours of support to rural enterprises. We have also helped 8 farm business in hardship.
Get Up to Speed:
The Get Up to Speed project has enabled us to support 4,572 attendees to our workshops, stands, talks and meetings over the past year.
- Workshops delivered: 97
- Talks delivered: 54
- Meetings: 4
- Engagement stands: 10
Get Business Get Digital:
Under Get Business Get Digital, ourselves and Business Information Point have delivered 32 workshops, these included 10 in Sedgemoor, 9 in West Somerset, and 13 in Taunton Deane. We have completed 110 hours of mentoring, this was split into digital support of 80 hours and business support of 30 hours. The combination of the follow up hours completed were 66 hours. Overall, we have supported 79 unique businesses and 283 attendees.
Enhance Social Enterprise:
- Workshops delivered: 7; 39 attendees overall.
- Total amount of hours received from clients: 178.5 hours
- Number of business supported: 58
Growth Support Programme:
- Number of digital diagnostic delivered = 147
- Number of digital support hours delivered = 441.
Yarlington Housing Association:
November 2014- on going
- 400 plus residents have received support from Cosmic
Since May 2016:
- 318 1:1’s booked
- 84 Workshops
- 135 group sessions
- 40 hours per week delivery
We have worked with 327 clients on various pieces of working from creating new websites, to updates and training in 2017.
6) What examples can you provide of a typical service user experience, that helps illustrate the benefits they have experienced as a result of your actions?
Case studies from Positive People:
Princes Countryside Fund – supporting rural communities in isolates places:
Under the Prince’s Countryside Fund project we gather case studies to show within our reports the impact the project is having. One of our case studies has been on a woman within Dartmoor who runs a farm and walking tours business. With the digital support she has received through the project she has been able to upload videos to her website and is currently updating the website, and downloading photos. Using her new knowledge and skills she is able to promote hydro and green energy for sustaining their business, and her digital skills has increased dramatically, allowing her to promote all aspects of her business online.
This is a quote from our case study client:
“For isolated rural workers these one-to-one mentoring sessions for farming families with Cosmic have proved invaluable. The list of questions I had about the new technology available and how to access it to help our business have all been answered. It has opened up new ways to promote our business and allowed me to effectively use modern technology more efficiently. When the next opportunity to engage with more mentoring sessions comes I will be first in line to book up!” (Anon, January 2018).
7) What additional social benefits have you been able to deliver within your core services that distinguish you from other “for shareholder profit” providers?
Tech support training:
Beyond the provision of IT technical support, our staff also provide complementary training and seminars to customers – typically Schools. For example, we provide “Online safety for children” workshops, presented to parents.
We provide discounts in website hosting costs to not-for-profit customers. We also support customers with their understanding of social media, SEO and website management as part of our service. We also designate a discounted support rate for charities and other community organisations and social enterprises.
Training & Consultancy:
Talks, seminars, and workshops – often provided free of charge – to business networks, local community groups and small businesses. Typically a public talk or seminar could cost in the region of £200-300. Collectively Cosmic give thousands of pounds worth of value every year through this sort of engagement.
Free Tech Support through Drop-Ins: Through the Positive People project, Cosmic offer free technical support for any member of society, whether eligible for the project or not, through our drop-ins. In this way we can promote the project to those who may know someone in need. An average of 6 of these are run per month throughout Devon and are funded by the project.
Cosmic are known for operating in a fair and transparent manner, providing quality service with a social conscience. We strive to tackle the issue of Digital Inclusion, supporting customers beyond their basic needs to ensure that we can give them more that they would ordinarily expect. We work to 5 core values which we work to uphold and be everyday:
8) What other social benefits have you contributed that go beyond your core delivery activities (ones that are completely unrelated to your main services)?
In 2017 Cosmic elected Dartmoor Search and Rescue as its charity of the year. At no cost to them, we have supported this charity by training them in the use of social media, providing them with a website SEO report, a number of marketing videos as well as general marketing support and PR. The financial value of these services would typically exceed £2,500. This work has helped the charity to significantly improve is public awareness, reaching many more people and potential donors and supporters.
To offset the carbon footprint caused by BBO Devon’s travel commitments, the Positive People team planted over 400 trees in Culm Valley last year, with more sessions planned for this year
Cosmic have provided free training, workshops, sponsorship, websites and support services to a number of local organisations. We are socially aware of how our expertise in Digital can be of significant assistance to the communities in which we exist, and we try to support those most in need.
9) What social and environmental benefits have you created from internal operational policies and actions?
As part of Cosmic’s policies and procedures we have an environmental policy, which outlines that we are committed to limiting the effects of climate change. As such we make every effort to reduce any negative impact on the environment they may make as a result of our activities. Staff should also encourage the people we support, stakeholders and suppliers to consider the environment in their work, activities and choices.
We also have a sustainability policy, which explains that as a social enterprise, Cosmic works towards the triple bottom line of people, profit and planet. We aim to model our business behaviours in a way that creates a sustainable thriving business which does good and cares for the environment.
Furthermore, the social benefits we have created through our equality and diversity policy is that Cosmic is committed to encouraging equality and diversity among our workforce, and eliminating unlawful discrimination. We want our workforce to represent all sections of society. And our customers, staff and the public feel respected and able to give their best in providing our services.