Vital charity thriving thanks to expertise of Gloucestershire tech firm

Demand continues to grow for the services of The Nelson Trust, which supports people battling addiction and more, with the charity singling out county firm Nimble Elearning as crucial to its ongoing success.

By Andrew Merrell  |  Published
The Nelson Trust offers a wide variety of services, as well as running The Sober Parrot bar and restaurant in Cheltenham.

Just a short time ago The Nelson Trust was supporting 2,000 people across its diverse programmes, helping them deal with everything from family issues to addiction – a number that has now risen to 3,000. And that's just the women it supports.

The Stroud headquartered charity is dedicated to helping anyone from any background manage and overcome 'multiple disadvantages and deprivation', and challenges as wide-ranging as addiction, trauma, abuse, health and family issues or frequent contact with the criminal justice system.

Part of that increase in numbers is down to the times in which we live, with the Covid-19 pandemic and cost of living crisis magnifying the challenges; part is down to its own success, which has led to expansion into Wiltshire, Somerset, Bristol and Wales.

With that expansion has come another challenge – in a sector where compliance is a vital, ensuring it can continue to deliver ongoing training across all of its teams is a must. After a nationwide search it found the solution just down the road at online training experts Nimble Elearning, in Stonehouse.

Steph Symonds, internal training and development worker at Nelson Trust, said: ‘When I joined The Nelson Trust in 2021 my role was to focus on internal training.

‘We had started by looking at all the training we already had; what CPD (continuing professional development) training we had; how our internal training was working; and realised we needed a training platform.

‘The challenge was finding one. We looked at about 40 different training platforms.'

By ‘training platform’ she meant an accessible online system that allowed the Trust to deliver both 'industry standard' and bespoke training to a workforce of 100 staff and an estimated 250 to 300 volunteers. It had to be easy to use, adaptive, cost-effective and efficient, as well as easy for the Trust to interrogate and verify staff progress.

‘We went with Nimble for a host of reasons; from its systems and processes to the way it on-boarded us and how it explain everything and the support they offer to make sure we got what we wanted.’

Not only is the Trust’s team vast, the services it delivers are diverse and varied – meaning any training platform also had to be flexible too.

Services range from residential to its Hub Training Services, women’s community services to the alcohol-free The Sober Parrot bar and café in Cheltenham and The Clean Plate café in Gloucester.

‘It has never been about ‘sell, sell, sell’ from them at all. They have a salesperson, but generally her question has been ‘what do you need?’ followed by ‘we can do that,’ she said.

‘On a few occasions she didn’t have a solution the answer was ‘that’s a good idea. I will see if our tech team can create that for you’.’

It had also allowed the Nelson Trust to get creative.

‘We originally looked at Nimble as a replacement for face-to-face learning, but quickly realised we needed that too and we have been able to adapt them to a blended format.

‘People can use their phones, scan a QR code, and access the course. They could be a late-night worker or an outreach worker, they can still access the training. And when they do have face-to-face learning they will also get digital confirmation they have done the training.

‘We really have found their training and the experience brilliant. Which explains why we are in the process of renewing with them too.’

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