In the second month of her Advice and Volunteer Manager role, Jane Bailey went on a learning journey when she was invited to meet the Beacon Team in Birmingham.
Jane said, “I had the great pleasure of spending the day with thirty-three of the Beacon volunteers on a rare team day together and learnt so much about the Beacon system. Beacon is the membership management system used by U3As across the country.
For many attending it was their first opportunity to meet face-to-face, previous interactions mainly being conducted on-line or via the telephone.
The team have developed a slick procedure for responding to interested U3As. Supporters have adopted a variety of key functions, the Engagement Team will come out to an area to deliver induction presentations to local U3As, they will set up demonstration sites for people to ‘have a play in the sandpit’ (their description) and talk you through the benefits and process.
The Joining Team will help U3As complete their applications and Beacon license. The Migration Team will work with U3A’s to move data onto Beacon and the Ongoing Help team are there to provide continued help after migration is complete. The system requires no prior IT skills and is very user friendly.
I learnt first-hand how individual U3As – even the very smallest – are dealing with large amounts of information. All this information needs to be kept safely and accurately in compliance with the GDPR and be readily available and easy to hand over to others. The benefit of Beacon is that it helps with all of this.
As you may have heard, Beacon is about to be upgraded in order to modernize the platform it runs on and make sure it is fit for purpose for U3As both now and in the future.
One key message I took away from the day along with how effectively this team work together was that if you are thinking about going onto it then there is no need to wait until after this exercise.
Why not contact the team to find out more information at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are interested in joining the team and have had some experience of using Beacon and live in the South East Kent and Surrey, Birmingham. Wales and Northern Ireland areas, then they’d love to hear from you at email@example.com