The GIST Foundation has supported Sheffield’s community of geeks, makers, grassroots innovators and technology practitioners from January 2010 to the end of 2012. Run on the passion and sweat equity of a hardcore of volunteers with no regular funding, it’s impact has run deep and wide.
We never set out to count how many volunteer hours would be spent, how many jobs we’d help secure or create, or how many projects and businesses would spin out. But we do know that in less than 3 years, the Foundation and its community has engaged over 1500 different people, across more than:
- a dozen community-led groups, running 250 meetups
- 125 GIST-led workshops, conferences and events, including 27 Magazine events
- 25 collaborations and projects with third-parties
There have been hundreds of topics of knowledge shared and explored, in sessions run by professionals and enthusiasts alike, enticing participants from across the country and internationally to the digital hub that is Sheffield.
But the impact on the local skills economy and the influence of the Foundation on attracting and retaining people and projects to the area are incidental economic development benefits.
The Foundation was set up to inspire and support a community of people to share their passion for technology. Looking at the friendships – rather than just business connections – that have been made and strengthened through the work of the Foundation, we’re confident that this has happened.
Not only that, but it has made Sheffield a stronger and richer place for digital practitioners and makers. And while the GIST Foundation wraps up its operation at the end of 2012, the community that it has helped build and consolidate will continue to thrive.
If you have joined us at any part on this journey, we’d like to extend a special thanks for helping to make it happen, and wish you all the best in the future.