Nick Booth receives Big Society reward for Birmingham bloggers, as Cameron praises Social Media Surgeries

By Jonathan Walker on Feb 16, 12 12:00 AM in Politics

David Cameron has recognised the work of Birmingham bloggers and other volunteers who run "social media surgeries" to help community groups, by awarding them the Prime Minister's Big Society Award.

Entrepreneur and blogger Nick Booth, owner of Digbeth-based firm Podnosh, received the award on behalf of volunteers who have taken part in the surgeries since they began in 2008.

The events bring together people with experience and expertise in "social media" platforms, such as blogs, Twitter and YouTube, and representatives of voluntary and community organisations who want to learn how to use them.

The aim is to help the organisations get online and make full use of the opportunities offered by the internet to communicate directly with the public.

The informal events, which are free to attend, began in Birmingham with support from local bloggers. Surgeries are now held in 60 locations around the UK with nearly 400 volunteer "surgeons" giving their time to help nearly 1,700 local groups and individuals take advantage of the internet to support their cause.

Mr Cameron said: "This is an excellent initiative - such a simple idea and yet so effective. The popularity of these surgeries and the fact that they have inspired so many others across the country to follow in their footsteps, is testament to its brilliance.

"Congratulations to Nick and all the volunteers who have shared their time and expertise to help so many local groups make the most of the internet to support their community. A great example of the Big Society in action."

Mr Booth said: "It's wonderful to have recognition for everyone who has organised a social media surgery or turned up to volunteer their help.

"I think the surgeries work because they are simple. They are very easy to organise, fun to do and not in the least bit intimidating for people who want some help.

"They give active citizens and community groups the confidence and skills to use social media to campaign, organise and hold power to account. They've grown because of the passion and energy of bloggers and voluntary groups up and down the country."

The Big Society Awards were set up by Mr Cameron in 2010 to acknowledge individuals and organisations that make a valuable contribution to the community.

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Jonathan Walker

Jonathan Walker - The Birmingham Post's political editor
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