Digital skills are a necessity in today’s modern society. Those who do not use the internet are missing out on cheaper and more accessible goods and services. The ability to search and apply for jobs online or helping squeezed incomes go further by purchasing cheaper online goods and services; can have a significant impact. For third sector organisations, digital technologies offer opportunities in terms of greater efficiencies and reaching a wider audience.
According to the National Survey for Wales only 61% of social housing tenants have home broadband access. These are some of the most socially and economically excluded individuals with high levels of demand on health, social care, education and welfare services.
As the supply and demand for online services continues to grow, research suggests that those who are not online face many disadvantages including deterioration in health, finance and employment opportunities. In addition the Department of Work and Pensions has started to phase in Direct Payments and online Benefit applications and services requiring recipients to access the internet in order to claim their entitlements.
Personal choice and/or social and economic exclusion are most likely to be the reasons for digital exclusion. Many housing associations are developing support services to break down these barriers through improving affordable access, promoting the benefits of digital inclusion and improving digital literacy.
Digital Communities Wales
Digital Communities Wales is a Welsh Government project which is delivered by the Wales Co-operative Centre who were the lead delivery partner of the Welsh Government’s Communities@One and Communities 2.0 projects, both funded by the European Union.
Digital Communities Wales supports organisations that are working with digitally excluded groups, whether you’re working with older people, people with disabilities, unemployed people, social housing tenants or families in poverty.
Digital Communities Wales can:
- Train your frontline staff so they can confidently show people how to use technology
- Help you develop strategies and policies for digital inclusion
- Advise you on embedding digital inclusion into your day-to-day activities
- Support you to set up digital inclusion volunteering initiatives and recruit digital inclusion volunteers
- Build local partnerships amongst organisations which want to share ideas and co-ordinate activities with others in their area
- Support you in developing new projects or activities to help you include elements of digital inclusion in your ideas
Community Housing Cymry are represented on the programme board for Digital Communities Wales. To find out more visit the Digital Communities Wales website.
Digital Inclusion Network
CHC facilitates a Digital Inclusion Network with Digital Communities Wales for housing associations to come together, share experiences and hear about policy and new opportunities. You can find out more about the network here.
For more information on the work CHC are involved with on Digital Inclusion, please contact Hayley Macnamara firstname.lastname@example.org