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November 25, 2020

Digital Inclusion: new working group

Last week I met up with representatives from 12 local Neighbourhood Network Schemes, along with Rachel Benn and Liam Garnett of 100% Digital Leeds, for the first meeting of the Neighbourhood Network Digital Inclusion Working Group

The group is for staff in Neighbourhood Networks who are responsible for developing their digital service and the associated training offer to service users. It will be a dedicated space to develop resources, share practice and learning with other Neighbourhood Networks. It’s for all Neighbourhood Networks, whatever stage you are at in this field, from complete beginner, to having a well-developed digital offer.

The group is user-centred, so will evolve, according to need, as well as the broader citywide ambition of getting older people online and developing a network of localised digital offers across our communities.

The group will also reflect the needs of Neighbourhood Networks and older people in light of the growing digitisation of the health and wellbeing agenda across the city and will support organisations, staff and volunteers to prepare and skill service users for engagement in this growing area.

The Digital Inclusion group will be delivered in partnership with Rachel Benn of 100% Digital Leeds who has been working with Leeds Neighbourhood Networks to develop their digital service offer. Rachel’s citywide involvement in the digital inclusion agenda, along with her role working with the health and care agenda, will be an invaluable resource in the coming months.

The initial meeting included case studies, highlighting some of the great work that is already going on:

  • Sustainability: Cross Gates & District Good Neighbours charges members for tech rental and wi-fi usage. If the member then wants to buy the tech they knock the rental charges off the total cost.
  • Engagement: AVSED supported a member to get online shortly after lockdown so that she could connect online with her son living in the south. She had no previous tech experience and has progressed from being a novice using 0.5gb to 6gb a month.
  • Volunteers: Seacroft Friends & Neighbours have a number of peer mentors to support members to get online. They use Zoom sessions to provide volunteer support and networking, sharing of experience and ideas.

The next meeting of the Neighbourhood Network Digital Inclusion Working Group will be on Thursday 17 December, at a Zoom room near you! Please get in touch with me if you would like to take part,

Ali Kaye
Third Sector Development Manager, Leeds Older People’s Forum