A new, collaborative programme to train hundreds of Digital Champions to help thousands of people across the UK to get online has been officially launched by the One Digital Partership with a special partnership in Brighton & Hove.
At a time when the UK is moving to ‘digital by default’ but over 12 million people lack basic digital skills, One Digital is a unique collaboration between six diverse organisations to create a sustainable and far reaching digital inclusion solution. Age UK, the Scottish Council of Voluntary Organisations, Citizens Online and Digital Unite with its partners Affinity Sutton and AbilityNet have joined forces to develop the One Digital programme which will recruit, train and support 1,400 Digital Champions nationwide.
One Digital is funded by £2 million from the Big Lottery Fund and will help around 9,500 people develop basic digital skills.
Each One Digital Partner will deliver individual and bespoke projects but all of the Digital Champions within the One Digital programme will access one single training and support network that provides structured courses, extensive resources and dedicated mentor support.
As part of the One Digital Programme, Citizens Online is working through Digital Brighton & Hove, a local partnership of Brighton & Hove City Council, BT and a network of public, private and community sector organisations including Job Centre Plus and the NHS. The partnership will recruit, train and support “Digital Champions” to help people in Brighton and Hove to develop their digital skills. The Brighton & Hove team will focus on supporting people who have difficulties with using online public services and accessing the social and economic benefits of the internet, including people looking for work and those affected by recent benefits changes.
Cllr. Emma Daniel, lead councillor for Neighbourhoods, Communities and Equalities, Brighton & Hove City Council commented: “How people live is changing. Many aspects of day to day life are now done entirely digitally, whether keeping in touch with relatives or applying for jobs. As a council, we need to make sure that everyone is able to participate in this changing world. Many people can manage by themselves, but it’s vital we support those who cannot.”
As a new One Digital Infographic demonstrates, Digital Champions are an effective tool in today’s digital inclusion landscape where those who aren’t online are now becoming harder to engage and need personal long-term support. Indeed 77% of those offline cite lack of interest as their main barrier and 26% of computer beginners do not use their new digital skills without ongoing help.
Glenn Lloyd, Brighton & Hove Digital Champion said: “Helping other people to see how they can find information about bus timetables, email photos to their family or order their shopping online is really rewarding. Sometimes people find it difficult to complete the online forms that they need to access benefits or look for work, and we can help with these too.”
Digital Brighton & Hove is currently looking for new volunteers to support their work in the area. We are looking for friendly and enthusiastic people to help local learners to learn about computers and how to get online. Digital Champions don’t need to be IT experts, just have the enthusiasm to support others to learn. Full training and support will be provided.
If you are interested in volunteering for Digital Brighton & Hove please contact the Project Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org
All of the information about One Digital is available at www.digitalchampionsnetwork.com/one-digital