‘Staying Connected’ Digital Inclusion Project
Digital exclusion is the inability to access or use online products or services and in 2018, 5.3 million adults in the UK (10%) of the UK population who were non-internet users. The pandemic has reduced this figure as more people use the internet to access services and keep in touch with friends and family, but more than a million homes (6%) of the UK population remain offline
To tackle this issue, the ‘Staying Connected’ Digital Inclusion project aims to tackle the struggles related to digital exclusion and participation. Funded through the money raised by Sir Captain Tom Moore, the project addresses four key areas:
How the Staying Connected Project Work
The Staying Connected project has three elements:
- Referring Beneficiaries
- Donation Equipment
- Becoming a W3RT Digital Champion
Potential beneficiaries referred to W3RT using the online referral form. The form collects the details of the beneficiary and allows us to establish their eligibility. This is done through our Health and Wellbeing Team.
To be eligible for this project, we need to know how a beneficiary’s health and wellbeing will be improved as a result of a gifted piece of equipment and/or the support of a W3RT Digital Champion. This can include:
- Accessing online services such as online shopping
- Attending medical appointments online
- Attending online classes/activities
- Communicating with friends and family through Zoom/Skype.
At this stage, we are unable to support requests for technology to support those under the age of 18. For more information about this service, please contact us on 01923 216 967 or email us at [email protected]
We will be accepting donations of laptops and tablets at the Holywell Community Centre, Monday – Friday between 9-5pm and at Watford Town Hall on Mondays between 9am-3pm, Wednesdays between 11am-5pm and Fridays between 9am and 3pm.
All we ask is that the donated items are in a useable condition, that you remove all passwords from them and any ‘Find my Phone/Tablet’ features before they are donated. We will then refurbish/restore these laptops and then arrange for them to be donated to individuals within our community who would be digitally isolated without them.
If you have any more questions about donating equipment or would like more information, email [email protected]
Becoming a W3RT Digital Champion
As well as providing individuals with technology, we are aware that individuals may also lack the skills/confidence in using technology which keeps them digitally excluded. Therefore, we will also be looking for volunteers to help train these individuals so that they can engage with online services.
Our Digital Champions will receive full training which takes around two hours to complete. This ensures that you have the basics skills to pass onto beneficiaries as well as training to work with beneficiaries who have differing accessibility requirements. If you would like more information about becoming a W3RT Digital Champion, contact us at [email protected] or to sign up, click here and you will be taken through to our new volunteering website.
Additional Support in the Watford/Three Rivers Areas
There are a range of organisations in the local area that run training sessions on digital skills. If you would like to find out more, we encourage you to check out our online What’s On Guide which lists the available services in the area. The information is correct at time of publication, and we encourage you to contact the provider before attending to obtain up to date details.