Posted: Thu 18th Feb 2016

Digital Champions help people in Gwynedd get online

news.wales / newyddion.cymru
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Feb 18th, 2016

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 this week. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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 with Digital Gwynedd, and has established a local partnership of Gwynedd Council, Digital Communities Wales, Jobcentre Plus, Cartrefi Cymunedol Gwynedd, Grwp Cynefin, Citizens Advice, Mantell Gwynedd and many local organisations. The partnership will recruit, train and support “digital champions” to help people in Gwynedd to develop their digital skills. The
Gwynedd team will focus on supporting people affected by benefit changes, and those people living in rural localities. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Councillor Ioan Thomas, Cabinet Member for Housing, Customer Care and Libraries, Deprivation and Equality, Gwynedd Council commented: ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“We recognise the need to support people to develop digital skills whilst helping partners to improve delivery of services through online transactions. The project is building a strong local partnership to help support communities at risk of digital exclusion. Digital Champions will be available to offer coaching at local access points and help people do more online.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Jordan Eardley, Gwynedd 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 Gwynedd 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 Gwynedd please contact:
Daniel Richards, Project Coordinator
Email: daniel.richards@citizensonline.org.uk
Telephone: 07854 690 529 ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​



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