City council searches for internet champions to help narrow Brighton and Hove’s digital divide

Posted On 22 Oct 2015 at 12:42 pm

Could you be a digital champion? Brighton and Hove City Council is looking for people to take part in a new project to help people get onto the internet.

Internet picture by Ministerio TIC Colombia from Flickr

Internet picture by Ministerio TIC Colombia from Flickr

The city council is one of four local authorities chosen to be part of a new project to help reduce the number of people without basic digital skills.

Figures show 10.5 million people in the UK lack the skills to access many key online services. This includes 49 per cent of disabled people and 42 per cent of people with a household income of less than £12,500 a year who do not use the internet.

The new One Digital initiative looks at ways of encouraging people to find out about what is available so they can see the benefits of accessing essential online services, searching and applying for jobs and staying in touch with friends and family.

With £2 million from the Big Lottery Fund, One Digital aims to recruit more than 1,400 digital champions nationally within disability, youth and support organisations. The champions will be trained on how to engage with people who are not online and provide personal long-term support as they gain new skills.

Cllr Emma Daniel, lead councillor for communities, neighbourhoods and equalities, said: “This is a practical and supportive way to help reduce inequalities across the city.

“By identifying people and communities where fewer residents have access to the internet, we can make sure the help offered is relevant so there is a better chance of long term success.

“This is not just for first time users but can also help those with very little knowledge who need to gain confidence to make the most of being online. It is important to remember for all those people with mobile devices and constant connectivity to the Internet, there are others cut off from the benefits of modern technology and we need help everyone to have equal access.”

One Digital is organised by a range of partners, each of whom will run varied projects to try to reach out to all the different groups of people who are experiencing digital exclusion. The partners are Digital Unite, Age UK, Citizens Online and SVCO.

The lead partnership organisation for One Digital in Brighton and Hove is Citizens Online. Working with funding partner BT and representatives from Brighton and Hove City Council, Citizens Online will be training, recruiting and co-ordinating local “digital champions”.

The project will form a Digital Resilience Partnership in the city, linking those with the ability to assist learning with those in need of support. Currently at the early stages of development, the partnership is due to begin offering support activities by the end of the year.

  1. martin lawrence Reply

    Yet BHCC, are looking to close Hove Library , a very accessible point of access to the internet for many of the very people the project is aimed at , unbelievable

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