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nc:netwcity2122017 [2017/05/18 05:34] (current)
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 +====== Lessons from London borough projects to develop digital skills - grassroots connections and personal interests matter most ======
 +While helping people connect and use the Internet doesn'​t in itself create a more networked society and stronger relationships,​ being unable to engage online does reduce the options for individuals. That's one in four people in the UK.
 +<iframe width="​560"​ height="​315"​ src="​https://​​embed/​pQZtmlJxzjE?​rel=0"​ frameborder="​0"​ allowfullscreen>​
 +Just before [[http://​​nc/​netwcity1222017|our event in City Hall with the Deputy Mayor]] I talked to John Perkins about the challenges of helping people access and use the Internet - whether for shopping, looking for work, connecting with friends and family, or pursuing personal hobbies and interests.
 +After working with BT on digital inclusion, John spent a year with [[https://​​digitalcommunities/​index.html|Doteveryone projects]] in the two London borough of Croydon and Lewisham. As the project report says:
 +> The projects were based on open partnership and collaboration,​ and we worked closely with the local Councils, our [[https://​​about-us/​principal-partners/​|Principal Partners]] and a range of local businesses and community organisations from the public, private and not-for-profit sectors.
 +> Many partners provided volunteer digital champions from their own staff to help residents improve their digital skills. Others provided venue space, kit and low-cost connectivity.
 +John explained that there were three elements to the projects: Digital Zones providing drop-in sessions supported by volunteers; Deeper Dives to explore how to motivate people with specific needs including older people, the homeless and young people not in education, employment or training; and Community Engagement projects owned and managed by local groups.
 +Some of the greatest learning came from this work in the community, including: * what interests those offering help doesn'​t necessarily appeal to community groups - so projects have to be co-designed * people learn best from repeated, informal, face-to-face and one-to-one support * talking about technology, Facebook and social media doesn'​t engage people- it's what people want to do with it that matters * it is essential to go where people are - not expect them to come to a central location * word of mouth is the best way to reach people
 +John said there were a lot of benefits for those volunteering to provide support - including meeting people and situations outside normal work experience, and a sense of personal empowerment and reward from using skills to help others.
 +Overall we agreed that there was enormous scope to make more of the assets that London has in this field. Projects are not connected and cooperating,​ partly because funding is competitive. We need different models.
 +One more task for London'​s Chief Digital Officer, when appointed by the Mayor.
 +  * [[https://​​digitalcommunities/​index.html|Boosting Basic Digital Skills: project report from Doteveryone]]
 +  * [[https://​​digitalbirmingham/​resources/​Basic-Digital-Skills_UK-Report-2015_131015_FINAL.pdf|Basic Digital Skills UK report 2015]]
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