Salford is aiming to become a Digital City, an ambition which forms part of our wider vision for a better, fairer Salford to improve resident’s lives.
We are strongly committed to digital inclusion - making sure that residents have the capability to use the internet to do things that benefit them day to day.
Therefore, we have developed various innovative initiatives to ensure everyone gets the most out of digital technology, one of which is Digital You, an ambitious plan to get thousands of the most vulnerable and digitally excluded residents online.
Phase one of the project from late 2017 until late 2020 involved working with partners, Good Things Foundation, a social change charity. They are the UK’s leading digital and social inclusion organisation which helps people to use and engage with digital to improve their lives. Lacking essential digital skills which many of us take for granted are necessary to access core services and benefit from going online. We want to address this critical issue and help those residents move towards being confident, capable and safe users of the internet.
Hear first-hand from two residents about how digital has improved their lives.
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Good Things Foundation are the UK’s leading digital and social inclusion organisation which helps people to use and engage with digital to improve their lives. They are working with community organisations to help reach people in the communities in which they live - trusted faces in local places – and help them become confident, capable and safe users of the internet day by day. Good Things Foundation has described this exciting programme as “a landmark investment from a council with vision, commitment and ambition.”
Good Things Foundation recruited 45 community organisations across the city to join their Online Centres Network. The online centres are made up of 14 community organisations, 3 housing providers and 16 libraries. Find your local centre on the map below. These community organisations benefited from access to a variety of training, various learning resources including their online learning platform Learn My Way as well as opportunities to link in with other organisations and schemes including funding as well as profile-raising and PR.
Through their work with these community organisations, Good Things Foundation helped support almost 7,000 Salford residents over three years, the majority of whom were facing social exclusion. Their creation of a Salford Digital You network has enabled collaboration between centres, with results ranging from sharing good practice to securing funding support.
Their digital inclusion ambassador helped the network of online centres develop their digital support for residents in lots of different ways. These included supporting sessions delivered by community partners and Digital Champion recruitment and training. They also shared training and funding opportunities, assisted with applications and facilitated the distribution of kit to network members.
With the programme’s strong focus on sustainability, the centres were also supported to build digital into everything they do rather than offer it as a bolt-on. For example, Corinth Training and Wai Yin have offered spare tablets to Salford Lads Club to help with its operations. Big Life Energise Centre has looked at how they can digital in a walking group.
The council also created a social movement for change by involving stakeholders from public, voluntary and private sector, to pledge their support. This ranged from donation of kit to staff time supporting Salford residents and online centres from organisations including Lloyds Bank and Talk Talk. Also Google brought the Digital Garage bus to Salford as part of their bus tour in Greater Manchester and sent Digital Garage trainers to train community organisations in the Digital You network.
View the pledges on the Digital Salford Launch event page.
The Digital Inclusion Ambassador’s focus on partnership working and building capacity across the Digital You programme has proven especially important for supporting smaller organisations with no prior experience of digital inclusion. A representative from St James Parish Church said:
“We are much more confident providing digital inclusion support. Digital You has connected us to many of our local fellow organisations, which allows us to support and encourage each other.
In particular, we have learnt how to bid for money, create new ideas to reach out to clients, and ways to supply learning and teaching. We have benefited greatly from training and education for our two principal volunteers and learnt how better to monitor and record our outcomes.”
As the project with Good Things Foundation came to an end, the council recruited a Digital Inclusion Manager to continue this excellent work. This means that a strong link between the council and its communities is maintained, helping to ensure that we reach those who would most benefit from being online. The pandemic has further highlighted the significance of digital skills, making digital inclusion more important than ever. Those who lack access to internet connectivity, digital skills, or affordable devices are being left behind by an increasingly digital society. Our team are actively working across the local, city region and national landscape to make sure that Salford are at the forefront of discussions on digital inclusion. They have also launched Digital Everyone, Salford’s one stop website for courses, training, and support to do more online confidently and safely. Residents who aren’t online can call our Spirit of Salford helpline number 0800 952 1000 for help on lots of different issues including digital support.
To find out more about getting involved please get in touch with Karen Snape, Salford City Council’s Digital Inclusion Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org
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