Unlocking the people power

Published by Kathy Valdes on

The golden thread of One Digital

Today’s world is a digital world and those without the skills to participate in it are disadvantaged. Those disadvantages are multiple, sometimes complex and usually interrelated.

Digital skills aren’t a thing you can learn once, like riding a bike; most people need ongoing support in order to feel confident, be updated and get useful reminders.

That is why, at the heart of One Digital, is the recruitment, training, support and resourcing of trusted intermediaries to be Digital Champions.

Quite simply when there is an existing relationship between an intermediary such as a staff member, volunteer or friend and someone with low or no digital skills and confidence, there is an opportunity to add support into it.

Whilst each of the partners deliver very specific projects within the One Digital wrapper they all use Digital Champions, to promote and deliver digital skills to offliners; it’s the golden thread.

Cascading digital skills across the UK

Underpinning, extending and developing that support is Digital Unite’s Digital Champions Network. A unique online platform, our comprehensive training, resources and support can stimulate, empower and nurture staff and volunteers as Digital Champions. It provides the foundation for a scalable and sustainable approach to cascading basic digital skills.

In recent months we have been delighted to welcome more than 100 organisations, large and small, joining our Network as part of this phase of One Digital. From housing providers such as Guinness Care and Worthing Homes who are looking to kickstart a Digital Champion programme amongst their staff to Digital Communities Wales who want to enhance the great work their volunteers are already doing.

We have individual members who quietly make a massive digital difference in their local communities. Take Sandra who is supporting fellow members of her Westham Evening WI Computer Club, and Jeff who has helped over 40 learners at his local library in Hayle, Cornwall. Jeff told us “Being able to put myself forward as member of the Digital Champions Network gave me the confidence to approach the library to offer my services and I believe that influenced their decision to take me on.”

There are also incredible community groups involved such as the Richmond Fellowship Partnership who are now training their Digital Champions so they can better support service users with mental health issues and Coffee Pot, a small charity who support older residents in Eastbourne.

We are so delighted that our Network is helping to unlock such incredible and impactful people power and that the aspirations of One Digital and its partnership are being realised.

One Digital is a UK wide partnership which promotes the use of Digital Champions to support people to learn digital skills. For organisations interested in setting up their own digital inclusion project we have developed a free Knowledge Hub of useful information and resources.

Kathy Valdes

Kathy is the Programme Manager at Digital Unite