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Helping residents get online

Oct 24 2016

Michael Salmon DC

L&Q is calling on tech-savvy residents to join their growing community of Digital Champions in Haringey and across London

Last year L&Q launched its Digital Champion Network to create an army of Champions who can help more of their residents to get the most out of life online.  

So far across London over 60 L&Q staff members and resident volunteers have got involved to become Digital Champions and help their neighbours through regular one-to-one sessions in public places like UK Online Centres and local Libraries.

An estimated 12.6 million people¹ across the UK don’t have ‘basic digital skills’ meaning they can’t send an email or search the web and are missing out on the benefits digital technology can provide.

In Outer London 377,000 people have never or rarely used the internet, equivalent to around 1 in 10 local residents² and those who are offline are most likely to be living in social housing.

Michael Salmon, L&Q Case Worker and Digital Champion based in Haringey, says:

“Being a Digital Champion and seeing people succeed as a result of the help I’ve given them has given me huge personal satisfaction. I have had such a boost from helping a local resident, Rita, to overcome her barriers to using the internet and I’m looking forward to making a difference to other people in the same way.”

The Digital Champions have access to over 400 online training guides and a peer-to-peer support forum, allowing each learning session to be tailored to the individual learner’s needs.

Case Study:

Michael Salmon became a Digital Champion in August 2016 and, after completing his initial online training, went on to help a local resident with using the internet.

Michael said: “I’ve seen first-hand with my family the impact of being excluded from internet services and new initiatives like the online welfare benefits system is affecting lots of people. I previously used to work as a trainer so was keen to use those skills to help others overcome the barriers to being online.

“I joined the Digital Champions Network in August and completed the foundation course, the Digital Champions Essentials. The course definitely made me more confident in my role and showed me how to engage people with developing digital skills. It’s so important to find out what people want to learn personally themselves rather than tell them what you think they need to know.  I also learnt how far to go when teaching them, to give them space to digest what they’re learning and how to empower them so they can do it for themselves.

“I’ve been helping a Haringey resident called Rita for a few weeks now at our local library in Wood Green. Rita is currently doing some voluntary work in a charity shop and wanted to improve her career prospects as there was a possible promotion available. To do that she knew she needed to develop her computer and internet skills.

“When we first met I showed Rita the basics like how to choose and use an internet browser and how to send an email. She had an email address already but had never used it. Then I asked her to make a list of the things she wanted to learn about at our next session. The list was really varied from finding out about her nearest National Blood Service, to applying for a passport online and looking up information on foxes in her area.

“Seeing Rita’s confidence improve so much over just a few weeks has been really rewarding. She has started to do things herself, acknowledging where she’s going wrong and working out how to do it right. Applying for her passport online herself was a real highlight of our time together. Next on the list is exploring social media.

“Being a Digital Champion and seeing people succeed as a result of the help I’ve given them has given me huge personal satisfaction. I have had such a boost from helping a local resident, Rita, to overcome her barriers to using the internet and I’m looking forward to making a difference to other people in the same way.”

For more information about the scheme and how to get involved visit http://www.lqgroup.org.uk/services-for-residents/about-landq/investing-in-neighbourhoods/digital-champions/ or call the L&Q Digital Champion co-ordinator on 07940 062842.

Michael Salmon DC2