Our project ‘’Digital Capability Training is aimed at encouraging digitally handicapped people to embrace the technology and interact with people and organizations online also at solving the problem of isolation in the elderly by enabling people to communicate using digital devices. The pilot program we ran gave the following result from the survey we carried out on 6 learners; 100% of Learners stated that they were less lonely and strongly agreed that the training had helped them connect better with their families. Plus, the group of learners bonded and interacted better with one another using group chat applications like WhatsApp.
Learners were able to take photos and videos using digital tablets are share them using downloaded applications. There were able to complete online forms (e.g., surveys), make phone and video calls set alarms, and get notifications on their devices among other things.
Smart Buddies: Smart buddies is a digital capability project introduced by Knowledge Pool to meet the needs of the community. Digital exclusion is a big issue, especially among the difficult to reach people in the community. According to the Lloyds Bank Consumer Digital Index report, in 2018, 11.3 million people in the UK (21%) lack the full basic digital skills. 4.3 million (8%) have no basic digital skills at all, 5.4 million working adults (10%) are without basic digital skills. People with a registered disability are 4 times as likely to be offline; 28% of those aged 60+ are offline.
The advent of the Covid-19 pandemic created an upsurge in the use of the internet and digital devices. There are 38,994 (13.1 %) people in Doncaster aged over 64 years old. 1 in 10 of the population in Doncaster are aged 65+ Majority of the elderly are digitally disadvantaged. These and the result of several consultations we’ve made with community leaders are other charities led us to create a channel of supporting the community in improving the digital competency of the people.
Our pilot program kicked-off with Age UK in December 2020 and had seen a group of nervous digital novices transformed into progressive, confident and keen learners. Learners have been building their knowledge and digital skills by attending the weekly class and practicing what they’ve learnt. Our learners whose average age is 70 can create and share files, download applications and interact with them. They can identify signs of online scams and threats. They are aware of safety steps (password services, anti-viruses, reporting of phishing emails, blocking unwanted contacts, etc) involved in protecting themselves and their devices. Apart from their technical knowledge they have formed a very strong bond augmented by the use of digital tool (WhatsApp group) through which they interact in and outside of classes. 100% agreed that the training had reduced their loneliness and improved their confidence.
To scale up the impact of this initiatives we approached funding organisation and are delighted to announce the success of our grant applications that will support this project for the next 12 months. To kickstart the next stage of this project we will be recruiting a volunteer manager, and 20 community volunteers to help us run the digital clubs in various areas in Doncaster. If you are community champion or a local leader we want to hear from you. If you have digital knowledge or willing to learn and have a bit of spare time, you can contact us to register for our train the trainer’s course.
We are also calling on charities that have access to our target audience as well as coordinators of the facilities that we can use to rally round us to make this project a success. For further information contact us on
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