Digital support for Blackburn with Darwen residents

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This week is Get Online Week 2022, which is an annual event, led by the Good Things Foundation so it seems like the perfect time to share what is happening locally in relation to digital inclusion. 

We have all seen a rise in the use of digital systems and technology in recent years and more so, since the Covid-19 pandemic. However, people that are unable to get online feel the negative impacts of digital exclusion in all areas of life, from the ability to access work and resulting impacts on income, quality of education, availability of healthcare, costs of goods or services, and even the ability to connect with loved ones.   

As part of Get Online Week 2022 we are sharing information on digital support at scale to increase awareness of where residents can access help across the borough. We are focusing on three key areas of digital inclusion; 

Access: Sharing information with residents on where they can use public access devices such as at a local library, community centre or neighbourhood learning centre 

Ability: We have a variety of Council led provision and local community and voluntary organisations that help residents to improve their digital skills and confidence so that they can access online information and services. Topics range from helping people to use devices and social media to connect with family and friends, ordering blue badges and green waste bins through the Council online systems or attending sessions to help to increase levels of confidence in using devices and the internet to improve employment prospects.  

Affordability: Recently due to increasing financial outgoings and rising bills, data poverty is becoming a growing concern for residents across the borough for both broadband connection and mobile data. Thanks to organisations such as the Good Things Foundation, I have been able to source information and guidance on supporting people with connectivity including broadband social tariffs which are currently not widely promoted, comparing deals across providers and have also helped digital support services to apply for data vouchers and SIM cards collaboratively via the National Databank. Collectively this helps us to put support in place to help residents experiencing data poverty to stay connected.  

Information on support will be shared in a variety of formats and distributed by a wide range of both internal services and partner organisations to make sure we reach our most vulnerable residents and those experiencing hardship. To find out more read the Get Online Week article on The Shuttle website.

By Nicole Mason on 17th Oct 2022
Nicole Mason - Content Editor