A link with social media giant Twitter and coaching the homeless to use smartphones to help with training, getting a job and finding housing are some of the next steps in Croydon Council’s programme to further boost residents’ online skills and independence.
Launched in 2014 to help borough residents to become more internet-savvy, the digital inclusion drive has also seen over 160,000 residents sign-up to the council’s online account and saved over £6m by putting more services online.
Aimed especially at supporting those most in need, the drive encourages residents to improve their basic digital skills to save money, improve employment opportunities and social inclusion as well as accessing council services online, from ordering a bin to getting their roof fixed.
The council is the first London borough to launch a partnership with national charity Go ON UK and the private and voluntary sectors to run community training sessions across the borough. Go ON Croydon provides support ranging from setting up digital zones on council estates with residents’ groups to providing a laptop loan scheme for Croydon carers who cannot make external training sessions.
Now a report being discussed at next Monday’s cabinet meeting sets out the council’s next plans involving Go ON Croydon – now known as Doteveryone – which include:
• Funding from Twitter and mobile phone company EE to provide 90 smartphones so the council and homelessness charity Crisis can help homeless people access the services they need
• Teaching elderly residents to contact family and friends using video calls through a partnership with specialist companies Visbuzz and Sentab
• An exchange where 40 young people not in employment, education or training teach online skills to around 80 small business owners in return for work experience
“Whether it’s supporting you with an online housing application form, helping you to feel less alone or boosting your job prospects, this council is working hard to give all our residents the digital skills to lead more independent lives and make sure no-one is left behind.
“We know it’s those more vulnerable residents who need the support to benefit from being connected online, and it’s great we have the backing of big names like Twitter and EE to offer more and more Croydon people access to the services they rely on.”
Councillor Mark Watson, cabinet member for economy and jobs
To view a video case study of Arthur, a regular visitor to the digital zone at the council’s Bernard Weatherill House offices, visit this YouTube link.
To view the report being discussed at Monday’s cabinet meeting, visit the council’s website.