New initiative helps Leeds residents get online
Leeds City Council is working with leading social change charity Good Things Foundation to deliver an ambitious new programme that will ensure residents of the city have the digital skills they need.
Across Leeds, tens of thousands of adults still lack the basic digital skills they need to participate in today’s world. People who are offline are missing out on all the benefits the internet can provide - from helping them to find work, to saving money and keeping in touch with friends and family.
Through working together, partners across the city are tackling this issue by providing local support in communities. The project will form a network of organisations which will help people understand the benefits of digital technology, and how they can get to grips with it. The network will include libraries, hubs and other community venues across Leeds, where anyone can find support with their digital skills.
Local organisations who want to support their clients to develop their digital skills can take advantage of Leeds Libraries’ tablet lending scheme, which allows organisations that don’t have the equipment or are not online to borrow 4G enabled iPads for free, to pilot approaches to digital inclusion. Free training is available for people working in the community to become Digital Champions, who will encourage non-users to take their first steps to get online. To find out more about the tablet lending scheme, please ring Leeds Libraries at: 0113 378 5005.
Councillor James Lewis, Leeds City Council’s executive member for resources and sustainability, said:
“At Leeds City Council, we’re committed to ensuring that everyone - no matter their current level of skills or confidence - can benefit from everything digital technology has to offer. We’ll be working with partners across the city - including community organisations, corporate partners, frontline service providers and more - to ensure we can close the digital divide once and for all.”
Adam Micklethwaite, Director of Digital Inclusion at Good Things Foundation, said:
“There are 11.3 million people in the UK who don’t have the digital skills they need to thrive. It’s never been more important that we ensure 100% of the nation is digitally included, and by working together we believe we can reach this goal. We’re delighted to be working with Leeds City Council, to ensure residents of the city can really benefit from everything that digital has to offer.”
One organisation who is already supporting Leeds residents is Middleton Elderly Aid.
Samantha Ely, Operations Manager, Middleton Elderly Aid said:
“Being involved with 100% Digital Leeds and Leeds Libraries has helped open up new opportunities for Middleton Elderly Aid and our members. Supporting our members to improve their digital skills promotes independence and enables them to save time and money in their day to day lives and helps us ensure that nobody is left behind in an increasingly digital world.”
Notes to editors
If you’re supporting people in Leeds to improve their digital skills, you can join the movement and take advantage of a range of benefits, including training and support, access to a free online platform, and networking and face-to-face collaboration events.
To find out more, visit www.onlinecentresnetwork.org/leeds and digitalinclusionleeds.com