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New drive to get hard to reach groups online
New projects to help people who are missing out on the digital world and are not yet online have been announced by the Welsh Government today.
The initiatives will target those least likely to use the internet, including Black and Minority Ethnic communities, those leaving care and young people at risk of offending and people at risk of homelessness. Many in these groups are missing out on the opportunities of the digital age.
The projects, part of the Welsh Government’s Communities 2.0 digital inclusion programme, which is partly funded by the European Union, will provide information and communications technology (ICT) support and training to these groups. Communities 2.0 has already helped 38,000 digitally excluded people to get online and gain new skills.
The three new pilot projects target some of our hardest to reach groups:
- One is aimed at Black and Ethnic Minority groups and is led by BAWSO, a national organisation which primarily supports vulnerable women, especially those at risk of domestic abuse. Staff in a number of organisations who have the language skills and understand the cultural needs of each group will work with client groups directly to raise their skills and understanding of the internet.
- The second pilot is a contribution to an existing partnership ‘Symud Ymlaen’, which works with young care leavers and young people at risk of offending. The pilot element addresses the digital skills of those young people. The partnership is led by Llamau, a registered charity working in Wales to improve the lives of socially excluded, homeless people. They also work with 16 to 18 year old school leavers not in education or training and young offenders, to enable them to undertake a six month paid, supported work placement. The Communities 2.0 contribution will focus on the importance of digital skills in the workplace and developing those skills to enable access to formal qualification courses.
- The third project, ‘Complex Lives’ will address digital inclusion issues for people at risk of homelessness. It brings together four organisations working in this area, the Wallich, Llamau, Gwalia and Pennaf Housing - all of whom have a track record of working with vulnerable and homeless people across large areas of Wales.
Minster for Communities and Tackling Poverty, Jeff Cuthbert said:
“Getting hard to reach groups online is essential. More and more services are available online, including those provided by the public sector. We must make sure that everyone has the opportunity to benefit from this new way of delivering services.
“People on low incomes, older and disabled people and those who are not directly engaged with society for various reasons often find themselves excluded because of lack of internet skills and access. This means they can miss out on money advice, jobs and training opportunities, discounts on essential services and even result in them feeling excluded from their own communities. That is why these projects, backed by funding from the European Union, are so important.”
Cathryn Marcus, Communities 2.0 Project Director commented:
“Communities 2.0 is delighted to be able to support specific, targeted interventions aimed at including some of the hardest to reach members of our community. These projects utilise partnership and co-operative approaches to deliver key skills and support to people who can benefit from it most. Digital technologies open the door to so much these days – now’s the time to get online – and we’re here to help”.
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