Helping residents to develop essential digital skills when they need it most

Could you help us in our work to get more people online?

Helping residents to develop essential digital skills when they need it most

For over two years, Stockport’s ‘DigiKnow’ Alliance has been helping digitally excluded residents to gain digital skills and confidence through regular face to face sessions with Digital Champion volunteers. Since the lockdown, we’ve adapted the ways we support people, re-training Digital Champions to deliver sessions via Zoom and introducing a new DigiKnow Helpline for telephone support, but we really need more volunteers.

We have also been working hard to provide devices and data for those residents who don’t have the means to access the internet. Through a combination of projects supported by the Department for Education, the DevicesDotNow scheme and Stockport Council funds, we have already distributed several hundred devices to Stockport residents in need. A further award has also been made by Stockport Local Fund: Community Support to fund a digital device lending library and more information will follow on this exciting project.

Councillor Kate Butler, Cabinet Member for Citizen Focus and Engagement says “We are continuing to do all we can to help our residents benefit from the internet, by increasing access to devices and connectivity and introducing new methods of delivering digital skills support. Whether to complete school work, order shopping online, find information or maintain your social connections, digital skills are essential.

“We couldn’t do this without the help of our community partners and volunteer Digital Champions who have been working hard to adapt their ways of working during the Coronavirus pandemic. We’re looking for more volunteer Digital Champions to be trained to help people get online. If you could spare some time to help people, please call our DigiKnow Helpline.”

To volunteer as a Digital Champion you only need basic digital skills as there’s video training to teach you ways to support learners. Many of our volunteers find it rewarding, such as Paddy McDonald, who says: “You get a kick out of teaching them and they get a kick out of learning. It works both ways. You feel so good at the end of it when someone’s learnt something. Everybody can learn, can’t they? It’s just a matter of getting the right help.” You can read more of his story on our DigiKnow web pages.

If you could spare some time to help people, by phone or video call, please call our DigiKnow Helpline on 07537 127095.

Key numbers since lockdown:
• 179 calls and texts to Helpline for support from a Digital Champion
• 43 Zoom digital group support sessions held with 203 attendees
• 210 individuals given 1-2-1 support
• 20 Virtual Digital Champions trained
• 11 voluntary organisations helped with using Zoom so they can continue to provide support to residents
• 102 laptops provided by DfE and distributed to children with a social worker
• 68 tablets provided by Stockport Council and distributed to care homes to help residents keep in contact with their families
• 53 laptops provided by DfE and distributed to young care leavers
• 16 devices donated by DevicesDotNow and distributed to residents without internet access
• £9,673 awarded by Stockport Local Fund to start a digital lending library