Digital inclusion key to Framework for Independent Living
Last week, the Welsh Government published their Framework for Action on Independent Living which sets out an approach to public service provision that supports disabled people to live their own lives in the way that they choose for themselves. The framework includes actions to ensure access to good quality and accessible information and advice. One of the key actions identified by the Welsh Government is increasing the number of disabled people that are able to use the internet via the Communities 2.0 digital inclusion programme.
The Wales Co-operative Centre is the lead organisation delivering the Welsh Government funded Communities 2.0 project. Communities 2.0 is supporting a number of digital inclusion initiatives aimed at disabled people, in partnership with organisations including Disability Wales, RNIB, Leonard Cheshire and the Digital Accessibility Centre. The framework outlines how Communities 2.0 will also continue to facilitate an ‘e-accessibility forum’, led by Disability Wales. The Wales e-Accessibility Forum is a group of representatives from organisations that support disabled people, with the purpose of finding ways to support disabled people to take advantage of the benefits of digital technology and the internet.
We see digital inclusion as an essential thread to supporting independent living. In addition to the actions outlined in the Framework, we believe that access to ICT could enable disabled people to live independently in a number of ways.
ICT could be embedded in personalised care and support. For example, it could enable individuals to make use of direct payments. Internet banking or access to an online credit union account is a secure means of delivering payments if the individual has access to the internet in the home. Furthermore, Useful information about personal assistants could be made available via the internet
We welcome the support for the important work of the Communities 2.0 project and believe that digital inclusion can have a real impact on the lives of disabled people wanting to live independently at home, in the work place, in public places and socially in their community.