Digital inclusion and its role in tackling poverty #WalesPoverty
Dave Brown, Director of Strategic Development and Performance at the Wales Co-operative Centre, examines the role of digital inclusion in tackling poverty in Wales…
“Today, the Wales Co-operative Centre is putting Digital Inclusion at the heart of the Tackling Poverty debate when we present at the Bevan Foundation / Joseph Rowntree Foundation conference “Towards a Wales without Poverty”.
The conference explores what we mean by poverty in Wales: in order to begin to solve the problem we must first be clear about what we mean by it. The Bevan Foundation argues that poverty means more than low income, though there is a pressing need to address this issue. Poverty is also about access to resources, such as housing warmth and food, and access to essential skills. Here, the Foundation single out digital skills and financial literacy as prerequisites for a Wales moving out of poverty and managing its consequences.
The Wales Co-operative Centre leads financial inclusion development in Wales. The Welsh Government support our Financial Inclusion Champions project which drives support at a strategic level. From this we spin out specific projects which directly benefit those living in poverty. We have recently been awarded Comic Relief funding to increase our work with private rented tenants.
Our focus at the “Towards a Wales without Poverty” conference is the impact of digital exclusion. The Wales Co-operative Centre runs the Communities 2.0 project, the Welsh Government’s flagship digital inclusion initiative, which has helped over 50,000 people get online. Our workshop presentation today explores a recent editorial statement in the press:
“But being disconnected isn’t just a function of being poor. These days, it is also a reason some people stay poor. As the Internet has become an essential platform for job-hunting and furthering education, those without access are finding the basic tools for escaping poverty increasingly out of reach.”
Wales Co-operative Centre officers will look at our experience of leading digital inclusion in Caerphilly, where effective co-ordination and innovative delivery models have radically changed the lives of many in the county who live in poverty. We also have a stand at the conference and would love to talk to anyone interested in what we do.”