Wales Co-operative Centre

Canolfan Cydweithredol Cymru

Posts Tagged ‘getting online

Digital Inclusion is one of our most effective weapons in the fight against poverty

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Get Merthyr Tydfil Online launch

Get Merthyr Tydfil Online Launch: (Left to Right) Angela Jones – Communities 2.0, Derek Walker, Chief Executive Wales Co-operative Centre, Mike Owen, Chief Executive Merthyr Valleys Homes, Eleanor Marks, Welsh Government, Ian Benbow, Head of Service, Social Regeneration, Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council.

Derek Walker, Chief Executive of the Wales Co-operative Centre, looks at how digital inclusion, financial inclusion and social enterprise support work together to protect people from poverty and to mitigate against its impact.

Today is the launch of Get Swansea Online, a local initiative that aims to help Swansea’s estimated 45,000 digitally excluded residents to use the internet. This is the latest in a series of initiatives brokered by Communities 2.0, the Welsh Government digital inclusion project.

At yesterday’s launch of another initiative, Get Merthyr Tydfil Online, Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty Jeff Cuthbert congratulated Communities 2.0 on its collaborative and partnership led approach. He emphasised the importance of helping people to get online and use the internet to save money and to find jobs. He stated that “digital exclusion compounds isolation” and said that Get Merthyr Tydfil Online has the potential to “reach the most digitally and financially excluded citizens” in the county. Last week the Minister visited a similar initiative in the Caia Park area of Wrexham. The political will is certainly there to ensure that everyone in Wales has access to the internet and the skills to use it effectively in the fight against poverty – but there is still more to be done.

We are very lucky here in the Wales Co-operative Centre. Through our work as lead partner of Communities 2.0, and through our own projects on financial inclusion and social enterprise development, we see the positive improvements our interventions can bring to the lives of people in real danger of falling below the bread line. Across Wales we see people, helped by Communities 2.0 and our financial inclusion initiatives, gain IT skills and use those skills to get jobs and get out of debt.  Communities 2.0 recently supported Torfaen and Blaenau Gwent MIND’s social enterprise arm ‘Training in MIND’ with an investment of nearly £5,000. The support will help pay for new laptop and desktop computers in their IT suite. The IT suite is manned by volunteers running drop-in sessions for people to update their IT skills and search for jobs. The organisation is currently setting up a work club for people who attend the centre. This is an excellent example of a social enterprise integrating digital inclusion and anti-poverty measures into its social aims and on the ground delivery.

At the Wales Co-operative Centre we also see the difference in our communities when they are engaged and enabled and can build social enterprises that reinvest their surpluses back into training and job creation. Galeri Caernarfon Cyf is a social enterprise that is focussed on regenerating the town of Caernarfon. Over the years it has regenerated properties and spaces in the town and opened up a highly successful arts centre. It now employs 36 full time equivalent jobs directly and supports over 40 in its tenant businesses. It is estimated that this one social enterprise has an economic impact of almost £1.3m to the economies of Gwynedd and Ynys Môn. In fact, Galeri is among just 6% of firms in Gwynedd that employ more than 25 people.

The Wales Co-operative Centre receives funding from a number of different sources to allow us to deliver our support work to communities across Wales. Our funders include the European Regional Development Fund, Welsh Government and the Oak Foundation.

This year, we have also led on a project which encourages individuals to use the services of local credit unions to help them ensure that their rent payment gets to their landlords – meaning that they can keep a roof over their own and their family’s heads. In Caerphilly, development staff are working directly with individuals to suggest ways in which they can use existing support and advice to make the money they have last longer.

We are also managing and promoting www.moneymadeclearwales.org  which offers signposting to advice on saving and loans, debt and benefits. Access to digital resources is now intrinsically linked to good money management and to allowing individuals to take control of their own lives.

Financial and digital inclusion doesn’t just reduce isolation, but it allows freedom, liberty and empowerment. It allows individuals and groups to take their next steps forward – individually in the jobs market or as entrepreneurs, and collectively as empowered communities and social enterprises.

We believe that by integrating financial and digital inclusion with community engagement and real support for social enterprises and charities, it is possible to alleviate some of the poverty that currently exists in Wales. But, just as importantly, we believe that this sort of support is empowering. It allows people to make decisions about their own futures. It allows them to build their skills and their confidence and it empowers individuals to lift themselves out of poverty and stay out of it.

iTea and Biscuits Week 2011

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Communities 2.0 will be supporting Age UK’s iTea and Biscuits Week, which runs from September 19th – 25th.

iTea and Biscuits week is a UK-wide campaign to help older people make the most of the internet. In Wales, Communities 2.0 is working alongside Age Cymru to provide volunteers and equipment at a number of events.

In Carmarthenshire, there will be events at libraries in Carmarthen, Llanelli and Ammanford on the Monday, Wednesday and Thursday respectively. In Bridgend, tenants from a number of local residential complexes will be getting together to find out how to get more from their mobile phones and digital cameras. In Haverfordwest, the Carreg Las Explorer Scout Group (run by Communities 2.0’s very own Mike Beckett) will be running an event at a church hall in Haverfordwest.

More details on the iTea and Biscuits events that Communities 2.0 staff will be present at can be found on the Age UK website.

Recent figures from the Welsh Government showed that, in 2010, around 785,000 adults in Wales did not use the internet. Of these, 515,000 were older – i.e. people aged 50 and over. This shows how important it is for events such as iTea and Biscuits Week to succeed, in helping as many older people to get online as possible.

So, if you know an older person who lives near one of the iTea and Biscuits events that are being held in Wales, tell them about it, or even take them along to it. Or, if you fancy holding an event yourself, contact Age Cymru for more information.

Visit www.clickconnectdiscover.org to find out more about community groups and digital inclusion.

Written by C Kenzie

September 13, 2011 at 8:19 am

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Residents click on to computer opportunities

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An internet based price-comparison site has stepped in to help out residents at an Abergele Sheltered Housing Scheme by donating two new computers so that they can surf the internet in style.

MoneySupermarket.Com, who is based in Flintshire, donated two new computers to Pentre Mawr, a Sheltered Housing Scheme in Abergele, managed by Clwyd Alyn Housing Association, part of the Pennaf Housing Group.

Euan Hughes and Jack Stokes from Bushmede Contractors then stepped in to build a bespoke work station and Communities 2.0 (a Wales Government Digital Inclusion project) arranged for one of their Technology outreach officers to install the computer and provide guidance for the residents to enable them to get connected.

“It’s a true partnership arrangement and shows fantastic generosity from all involved,” said Louise Blackwell.

“The residents are absolutely delighted with their new computer which has now been installed in a communal area and would like to say a huge Thank You to everyone who has helped out,” added Pentre Mawr Warden Alison Pring Warden.

Visit Communities 2.0 website for more information and support with getting online and using new technologies www.clickconnectdiscover.org

Written by C Kenzie

July 20, 2011 at 8:48 am

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Caerphilly’s BIG Click featuring Cadbury’s Spots vs Stripes

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On Friday 20th May, six venues across Caerphilly Borough will be playing host to free events for Digital Day 2011.

There is so much going on that Caerphilly’s BIG Click has its own website!

The venues are:

  • Ael-Y-Bryn Community Centre, Rhymney
  • White Rose Centre, New Tredegar
  • Markham Primary School (1:00pm until 4:00pm)
  • Siloh Community Centre, Ystrad Mynach
  • Cross Keys Methodist Church
  • Caerphilly Vistors Centre (10:00am until 5:00pm)

Whatever your age feel free to come and have a go as we try and help 500 people get online or using technology in one day.  This is not the end though –  if you want to learn more be sure to let one of the team know on the day and we will arrange more sessions.

Three of these venues will be playing host to Cadbury’s Spots vs Stripes for the Wii consecutively during the day. Come along to Ael-Y-Bryn Community Centre, Siloh Community Centre, and Caerphilly Vistors Centre and help one of these venues get the highest score on the day!

We have put together some easy to use ‘How to’ guides for some popular websites. You can print off these guides and use them alongside your computer, or help someone else to discover how useful the web could be for them. We will add more guides as they are produces, suggestions welcome as to what you’d like to see covered.

Come along to Caerphilly on Friday and meet some of the people involved in Communities 2.0, helping people get online and use digital technology in Wales.

For more information and support with getting online and using new technologies, visit www.clickconnectdiscover.org

Written by C Kenzie

May 18, 2011 at 3:16 pm

Free events across Wales on Digital Day, Friday 20th May

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Friday 20th May is when we will be helping hundreds of people to get online for the first time and others to brush up on their computer skills.

Many events are being held across Wales to reach thousands of people – and they’re all free!

Digital Day is part of Adult Learners’ Week. Staff from Communities 2.0, the Welsh Assembly Government’s digital inclusion programme, will be among those, providing fun learning opportunities through Information Technology (IT).

Visit Click. Connect. Discover to find out where our Communities 2.0 staff will be on the day, and come along to meet them.

Find out about other events being held by local organisations across Wales springonline website (external website).

To help you help someone else get started with the web, we have a selection of ‘how to’ videos on our website. You could also show them Albert’s video where the 73-year-old ex-miner explains why getting online has been so important to him.

There will also be resources to print off and follow for people getting to grips with useful websites for the first time.

Digital Day has also been called ‘Silver Surfer’s Day’ in the past but this year events in Wales are open to everyone over the age of 16 as part of Adult Learners Week.

Previous blog post: Silver Surfers’ Day 2010 – but why should older people bother with the internet?

For more information and support with digital inclusion and getting online, visit www.clickconnectdiscover.org

Written by C Kenzie

May 11, 2011 at 9:44 am

Claiming benefits online

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The Digital Inclusion agenda is becoming increasingly important due to the Government’s planned Welfare Reform changes.

By 2013, the majority of benefit claims will be made using an online form. This will have a huge impact not only on the people claiming benefits but on the organisations who support them. The system will make it easier for people who claim multiple benefits as the online form will auto populate information from previous applications and be linked to all the relevant government departments.

Click.Connect. Discover works with people in Wales to ensure that as many as possible are able to access these online services and information. Please visit www.clickconnectdiscover.org for more information and to get in touch with us.

Author: Stephanie Davies, Click. Connect. Discover field officer.

For more information and support with digital inclusion and getting online, visit www.clickconnectdiscover.org

Written by C Kenzie

April 11, 2011 at 9:13 am

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South Merthyr Digital Inclusion Project

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The South Merthyr Digital Inclusion project is now up and running and will cover the whole of the south of the borough.

Two members of staff have been employed who will offer a variety of Digital Inclusion training through drop in, with community groups and through structured classes.

Training will be delivered in a variety of venues including Megabytes Aberfan, the Willows Centre Troedyrhiw, Treharris Library, Ty Pontrhun Pentrebach & Bedlinog Resource centre.

Author: Stephanie Davies, Click. Connect. Discover field officer

If you are interested in finding out more contact Rhodri or Laura 01443 692600. Email rhodri@connect-merthyr.co.uk or laura@connect-merthyr.co.uk

For more information and support with digital inclusion and getting online, visit www.clickconnectdiscover.org

Written by C Kenzie

April 7, 2011 at 9:14 am

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